#VALUES | Definition, debate, selection


Principles will guide us towards the achievement of our goals. Those will be governing CivicWise, its design , evolution and uniqueness.


Principles are usually helpful in creating a common narrative about what we are trying to achieve. The risks in principles definitions are several:

  • being too vague (or as mentioned by @sararmento ethic bound, but I am simplifying her words) to be applicable in any(or all) parts of CivicWise development
  • being confused with requirements;
  • being confused with examples;

Here the challenge and discussion proposal: a set of principles capable of having:

  • a statement ( unambiguously communicate the fundamental rule)
  • a rationale (should highlight civic/participative benefits of adhering to the principle)
  • implications (Should highlight the requirements for carrying out the principle - in terms of resources, costs, and activities/tasks)

Further open question: what do you think about the here below value chain?
Principles -> Insight -> Rules -> Behavior.


Thanks for this introduction. The way I’ve used principles - albeit in the context of co-designing with public spaces and festivals - is the value chain which is behaviour - insight - principles. You gain insights from people’s behaviour about what are the best principles that stimulate co-design. People act in a way that embodies the principles they’ve learnt, which creates new behaviours, creating new insights and so on.

I wonder what you see as the difference between principles and rules?


@noelito, thanks for your reply and insight; highlighting the importance of the flow from people behavior towards principles, it is very valuable!
We are today a very heterogeneous group and defining principles only from behaviors can be problematic, while granting at same time much richness. To not loose focus we should also expect that from a set of principles we develop a behavior.
in my opinion both flows are meant to be used to generate a meaningful set of principles that will guide us in CivicWise journey. Having both perspective will hopefully help us to define a principle set that is participate and focused at same time.

On your question, thinking twice the rules word can be misleading compared to my intentions, I would like to change it into implications, aligning it to the principle structure itself I mentioned earlier.

Let’s take a widely diffused topic in groups that deals with technology:
the principle “Information(data) is shared”

It’s rationale show that a timely access to accurate information/data is essential for a community to perform decision-making.Furthermore consolidation (deduplication) of data and deprecation of information silos will be pursued.

The Implications are then that there will be educational task/process to ensure that no information islands (silos) will be presents; further educational task will be necessary to ensure that all partied consolidate information understanding the relationship between value of information, its sharing and its accessibility.
Further implication is that to achieve this we need to develop tools/processes/policies that will govern data and information management and access.

Hope that my perspective can contribute to the evolution of our principles set.


I really like the notion of implications as we cannot assume that just because we set principles that we agree with that we will have the capacity to be able to enact them systematically. Providing infrastructure for people to embody those principles shows the commitment by Civicwise to them.


Well, I don’t know if these thoughts should be placed here since they are not facing the ethic or principles of the project but rather its finality and usability.

However, I liked the question raised by @Sararmento and I think we should stop there before moving forward: “Why a public administration should “hire” CW instead of a traditional consultancy or firm?”
For asking that, it is necessary to answer “Why Civic Wise?” or even better deeper, “What is Civic Wise?”

First of all, I think it is already clear that CW is a community with two main objectives: to increase the importance of bottom/local knowledge into urban renovation/placemaking projects; and to put in contact participants of these projects, so they can learn from each other and use that local wisdom for different projects.

The second question is about the nature of “Civic Wisers”. I think that we can find four different profiles within a project developed through CW: local neighbors and associations; Civic Wisers from other cities with knowledge about similar projects; professionals of the field of urban planning; and institutions. If Civic Wise has to be a referent of participatory urban processes it has to address the “needs” of all these for groups:

  • For local citizens and associations: to provide an open and useful platform for every user in order to foster the participation of local people/associations interested in the project. It has to be simple to follow the “path for citizen engagement” stated by Sara: 1. to grasp the problem, 2. to think about it, 3. get involved 4. say something, 5. do something.
  • For every Civic Wiser: to create spaces of collaboration between different circles and users.
  • For planning professionals: To bring work opportunities for professionals in the field of urban planning.
  • For institutions: to create a useful platform where working together with citizens and technicians in order to get the “best” project in terms of their expectations and of amount of people involved on it.

In my opinion, the added value of Civic Wise may be brought by the transparency of the process, the collective intelligence and the experience and variety of its users. Therefore, the definition of CW processes could be something like “Open and crowdsourced participatory processes which put together technical, institutional and local knowledge”. Besides, in the approach to these potential “hirers”, CW could be presented as the first decentralized and crowdsourced consultancy platform for urban processes.

