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ShareLab Proposal : Open Grantmaking and Reporting

Open Government best practices, in action!

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As DIGIT reports Nicola Sturgeon has announced a £170k ‘Sharelab’ competition, in conjunction with NESTA, to “support projects using online sharing tech to meet Scotland’s vision of a more socially responsible collaborative economy.

Individuals, social enterprises, charities and community groups can apply for grants of up to £33,000.

We’ll be submitting a full proposal for this, and exploring potential involvement in these types of opportunities is the primary activity of our ‘Deal Room‘.

Open Grantmaking and Reporting

The central best practice proposed is based on the ideas of Beth Noveck, a principle expert in the field of Open Government and specifically for this scenario: “Open Grantmaking“.

In this article Beth explains why Open Grantmaking is a key innovation for this type of program, those that better connect the ‘Third Sector’ et al, with the social needs of the nation, using the best technology & practice models.

Empowering Grass Roots through Open Source Platforms

Our proposal is to define easily repeatable implementation options for these practices, to support the overall NESTA and Scottish Government goals. This includes live prototypes to demonstrate the concepts in action; emphasizing key output goals, for example ‘Better Empowering Grass Roots Communities’. Naturally a perfect example in Scotland is the Independence movement, renowned for its grass root campaigning efforts, and via new organizations like the Scottish Independence Foundation, starting to grow availability of grant funding.

Open Grantmaking can be applied to this and any other similar non-profit / project funding & application process, and we’ll showcase a number of transformational leaps possible.

NESTA has already done prior work in this area – For example this Nesta project Make It Local awarded four councils in Scotland with £25k each to produce an innovative local, open data-based project with the critical stipulation that the resulting code was open sourced. The CivTech Accelerator is also awarding innovation grants for “GovTech” innovations. (Digital Scotland submitted an entry for the latest competition).

Our project will seek to identify and document the powerful intersection of these practices and technology approaches, including making use of open source software like WordPress and using open source sharing methods like Github, aka ‘The Github Difference‘, harnessing the global Github network of open sourced best practices, ranging from simple web site themes through to full solution ‘recipes’ such as How we built Gov.uk. With GDS and other countries like the USA gearing up to follow suit.

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