Building the Budget from Zero: Online Participatory Budgeting in San José,CA

Mayor Sam Liccardo and the San José City Council, in partnership with the Every Voice Engaged Foundation and Conteneo Inc., invite San José residents to participate online in a citywide participatory budgeting event during the week of February 22, 2016.OnlineForumsSanJose

The hour-long online “zero-based” budgeting sessions will provide residents with an opportunity to get involved in their government and community and impact the city budget.

How to participate 

Residents may participate in collaborative forums with their neighbors from a laptop or desktop computer, by logging into a forum at time that works for them. To find available times (from 8AM to 8PM, February 22-26, 2016)  and participate, go to http://everyvoiceengaged.org/sanjose-zerob/.

Starting with a budget of $63,600,000, residents will be able to collaboratively reallocate funding for 30 city programs, including such line items as graffiti abatement, parks and urban renewal and more. Residents may also preview the 30 city programs and their current funding level here: 2016-2017 Budget Engagement Exercise (PDF Download).

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Collaboration Framework Spotlight: Product Box to Science Fair.

Necessity may be the mother of invention, but fexibility is the progenitor of new collaboration frameworks, especially in in-person forums. Even with our long experience with live events and logistics, occasionally things go awry. Shipments are late or supplies we thought we definitely needed are sold out and unavailable. When faced with logistical snafus, Collaboration Architects excel as transforming problems into solutions.

Product Box to Science Fair

Protegra’s Terry Bunio transformed Product Box to Science Fair by using Tri-fold posters.

Protegra’s Terry Bunio writes on the Protegra company blog about just such an issue and how he was able to transform missing Product Box supplies into a new collaboration framework he calls, “Science Fair,” for an Agile Winnipeg User Group meeting.

Science Fair

The birth of Science Fair came from missing supplies (and the creative use of others.) For Product Box, we use white literature mailers, commonly found in most office supply stores in the U.S. Outside of the 50 states, however, we have to be flexible as they are often out of stock. As Terry writes, “I was hoping that the lack of white cereal-sized boxes was only temporary at Staples. Nope. They were nowhere to be found.”

Staples did have a selection of tri-fold display boards, the kind used by kids all over the world in science fairs. And Terry found a large selection of “animal stickers.” Using the supplies that were available, Terry had his teams create science fair “posters,” instead of Product Boxes, selling their bosses on the value of Agile.

product box takeout

Restaurant Takeout boxes are another common substitution when the typical white boxes can’t be found.

Terry writes that the new framework garned some unexpected benefits, including:
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  • More real estate or physical space for buiding out your argument.
  • Additional metaphor for talking about the problems, created through the use of animal stickers and the science fair concept.

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Have you had to adapt or change or create a new Innovation Game collaboration framework out of necessity? We’d love to hear about it.