It always makes us so proud here at CKEditor to see how our collaborative technology enables productivity the world over. From making it possible to save a considerable amount of time on content creation, to allowing development teams to refocus their software, to helping an e-publisher open new revenue streams, our clients have seen their organizations transform! However, one organization came calling with a different object in mind: civic engagement. It turned out that helping them achieve this goal would also mean doing all of the above.
Challenge: Getting disparate groups to collaborate while slashing idle time
OpenSocial is a Drupal-based online community platform powered by CKEditor 5 that enables closer intraorganizational communication. Foraus is a Swiss think tank that values youth input to shape foreign policy. They do this through organizing workshops at universities across the country, recruiting students to tackle issues like climate change and national security. Foraus needed a tool to help them channel their creative juices while also cutting down on idle time.
To start, Foraus was using Facebook and WhatsApp to communicate and coordinate workshops and events for a chapter, but neither of them were particularly useful for collaboration on actual content. The production of policy papers happened mostly offline in very small groups. This model did not allow for the wealth of expertise and perspectives in the community to be reflected in the final product. Most of all, participants (and their ideas) were alienated from each other. In order to evolve, Foraus’ efforts needed a digital infrastructure.
Solution: Policy Kitchen — a digital platform with real-time collaboration
Through OpenSocial, CKEditor 5 powers Policy Kitchen, a new initiative from Foraus. There are two main functions: Open Ideation, which concerns the establishment of time-bound, goal-oriented challenges to create policy solutions across geographies, and Community, which is powered by conversation around foreign policy topics, as well as for group socializing.
After a promising pilot run with Policy Kitchen, CKEditor 5 is helping refocus their software to become collaboration-centric. OpenSocial works for Foraus because what they need comes right out of the box, as CKEditor provides its clients with the ability to customize and integrate functionalities as needed — nothing more, nothing less. Though Policy Kitchen is a text-heavy effort where participants will be able to comment directly on any part of a proposal, CKEditor also gives them the option of formatting and including tables, graphics and even videos. Because participants can write simultaneously, there is increased productivity as well as a dramatic decrease of idle time.
"We are a community, not just a tool," says Foraus’ senior project manager Jonas Nakonz of the 1,300+ members of the Policy Kitchen platform. “We really try to emphasize collaboration, and real-time collaborative software is a unique invention in making open ideation more collaborative.” Being equipped with CKEditor 5’s tools, Policy Kitchen has the potential to fuel many different crowdsourced policy initiatives.
Real time collaborative software is a unique invention in making open ideation more productive.
Result: Creating a functional, exportable business model
Policy Kitchen is crucial to the growth of Foraus as a whole. Even though they are still implementing some parts of the software, the organization is confident that the unique platform they have created will help them diversify their revenue streams by helping them acquire new grants and service contracts, heighten engagement volumes, and increase media exposure for their publications. This is all possible thanks to CKEditor 5’s real-time collaboration technology bringing Policy Kitchen participants — and their ideas — closer together.
Most exciting of all, Foraus would like to export their service model to like-minded organizations as well as governments, wherever they may be. They have started a small but growing international network of open think tanks like themselves, with partners in Germany, France, Austria, and the United Kingdom. Nakonz envisions scaling this network to a global level. "Other open ideation platforms stress competition. We stress collaboration,” he says. “Policy Kitchen has already allowed us to publish quality policy papers based on collaborative work with hundreds of participants from five continents at a time."