CHI2015 SIG panel on Online Deliberative Processes and Technologies: join the discussion on Deliberatorium

A Special Interest Group (SIG) on online deliberative processes and technologies is gathering today, April 22, 2015 at the CHI2015 conference, to think collectively on the definition and organization of research and design for online deliberative processes and technologies. Two organizers of this meeting among seven are members of CATALYST consortium. Both Mark Klein from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Anna De Liddo from the Open University will bring to the discussion insights from CATALYST and enrich the SIG perspective with the experience gathered in developing and testing with communities the project Collective Intelligence tools.

The main expected outcomes include “more rigorous definitions of the topics under scrutiny in relation to existing theories, methods, and technologies; a mapping of the space of design problems and promising solutions relevant to researchers and practitioners developing online deliberation technologies, and the identification of horizontal challenges; and the strategies to approach them, when studying and designing online deliberation.”

If you were not able to attend this SIG, you can still join the organizer’s discussion on Delibatorium following this link:

The full description of this SIG on online deliberative processes and technologies is available here ( and CHI2015 website can be accessed from here (

Consortium Meeting

6th CATALYST consortium meeting

On March 12-13, 2015, the sixth CATALYST consortium meeting took place in Rome at the Hotel Capo d’Africa. The meeting was preceded by the Masters of Network 3 hackathon (March 10-11) organized by Wikitalia (member of CATALYST), which saw the participation of most of the project partners. A great overview of the outcomes is available on Edgeryders’ (one of CATALYST open-call winner) website and on Twitter using the hashtag #MoN3.

Thirteen people representing the seven partners were present at this two-day consortium gathering where all major topics were discussed from administrative management of the project to technical issues through outreach activities. Since the last consortium meeting, which was held in October 2014, the testbeds with the open-call winners (Edgeryders, Ahoka, OuiShare, the University of Naples, CHEST, Autoconsulta Ciudadana, Loomio and the OECD) have started. This meeting was a great opportunity to present where each test is standing and to get all partners’ collective help to solve potential issues or adapt tools according to communities’ feedback.

Only six months are left before the end of CATALYST and the project has to be considered in its final phase. This meeting was thus a key moment to adjust technical and conceptual details in order to deliver in September 2015 the project’s open-source ecosystem of tools and a set of lessons learned.

Final results of CATALYST will be presented at CAPS2015 (July 7-8, 2015) but you can subscribe to our newsletter in order not to miss any milestone of the project. Stay tuned!

Large-Scale Ideation & Deliberation : Tools and Studies in Organizations

The activities performed within CATALYST provide technical partners with inputs to contribute to research on Collective Intelligence. In an article published in the Journal of Social Media Organizations (JSMO) on March 12th, 2015, Gregorio Convertino, Adam Weterski, Anna De Liddo (Open University, CATALYST’s partner) and Paloma Diaz are introducing the concepts of large-scale ideation & deliberation. The interest for this topic is explained as well as the events that led to this batch of articles. This paper is a necessary preamble to the four research articles also published in the Volume 2, Number 1 of this issue of the JSMO. The first is entitled “Five design principles for crowd-sourcing policymaking: Assessing the case of crowd-sourced off-road traffic law in Finland” and reports on a pioneering case study where crowdsourcing was applied to the law-reform process by including citizens. The second paper, “LiquidFeedback in Large-Scale Civic Contexts: Framing Multiple Styles of Online Participation”, reports on the case studies of two communities of citizens who used LiquidFeedback open-source platform to make large-scale deliberations. The third paper, “Understanding the Roles of Artifacts in Democratic Deliberation from Citizen’s Initiative review”, focuses on an ethnographic study of a community that practices democratic deliberation. The last contribution, entitled “A Roadmap for open Innovation Systems” emphasizes on the future developments of large-scale ideation and deliberation and is more detailed in another news available here.


The whole article is available here.