Finally, I would like to stress that in order to put together all these features it will be required an outstanding web-platform. That’s why I believe that instead of looking for projects where explaining or using the CW methodology it would be smarter to focus on the creation of the platform and on funding for it via National or European programs.


Dear @sitoVeracruz, is a very interesting contribution that brighten this discussion; challenging topics…

In my opinion this is the perfect place where to post such a comment exactly because principles=ethic is not the equation I consider belonging to #Principles. I am more in favor of a duality within the value chain principles (values,ethic,principles) -> … -> Implications (usability, method constrains/requirements, pragmatism).

Here the duality I would like to foster: Civicwise will be defined by the principles that give life to it as well by the practical implications that those will have into the daily life of CivicWise project(s).

I hope that within this (quick) identity journey, the principles definition phase and their implications, it will be possible to properly declinate CivicWise in an unique, concrete and evident way that will show (concretelly) the value in hiring CivicWise.

As I see it, the method, once applied within the CivicWise hosted projects, should be able to easy project assessment, its deliveries and overall comprehensiveness and quality, at least if we speak about Institutions relationship.

The synergies and consistency between the principles and method is also important.

I think that the principles should guide every step of the method (that is the 10 steps identified in the #method channel or the highlights contributed by @sararmento).

Just random (apologize for being quick and potentially misleading… ok that is a nice contradiction for an example) :
Let’s take the “transparency of the process” value/principle,

  • how will be put in practice concretely
  • how the method we will define/use will take care of this aspect being present and preserved

On the #tech topic, I totally agree with you on the challenge of having such a platform and how outstanding should be. And I like it much :stuck_out_tongue:
I would (will) enjoy the technology development of such a platform, but I see it from my technical perspective.
The idealization (functional and technical ) should represent answers to a specific, well expressed and defined, set of needs.

The journey to reach that is not dissimilar than the one we might be starting now with the principles.

Bit out of scope; I will hack a tech principle for the case:

Collaborative (& Ease-of-Use)

  • Statement: The underlying technology is transparent to CivicWisers, so they can concentrate on tasks at hand: a cohesive collaborative environment to enable rapid team sharing
  • Rationale: the portal should be able to seamlessly integrate components (unique UI) offering comprehensive team collaboration functionality (using integrated audio, video, file sharing, task management etc etc)
  • Implication: opensource and open-standards components are required to be selected, component/products integration should be done seamlessly (same UI) ; prefer REST design ( REST is interesting where you want to collaborate with users [and] where you need to be tolerant of change that comes along. plus on integration with other apps)



After the hangout of yesterday I am even more convinced that what is required is a debate about the base of Civic Wise itself and about it’s way of working.

Alberto and I spoke about the difficulty to explain clearly what Civic Wise is for new potential users (neighbors, professionals or institutions). We agreed that rather to focus in the method -which for sure can be great looking at the level of participants so far- we should think about the process itself and how the different actors interact.

I think it would be good, as Rita proposed, to move to hypothetical cases so we can think how Civic Wise would work for different actors.

To make it clear a visualization of the platform is required. Do you see CW as a web-platform similar to Open Ideo, where the strength of the project is based on it’s design process and the collaboration of other users? If you do so, then the process should start in the sense of thinking how to create the web platform (with volunteers or paying to professional?) and the method itself. Again, in that case would be only volunteering or aiming to provide professional opportunities?

My personal view of Civic Wise was something more close to a social network, where institutions and professionals could gather for debating and co-designing specific projects, including also the application for and the management of these projects. In that case, the process for creating CW would include the creation of the web, thinking about the research/participatory method but also about that management.

Please, give your opinion about these topics because I think they are the very base of the project and require to be addressed.

#TECH CivicWise Infrastructure & Platform

Ciao @SitoVeracruz,

I added your technical review proposition Open Ideo (btw cool engine) into #Tech topic, I will further discuss in there.

Other topics should be better off in a #General where I invite you to create a topic on your insights to better focus on your questions.

We should in effect not expand this topic further otherwise the discussion on Principles, that can continue parallel, will be difficult to carry and focus on.


a catalog is available to consolidate principles; domains are just stubbed to give an idea on how many aspects we should expect to have principles on…

I also uploaded a principles exercise on CivicWise I made for myself few weeks ago, it does not reflect some discussions that happened in the meantime, but I’d like to share it.



