02 january 2013

New democratic decision making tool could help launch politicians’ careers


Photo: Samantha Craggs/CBC
Ken Seville's new online tool, Democravise, will help politicians make better decisions, he says.

Rookie politicians who have a hard time reaching out to constituents now have a new tool to help them stand out from the crowd. Democravise is a web application developed in Hamilton, Ontario that allows citizens to ask questions they think are important and rank other questions, as well.  Based on the results, politicians could then make better decisions.

“The basic premise of Democravise is that when people ask better questions they make better decisions,” says Ken Seville, the inventor of the new tool and founder of democravise.com. “We enable people to crowd source better questions.”
According to Seville, Democravise could help build trust between new politicians and citizens. It could also help neighbourhood associations, school boards, non-profit organizations, unions, even individuals make better decisions.

“[A person can say] ‘I’m thinking of moving to New York for a new job. What should I ask myself before I make this decision?’ It’ a very flexible decision making tool,” says Seville.

Democravise users can ask questions and rank other user's questions. (Photo: democravise.com)

Questions are uncensored

A recent question posted on Democravise’s website about the National Rifle Association’s defense program for schools, the National School Shield, aroused interesting questions from users. For example, ‘How many armed guards would be required for this program, and how much would they cost yearly?’ and ‘What risks do students and teachers face as a result of having armed guards in the classroom?’

Seville explains that even if some issues are sensitive, questions are not censored.

“For the most part, people seem to see the difference between [Democravise] and an open forum,” says Seville.

In this video, Ken Seville demonstrates how Democravise works.

Free to all

Ken Seville has high expectations for his invention. He wants to Democravise to be an open source web widget, so that it can be installed and customized according to anyone’s needs.

“We think of it as a global idea. We should make this available to anyone who wants to make better decisions,” he says.

Gilda Salomone spoke with Hamilton inventor Ken Seville, founder of democravise.com
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