Gregorio Convertino, Adam Weterski, Anna De Liddo, Paloma Diaz

Large-Scale Ideation & Deliberation : Tools and Studies in Organizations

Journal of Social Media

volume 1, number 2


Open Innovation System

A Roadmap for Open Innovation Systems

As part of their involvement in CATALYST, partners participate to research papers on Collective Intelligence based on the experience they gathered. A scientific article on open innovation systems written by Mark Klein (MIT / University of Zurich, CATALYST’s consortium partner) and Gregorio Convertino was released on March 12th, 2015, in the special issue of the Journal of Social Media for Organizations, Volume 1, number 2, dedicated to large-scale ideation and deliberation. Open innovation systems are directly related to collective intelligence as they allow the harvesting of the participation of potentially thousands of individuals. If this access to collective intelligence can be a real advantage, it may also be difficult to canalize such a high level of participation and to get the best possible result of crowd-thinking. The article goes through the main challenges facing open innovation systems and gives answers on the ways the research community can move forward on this important topic. Semi-formalized structures, micro-tasks, attention mediation, etc., all these concepts are solutions to challenges such as idea filtering, idea evaluation or even coverage comprehension.


The whole article is available here.


Mark Klein, Gregorio Convertino

A Roadmap for Open Innovation Systems

Journal of Social Media

volume 1, number 2


The 2nd International Conference on Internet Science in May – Brussels

Following the 1st and very successful conference held in April 2013 in Brussels, The Network of Excellence in Internet Science (EINS) initiative, supported by the European Commission, holds its 2nd International Conference on Internet Science from May 27 to 29, 2015 at Flagey in Brussels, Belgium.

This 2015 edition, coordinated by Roger Torrenti (CEO, Sigma Orionis) will involve an open and productive dialogue among scholars and practitioners about three main multidisciplinary topics:

  • Internet and society (Internet and political participation, Internet of things and society, Virtual communities and behavioural patterns…),
  • Internet and governance (Internet governance and evolution, Internet solutions for Sustainability, Social sciences and ethics for Internet use…),
  • Internet and innovation (Collective intelligence for innovative solutions, New collaborative markets analytics, intellectual property and the commons…).

call for papers enables researchers to submit their publications on the conference main topics. Accepted papers will be presented at the conference and published by Springer in the Lecture Notes in Computer Science (LNCS) series. The submission deadline is 20 February 2015.

Through their work together, the EINS partners aim at strengthening scientific and technological excellence by developing an integrated and interdisciplinary scientific understanding of Internet networks and their co-evolution with society

The objective of EINS and this conference is to foster studies and experiments between all disciplines studying Internet systems from any technological or humanistic perspective, and which in turn are being transformed by continuous advances in Internet functionality.

For more details and registration, please visit the 2nd International Conference on Internet Science website.

The power of open innovation systems

A great article from Mark Klein and Gregorio Convertino was released in the latest issue of Communications of the ACM (Association for Computing Machinery) dealing particularly with collective intelligence.

Asking huge crowds to contribute to an organization’s strategy helps it to understand more efficiently the needs of a targeted group who will also feel implicated. This process is innovating as giant consultations – on none-constitutional topics – are quite new and is made possible thanks to technological innovation as gathering so many ideas (up to more than 150,000 contributors) requires the use of powerful internet platforms.

Main results and trends of this topic have been underlined by Mark Klein and Gregorio Convertino such as the following four main potential expectations of collective intelligence: « The long tail », « Idea synergy », « Many eyes » and « Wisdom of the crowd ». All of them are particularly targeting how thinking collectively can be superior to any other kind of intelligence.

Having regards to these established facts, Mark Klein and Gregorio Convertino are explaining the challenges that open innovation systems are facing and are proposing some way to overcome these barriers.


The abstract of the article is available for free on Communications of the ACM’s website.

