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New eGov initiative — Code4russia.ru — contest for developers and platform for experts opinions

05/11/2011

A number of serious competitions among developers that are aimed to implement new eGov services or projects that could be further used by authorities or other specialized companies have been conducted recently in almost every Western country. Developers in turn could derive a variety of benefits starting from free educational or qualification programme to more profitable — money prize. Personally I was interested in these kind of contests and has always wanted to do something similar in Russia. Once it is proclaimed it should be done later on.

So, now I’m very pleased to announce the launch of our new eGov intiative — Code4Russia  that represents a separate but connected eGov iniative that works under Gov2People project that as far as you might know considers all existed eGov services in Russia and reviews international practices that could be used in Russian virtual reality.

By all means, Code4Russia has little in common with analogous Western projects, firstly due to different objectives that we set up as Russian reality has its own rules and regulations under which project could be conducted.  Code4Russia represents the largest Russian online unique project that includes «Coding for Russia»  All-Russian contest of developers in eGov context and special project called «Developers expertise.»
So now let’s speak about every project in detail and perspective, what distincive features they have and what further opportunities they provide.


Developers expertise is the first project of that kind in Russia that can be seen as an expert’s crowdsource model that is made to encourage best IT-specialists of e-govermeent project and services to leave comments and feedback. The main difference between developers and consumers of eGov services that IT-experts are more likely to share its constructive professional view on what has been done wrong by government and what can be done to improve this or that feature.

The main problem of today’s projects and eGov services is contained in its unclear presentation and negative perception by the target audience as these projects are not user-friendly at all. Once a new eGov project is launched a certain amount of  negative comments in media and social networks appear with saying that «it has terrible or worst interface I’ve ever seen» that at times seems to be very true. There is no integrated consumers’ feedback system exist at the market. That is why our project aims to improve interface and usability of eGov services, to get constuctive evaluations from IT-experts and their suggestions that would create a platform for effecient e-government marketing development.

So how does this model work? Interfaces of goverment project or mobile apps that are either under development phase or have already entered the market would be placed on Code4russia.ru. These projects would be discussed by a group of experts, the general opinion would be formed and the final assessment of this product would be given. Based on this data the report is developed and further it will be provided with local authorities.

Among main objectives of special project can be identified:

— improvement of interface and usability of eGov services;
— providing feedback and assesment of eGov services;
— establishment of efficient collaboration between eGov services consumers and government itself;
— building media and web loyalty towards eGov services;

We’re keen on getting all developers comments on this or that issue/project and thus to improve the state of eGov in Russia and to encourage a new turn of evolution.  We are ready to discuss all opinions and recommendations that will provide us with the insight  how to attract developers into project’s participation. Surely we expect a variety of opinions, including positive and negative, but we are open to any useful interactions.

The main advantage for authorities is contained in the fact that receiving useful comments, officiers are aware of things they have to improve in their services or e-projects in order to make these web-resources more popular among Russian users .

The contest «Coding for Russia» is conducted among developers of mobile apps and web-sites based on open data. Paticipants create socially important and valuable projects that solve certain problems of a particular regions.  First contests would be organized in Krasnodar and Tatarstan republic.

Key aim of the contest is to first of all attract attention of IT-communities and authorities to public projects and issues that could be transformed into eGov context. And secondly, to show on practice that these available tools for problem solving are more than real and could be used anywhere in Russia!

The essense of the contest is considered in the fact that a region defines a set of social issues that are typical for it and compulsory for finding a right solution, the terms of reference is being then proposed. During the month participants, using open data resources program different range of interfaces (web or mobile apps) to solve emerging issues.  During the whole period participants are strongly connected and interacted with a group of experts that finally makes the final decision and define three contest’s winners. The winner gets not only the money prize with 100 000 rubles ( approximately 3 000 $), but also a guarantee that this project is going to be futher used and supported by local authorities. That is how these projects could become best solutions for building civil society.

So the general idea is to attract and collaborate with best developers of our country in order to create eGov services that will be helpful for citizens of different regions. So now we are anticipating the results and keen on going further and further.

Should you have any ideas or suggestions, please do not hesitate to leave them here.

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