I would like to add something I’ve just read in spanish here.
What about focus our discussion using this simple scheme:
How-to” rules = terms of how it will act if situations or specific events occur.
Boundary rules” = Establish boundaries, limits of how far you can get. Also thinking about the identity.
Priority rules” = Define principles for prioritizing, ie, how to allocate resources to the dilemma of choosing between alternatives.
Timing Rules” = Define acceptable “time” to run Relevant actionses.
Exit rules" = Setting limits that specify when to cancel projects


The types of rules you suggest @urbanohumano would be good to test out on a practical project or activity to see how effective they would be. How about applying it to creating rules for a forthcoming Hangout (tonight’s is too soon, but perhaps the one after that?)

The implications suggested above are very important in order to clarify people’s expectations, particularly people who want to develop projects or already have ideas.

Let’s take “empathy” as a principle. The behaviour may be “you put yourself in other people’s shoes to see things from their perspective”.

The implication could be that projects need to start with understanding people’s perspectives before developing solutions to solve problems. This may mean that what you discover on the ground builds on but also may contradict the initial gut feeling or idea you have for a project. That means that Civicwise may invest in helping people understand and listen to other people’s perspectives (ie using the engagement protocol).

Likewise “openness” as a principle and associated behaviours of being generous in sharing your resources, insights & experiences with others and learning from others. The implication of this is that your actions will be improved through opening them up for feedback, but having your idea challenged can be difficult for people, so developing ways for people to share in trustworthy environments is a resource Civicwise may choose to focus on.

The takeaway from this is that principles are easier to preach than to practise, it’s not what we are used to, so crafting ways for people to feel confident behaving in this way could be something we think about. Also how would people be able to challenge Civicwise if it wasn’t upholding its principles. What “civic whistleblowing” rights should we provide?


As discussed at the hangout yesterday, we agreed that in advance of next week’s hangout on 22nd April, people could suggest principles for Civicwise, along with associated behaviours and implications. See the scheme by @rita and the example I give above.

Start suggesting principles, behaviours & implications!


Interesting, the principle of right to civic whistleblowing !

Question, wasn’t there a place ( was it an Excel file?) to record this exercise: principles- behaviours and implications?



“Start recognizing that you cannot buy collaboration. It does not come in a download or a policy to ‘be more collaborative.’ Working together, co-laboring, is fundamentally about people and every aspect about people. From the individual motivation to organizational management to the social recognition of working together, each plays a role in the type of collaboration we need…start placing the emphasis on purpose, outcome and result rather than tools, techniques and technology.”

Change the classification of what collaboration means and therefore the criteria for collaboration solutions. Emphasize the ability of people and individuals to mobilize themselves, their resources and their actions. Solutions that ‘manage’ knowledge without supporting action are good, but creating results is better.
The need for collaboration demands a deeper definition
Working together requires information. Going from information to action is at the center of any good knowledge management process. Too often, however, operationalizing collaboration concentrates on what could be measured. In this case its sharing and knowledge management.


These are not my words…I have them as part of research on the topic, but can´t find the sources, My thanks to the authors!


@rita the mentioned excel was this one

Is open to be edited, including the structure and form.


@All, just uploaded another, more clear Principles catalog here

I would like to invite to consider a wide set of domains where we need principles like i.e.:

  • general
  • civic
  • collaboration
  • participation
  • portal(application)
  • infrastructure
  • governance


Should both represent the essence of the rule as well as be easy to remember. Avoid ambiguous words in the Name and in the Statement.
Should succinctly and unambiguously communicate the fundamental rule. It is vital that the principles statement be unambiguous.
Should highlight the benefits of adhering to the principle. Also describe the relationship to other principles, and the intentions regarding a balanced interpretation. Describe situations where one principle would be given precedence or carry more weight than another for making a decision.
Should highlight the requirements (think for all domains of CivicWise*) for carrying out the principle - in terms of resources, costs, and activities/tasks. The reader should readily discern the answer to: “How does this affect me?” It is important not to oversimplify, trivialise, or judge the merit of the impact.


The online collaboration reveal itself complext and not efficient on the moment (too wide topic)

Next target is to consolidate and translate/remap current document in gdrive.


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