Masters of Networks 3: designing the future of online debate

Back in the day, the emergence of the global Internet was saluted with joy and hope by lovers of democracy. Many activists saw an opportunity for an electronic agora, endowed with always-on operations mode and total recall, that would finally deliver an Athenian-style participatory democracy at the planetary scale, and win power to the collective intelligence of people. It turned out things were not so simple. Online communities have been around for at least 30 years: some of them led interesting, deep debates, and even built amazing things like Wikipedia or OpenStreetMap; others, not so much. A large-scale participatory democracy is very far from being realized.

Masters of Networks 3: communities is an event that tries to learn from the experience of 30 years of online debate. Why is debate fruitful and creative in some contexts, sterile and conflictual in others? Are there reliable tests for a debate’s good health? Can we predict how conversations will evolve? We will tackle these questions starting from a key idea: any conversation, both on- and offline, is a network of interactions across humans, i.e. a social network. In the course of the CATALYST project, Wikitalia and its partners have built Edgesense, a simple software for real-time, interactive network analysis of online communities (video demoexample).

Masters of Networks 3: communities is a two-day hackathon for network scientists, active members of online communities and people interested in participatory democracy to get together, discuss these themes and make sense of what we already know about them. We will visualize and analize the networks of several online communities, using the deep knowledge of its active members and moderators as our guiding star; our goal is figuring out what a “healthy” conversation network looks like, and if we can tell them apart from the networks of “sick” conversations (too conflictual, superficial, polarized etc.).

Masters of Networks 2: communities happens in Rome on 10-11 March 2015. Several scientists, developers and community managers from the CATALYST project will attend, but we have set aside about ten places to allow any interested person to participate. In particular, if you are running an online community and would like to visualize and analyze its interaction network, we can probably help – get in touch and we will see what we can do. Participation is free, but registration is necessary – go here to register. The working language will be English.

I will be there. I think this is a central issue; I tried to argue as much in the video below

Alberto Cottica (Wikitalia)


impacto 2014

CATALYST presented at Impacto 2014 in Sao Paulo

On December 8th, the Impacto 2014 event took place in Sao Paulo, Brazil.

More than celebrating the future of business, this event celebrated the innovators, the developers, the go-getters and the impactful. Its goal is to recognize the businesses and professionals that make a difference, that business can make vital and meaningful contributions to their community, no matter their size.

Lee-Sean Huang from Purpose, had there the perfect opportunity to present to the audience the CATALYST project as being a series of tools to scale discussions, in the context of “how prospectives brings inspiration”.




And the winners of the Open Call are…

Due to the large number of submissions, judging the proposals took us longer than expected, but finally we have come to a decision!

The winners of the CATALYST Open Call for Collaboration are:

We are looking forward to starting the collaboration with these organisations’ community and would like to thank once again all applicants for having expressed their interest in our project.

Stay tuned, more information to come!

debates debatehub

Help us test CATALYST tools today: join the debates and tell us more about your experience with DebateHub

The CATALYST Consortium has begun alpha testing of the DebateHub, a collective intelligence platform for group ideation, discussion, and debate. DebateHub also includes cutting edge tools to help community managers (visualize and understand the social dynamics and argument balance of a given debate or deliberation.

Purpose and the Open University’s Knowledge Media Institute have partnered with a several communities who have begun experimenting with DebateHub. These communities include Wisdom Hackers, a group of artists, activists, and entrepreneurs building an “incubator” for philosophy and wisdom into the discource of contemporary living, as well as the alumni association of the Interative Telecommunications Program (ITP) at New York University. CATAYST consortium partner Purpose is also using DebateHub as a transparent and inclusive place to plan its spring campaign and upcoming testbed, in which the organisation plan to use DebateHub as a platform for hosting a large scale public discussion about imagining the future of European identity.

We need your help to improve DebateHub. Please give DebateHub a try and give us your feedback by filling out the short survey below, which takes approximately 5 minutes to complete.

Thanks in advance for your help. We look forward to your input in our iterative design process and product development.


Join the debates now

We need you! Answer the survey and help us to improve DebateHub