Meet the Edgeryder: Carlo Alberto!

Carlo is a developer and serial entrepreneur that thinks about how to involve a community in taking part to an important project, monitoring directly, and contributing to the process of evaluation. Carlo, with his team, has created Opinionage- a tool for sparking public debates around issues you care about and making them visible to decision makers and the other way around.

Why does it matter? Because in order for an issue to engage a broad range of people in a debate some kind of “simple hook” is needed to get people to state their opinions and argue for them.

How does it work? In a nutshell Opinionage is a “virtual round table for decisions” where different people (e.g. citizens, government representatives and observers such as the press, NPOs…) meet to address and discuss public topics. The main objective is to help people break down any barrier with public institutions, share thoughts and let emerge ideas/proposals about needs, expectations and problems.

The big challenge is to persuade large institutions to “sit down in front of citizens” to start public debates. Carlo says “I’m very passionated about technology, I built my first program when I was 10 years old. Since I didn’t have access to any computer, I wrote my first program on a paper to give to a friend of mine whose father owned… of course it didn’t work but I really didn’t care because it was so amazing! I’d spent 8 years in building an Enterprise Feedback Management platform before starting Opinionage. When I did my first business trip to the Silicon Valley in 2010 I was so ravished by the “social wave” that I turned my focus from “enterprises” to “people”: hence Opinionage started to spontaneously emerge.”

Do you have any experience to share as to spark a debate about a topic amongst a broad range of participants online? Have you tried any tools for online debates? Help Carlo by sharing your experiences! Post them as a comment below (you’ll need to be signed in) or email it to:

Persuation, transmutation

Hello Carlo, glad to meet you!

Young entrepreneur Anne-Claude Boutin (she lives in Lille, France) could be someone that might want to meet. She facilitates a new way of working together focused on the goals of the project team and integrates the management of tensions as opportunities to move forward together.

She aims to create more ‘collaborative spaces’ for each task (such as a transversal objective quality monitoring) and a radius of action (ensuring and improving quality monitoring with a newly integrated software, for instance). It is in thesecollaborative spaces’ that she creates, everyone can propose an improvement. As this is being discussed, a group can co-construct an action. Facilitation for Anne-Claude enables the recognition of individual expertise and commitment, which can lead to a more rapid implementation.

Anne-Claude has tested her collaboration process on many groups, but she had not yet implemented it in a virtual mode.

The big challenge indeed, is to have managers and officials of gov institutions to sit down with citizens! Some are so locked into their way of thinking that there is no space at all for new ideas.

I believe that the challenge is more than a matter of persuasion.

Current gov leaders, they might be giants in intellect on one side, but they behave like children on the other side, attaching greater value to baubles of power, wealth, office or public applause, than to principles of harmony and collaboration. The minds at the top generally lack insight to make the right use of collective intelligence. Trying to persuade them might not be enough to grant them an insightful vision, and the qualities and skills that should go with it.

There has been no period in the whole of history so full of surprises and, at the same time, so filled with man-caused calamities as the current century. I continue to hope that Man will change. And this includes individuals working for governements. 

I am increasingly convinced that progress must be accompanied by a growth of the mind. We have reached a tipping point: what has shaped power beforehand, should no longer apply. In this sense, I see the challenge as not being one of persuasion, but of transmutation.