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. 

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