Working for Transparencee.org, Alina Ostling recently undertook a study of civic tech failures in Central and Eastern Europe, the Balkans and Russia, speaking to experienced practitioners from the region. Her conclusions:
The evidence from the field shows us that many civic tech tools fail. Sometimes this has to do with the technology used and the lack of appropriate tech skills to apply it, but most of the time, it boils down to the human element. Organisations are struggling with involving users into the design and implementation of products, and of maintaining a fruitful relationship with public officials, who are often the key data providers or the target of the project. Surveys show that only a minority of civic tech organisations do any user research before choosing a tech tool and even fewer test the tools with potential users. At the same time, the majority of them expect easier buy in from project’s stakeholders and users, than what happens in reality.