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CKEditor helps: Collaborative policy in government

CKEditor is an authority on rich-text editing and real-time collaborative writing. Over the years we have covered so many different uses in our case studies, from vastly improving note-taking to becoming the backbone for an entire content management framework. There are lots of use cases that address fundamental business needs, but we can see further than that.

Sometimes there are wide-reaching problems on a societal level that deserve attention, like urban planning, zoning, or natural resource management. Rising to affect systemic change in these areas can be larger than even a government’s competency to solve them. This is when cooperation — as well as collaboration — is needed from different sectors of public life. Governments, businesses, and citizens come together to craft policy that affects needed and welcomed change.

# Policy formation has become increasingly collaborative

Policy is used by governments and organizations to make decisions in order to achieve desired outcomes. By contrast, collaborative policy is an approach to governance that involves multiple governing and non-governing stakeholders. The practice has emerged in the past 20 years and has three ingredients: support; leadership; and a forum. The support identifies the policy problem to be fixed. The leadership gathers the sectors into a forum. Then, the members of the forum collaborate to develop policies, solutions and answers.

How does it work in practice? Usually, writers from these communities collaborate with each other to draft new policy using crowdsourced questions, answers and comments to produce a policy draft on an issue like security or the environment. These are then further refined through cycles of feedback and redrafting until a consensus is reached on the final document, which can be taken up for reading in a debate in the relevant legislative bodies.

One of the earliest examples of collaborative policy can be found in the city of Sacramento, California. In 2000 the Sacramento Water Forum was established in response to environmentalists’ efforts to protect the American River — the economic lifeblood of the city — from ongoing resource and ecosystem depletion. Their leadership comprises 40 different businesses, NGOs, and civic organizations, and use a bottom-up decision making approach that has driven dozens of civic engineering projects to restore and conserve local waterways to sustain economic (and, y’know, actual) life.

People can get involved by creating and sharing objectives, opinions, questions, and even feedback on the policy drafts themselves.

# Using real-time collaboration technology to open up policy ideation

The SWF was conceptualized when the internet was still in its infancy. Arguably, the rise of the web has enhanced the viability of collaborative governance; countless initiatives have sprung up the world over, harnessing not only the connective power of the internet, but also the emerging technologies and platforms that have made collaboration easier. With these new tools, people can get involved by creating and sharing objectives, opinions, questions, and even feedback on the policy drafts themselves. But can a collaborative governance model be scaled up to a regional, national, or even global level?

Ask Jonas Nakonz, senior project manager at Policy Kitchen. They operate in Switzerland as well as internationally, endeavoring to give people a chance to collaborate on the issues most important to them. “We are a community, not just a tool,” he says. “We really try to emphasise collaboration, and real-time collaborative software is a unique invention in making open ideation more collaborative.” The Policy Kitchen platform, powered by a rich-text editor with real-time collaboration capabilities, works to serve the basic tenets of policy collaboration.

What are those capabilities? How can they be used? Crowdsourced queries and feedback can easily be added to a policy proposal through in-line commenting, and its track changes feature makes revision and redrafting more transparent. Though Policy Kitchen is a text-heavy effort where participants will be able to comment directly on any part of a proposal, they also have the option of formatting and including tables, graphics and even videos in documents during the ideation process. Because participants can write simultaneously, policies come together more quickly and idle time is drastically reduced.

# CKEditor is enabling collaboration in policy

Policy Kitchen operates worldwide. Best of all? It’s powered by our very own CKEditor 5, which is a part of the OpenSocial community platform. We know we’re powering businesses in their efforts to scale up, but we also realize our potential to produce innovations for the greater good. If your policy project needs a real-time collaborative solution, get in touch and see what we can do for you!

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