Wednesday, October 17, 2012

New Book on eParticipation in Southern Europe and the Balkans by Routledge

A new book on e-Participation in Southern Europe and the Balkans is just published, by Routledge. In this, together with Euripidis Loukis and Ann Macintosh we present several cases of electronic participation in southern European countries. The rapid development and the growing penetration of information and communication technologies (ICT) provide tremendous opportunities for a wide and cost effective application of the ideas of participative democracy and public participation in government decision and policy making. ICT can drive dramatic transformations in the quantity and quality of communication and interaction of government organizations with  citizens, revitalizing and strengthening the modern representative democracy which currently faces big problems of reduced citizens’ trust and involvement.

This book deals with the application of these e-participation ideas in the special and ‘difficult’, and at the same time highly interesting, national context of Southern Europe and the Balkans. The first chapter provides an overview of e-participation concepts and practices whilst the following chapters analyse pilot applications of e-participation concepts in eight different Southern European and Balkan countries (Spain, France, Italy, Slovenia, Serbia, Albania, Greece, Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM)). They cover both the ‘classical’ e-participation paradigm, based on official e-participation spaces created, operated and controlled by government organizations as well as emerging new e-participation paradigms including e-participation based on web 2.0 social media, and ‘scientific-level’ e-participation, based on opening government data to the scientific community.

This book is available in Amazon, at:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

The ENSEMBLE project on Future Internet Enterprise Systems

The ENSEMBLE project (, funded by the European Commission, aims to coordinate research activities in the domain of Future Internet Enterprise Systems (FInES). Furthermore, ENSEMBLE aims to study systematically and formalize Enterprise Interoperability (EI) as a scientific domain, by combining systemic approaches, scientific multi-disciplinarity and a community-driven mentality. 

The final review of the project was done in European Commission premises in Brussels, in early October 2012.  It was a unanimous opinion by all participating experts that ENSEMBLE greatly contributed towards the two main objectives of the future internet enterprise systems community (the FInES cluster):

- The establishment of the Enterprise Interoperability Science Base
- The creation of the Research Roadmap for Future Internet Enterprise Systems

The ENSEMBLE team, from left to right: Charis Vassiliou, Michele Missikof, Keith Popplewell, Carlos Agostinho,
Vivian Kioussi, John Psarras, Fenareti Lampathaki, Yannis Charalabidis, Ricardo Goncalves

More information on the project deliverables can be found at: 

NOMAD Project Focus Group, at the Hellenic Parliament

The NOMAD project on Policy Formulation through non moderated crowdsourcing, organised with great success a focus group, which took place in the premises of the Hellenic Parliament, on the 17th September 2012 in Athens. 

The workshop was hosted by the European Programs Implementation Service of the Hellenic Parliament, produced valuable outcome for the continuation of the project thanks to the broad participation of people involved in policy making procedures. Specifically, approximately twenty people attended the event, among them members of the Hellenic Parliament’s Scientific Committees, policy advisors, representatives of NGOs and collective organisations. 

During the focus group, the NOMAD concept on providing tools to support policy makers’ decisions, through web content extraction, analysis and public opinion mining, was introduced to the participants. Then, the related technologies were demonstrated through a real use-case scenario on the “Energy planning” domain, triggering a lot of reactions by the audience. 

The discussion that followed was a very nice opportunity to gather feedback from potential end users and identify their needs regarding the capabilities that services and solutions to support them in policy formulation in an automated way, should provide. The participants showed intense interest in the project. More specifically, they were expressed with enthusiasm towards the capability of NOMAD to show how specific arguments based on the opinions of citizens can change in a specified time. They desire NOMAD to visualise these results and depict the trend of different arguments of a specific policy accompanied with geo-demographic information. They highlighted that they usually use social media to get a grasp of citizens’ opinions, but they have not found a systematic tool for this yet. Thus, as it was notably mentioned, they ideally expect from NOMAD to provide “a tool that will enable policy makers to establish political discourse with valid scientific reasoning”.

Finally, the audience was asked to fill in a questionnaire in order to collect information about their experience in using social networking as a tool to assist policy making processes, and tools that use the internet for better decision making. The input will help NOMAD consortium to design and develop tools that will use Internet and social networks for more effective decision making and policy formulation. 

For more information visit the project’s website  and connect with NOMAD Social media streams:


Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The eGovernment Summit in Saudi Arabia

The 3rd Annual Kingdom eGovernment Summit was held in Riyadh, on 25th and 26th of September 2012.  The Summit aimed to build awareness and accelerate the integration of e-Government in the day-to-day activities of the public sector and the services it offers to businesses and citizens. 

Leading solution providers had the opportunity to meet up to 150 influential Government officials representing a variety of key Saudi Arabian governmental bodies, giving experts the chance to discuss business solutions and upcoming ICT projects in Saudi Arabia and the GCC Region.

I had the pleasure to be among the invited experts / speakers, together with friends and colleagues from other European Union member states, such as Jeremy Millard (DTI, Denmark), Carlos Jimenez (Catalunia Administration), Blaz Golob (CeGD, Slovenia), Frank Leyman (Belgian Administration).

View of the audience at the Interoperability Session
My first talk targeted Open Data and Collaborative Governance, briefly presenting some "lessons from he field" and some insights on the ENGAGE Open Data e-Infrastructure project.  You may find my presentation here: 

Then, I had to moderate a session on eGovernment Interoperability, stating progress in European Union: European Interoperability Framework, National Interoperability Frameworks, SEMIC.EU,  the CIP Flagships (STORK, PEPPOL, SPOCS), W3C and IEEE working groups on interoperability in public administration formed a good part of the agenda.

View of the panel at the Open Data session

The Al Maasmak castle at the old city

Riyadh is a city of 5 million people, with several spots that are worth visiting, like the Kingdom Tower (where you can see the whole city from 300 metres / 99 stores high) or the Al Masmaak Castle (where a very important battle took place on 1902, eventually leading to the establishment of Saudi Arabia independent state).  

With Blaz Golob, CeGD Ljubljana, at the Kingdom Tower / view of Riyadh