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2022 SDI Digital Democracy Awards

While preparing our annual SDI Digital Democracy Report, we come across countless examples of e-democracy platforms inspiring communities, driving innovation, championing diversity & inclusion and impacting nations.

The SDI Digital Democracy Awards, now in their second year, seek to recognise these achievements by awarding category winners across Inspiration, Innovation, Inclusion & Impact. Lastly, we also want to highlight those who took part in our report for the first time in our Newcomer Award.

Winner: Novoville

Originally founded in Greece, Novoville has now set up its headquarters in London, where its team helps local authorities throughout Europe accelerate and simplify local community tasks, such as logging local issues (think potholes), managing parking tickets and organising online citizen consultations.

We are awarding Novoville the 2022 SDI Digital Democracy Inspiration Award for their Shared Repairs tool which allows residents to pool their resources to carry out repairs to jointly-owned housing (e.g. apartments), including the ability to solicit quotations, vote on the repairs and ultimately hire and pay the chosen contractor.

Honourable Mention: PlaceSpeak

PlaceSpeak is a public consultation platform that uses geo-spatial authentication to identify location-specific user groups. The company started in Vancouver, Canada and now serves over 30 communities across Canada, the United States and Northern Ireland.

We are recognising PlaceSpeak for its “Seed” functionality, which uses publicly available council data (e.g. planning applications, council meeting minutes, etc.) to automatically create a discussion topic on the PlaceSpeak platform. Once enough people express interest, PlaceSpeak contacts the relevant council to propose an online consultation.

Shortlist: Novoville, PlaceSpeak, Ethelo

Winner: Ethelo

Canadian company Ethelo was founded in 2011 by mathematician John Richardson to facilitate complex decision-making processes that contain multiple, potentially interdependent, questions. The technology was originally used during a referendum in the Canadian province of British Columbia and has since evolved to provide a complex decision engine to both public and private organisations.

We are awarding Ethelo the 2022 SDI Digital Democracy Innovation Award for continuously expanding its offering to new use cases including Participatory Budgeting, Carbon Budgeting and decision-making for Decentralised Autonomous Organisations (DAOs), all utilising its central engine which calculates thousands of possible outcomes in real-time.

Honourable Mention: SkyVote

SkyVote is an electronic voting solution developed by Italian tech company Multicast srl. Originally developed to facilitate voting at board and shareholder meetings, SkyVote's newest solution, SkyVote Cloud, is a distributed voting platform that can be used in public elections.

We are recognising SkyVote for their ability to facilitate voting for thousands of different candidates in the same election (e.g. for company or union elections) using a sophisticated list search mechanism, as well as condition-based voting (where e.g. a voter has to choose a certain number of candidates from different categories).

Shortlist: Ethelo, SkyVote, Delib, PlaceSpeak, Every Voice Engaged

Winner: Civil Space by ZenCity

Civil Space started in 2018 and describes itself as a ‘reimagined town hall’. Its consultations platform spans surveys, discussions, geo-spatial commenting, a ranking tool as well as ‘Idea Boards’ where participants can create initiatives and ideas. As of late 2021, Civil Space is part of Israeli civic tech company ZenCity.

We are awarding Civil Space the 2022 SDI Digital Democracy Inclusion Award for its translation engine which allows organisers to first use automatic translation and then to manually make corrections, saving time and ensuring full accessibility by participants in any language.

Honourable Mention: FirstRoot

FirstRoot is the brainchild of serial entrepreneur and Agile software developer Luke Hohmann. After conducting a large number of Participatory Budgeting exercises for companies and cities, Luke set up FirstRoot in 2020 as a benefit corporation to focus on the education space. Since then, FirstRoot have onboarded multiple clients in their efforts to bring Participatory Budgeting and Financial Literacy to schools across the United States.

We are recognising FirstRoot for its comprehensive PB solution for schools, which not only involves young members of society in decision-making processes but teaches them financial literacy along the way.

Shortlist: Civil Space, FirstRoot, Citizen Lab

Winner: Citizens Foundation

Citizens Foundation was created in 2008 as a non-profit civic tech organisation to involve citizens more closely in decision-making following the 2007/2008 global financial crisis. Its open-source suite of products is now used by over 100 clients across 25 countries.

We are awarding Citizens Foundation the 2022 SDI Digital Democracy Impact Award for pioneering bottom-up e-democracy projects in over 45 countries since 2008 with a seamless end-to-end democracy solution that includes ideation, deliberation, public consultation, decision-making and PB.

Honourable Mention: Polys

Polys was created by Kaspersky’s internal Business Incubator Division to address concerns surrounding the security of online voting. Over the past few years Polys has gone from providing online voting at conferences and universities to larger municipal and regional projects.

We are recognising Polys for implementing a blockchain-secured voting application which gave citizens the option to vote online as part of a national election (Moscow district for the Russian Federal elections).

Shortlist: Citizens Foundation, Polys, Manabalss, Slido

Winner: Every Voice Engaged

Every Voice Engaged develops and promotes the Common Ground for Action platform, used by over 100 clients, primarily researchers and universities, to run interactive deliberation exercises for small to medium-sized groups. Active since 2012, EVE is a joint project of the National Issues Forums and the Kettering Foundation.

We are awarding Every Voice Engaged the 2022 SDI Digital Democracy NewComer Award for their advanced graphical interface which helps their deliberation solution elucidate consensus without forcing it, allowing users to engage with each other using integrated text and video communication.

Honourable Mention: Electis

Electis was founded in 2018 as an open-source e-voting solution. Primarily used by universities as part of electronic voting pilots, Electis provides an open-source voting app utilising a combination of security frameworks and applications.

We are recognising Electis for their open-source implementation of an online voting application, combining ElectionGuard, the Tezos Blockchain and the IPFS file system, creating a transparent process for securing elections online.

Shortlist: Every Voice Engaged, Electis, SkyVote, FirstRoot, Citizens Foundation


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