Hub for Party Innovations

On December 8-10, the Hub for Party Innovations was held.

The Hub for Party Innovations provides a unique platform for spreading knowledge about the use of modern technologies and innovations for the development of party democracy in Ukraine. The Hub for Party Innovations was initiated by International IDEA and the Ukrainian School of Political Studies, a project of the Agency for Legislative Initiatives.

The Hub included training sessions on communication with voters, party transparency, and accountability, intraparty democracy and effective management, as well as on the Democracy Labs tool developed by International IDEA to introduce innovation and digital technology into the daily practice of political parties.

Oleksandr Yakymenko, Program Coordinator for the Great Europe Program of the International Institute for Democracy and Elections, noted that the Hub emerged as a response to the challenges of global processes, specifically the crisis of representation (representation of interests), the gap between what voters want and what their elected representatives do.

Svitlana Matviienko, Chairwoman of the Board of the Agency for Legislative Initiatives, emphasized the relevance of political education and establishment of inter-party dialogue. Ms. Matviienko also drew attention to the importance of transfer from the leader-based model of party construction towards the development of intra-party democracy.

Kyrylo Tretiak, the Netherlands Institute for Multiparty Democracy, observed that the Institute provides educational and advisory assistance to political parties, contributing to their democratic development and inter-party dialogue.

Yevhen Barshchevskyi, the Research and Innovation Program at the representative office of the National Democratic Institute in Ukraine, informed the participants of the training about the “Your Opinion” polling system, which gives political parties, NGOs and NGO networks the opportunity to organize online consultations through voting via text messages or a website; as well as CiviCRM – a system for tracking relations and interactions.

Oleksandra Kuziv, Project Manager of Political Memory project, Civic Movement CHESNO, and Vita Dumanska, Coordinator of the ‘Follow the Money’ Campaign, Civic Movement CHESNO, presented the resources of E-Reporting, Political Memory and Party Gold to the participants of the training. These are innovative tools for assessing politicians and parties designed to help citizens make a rational and informed choice. The resources include data from the CEC, VRU, local councils, party websites, NAPC, propaganda archives of Istorychna Pravda and media archives.

Yaroslav Yurchyshyn, Executive Director of Transparency International Ukraine, discussed both external and intraparty openness of political parties with Hub participants. Openness generates voters’ confidence in political parties and is the most important resource. To what extent are representatives of the main stakeholders in the political process prepared to openness?

Sam van der Staak, Head of the Wider Europe program of International IDEA, told the training participants about the role of technologies in restoring communication between political parties and the public; the attitude of young people to technologies in the context of the political process; how digitalization can help parties overcome the crisis of representation; why the onset of the technological era means that political campaigns never end; which online resources should be preferred; what political parties should remember using technologies.

Gefion Thuermer, University of Southampton and the German Green Party, elaborated on the opportunities that digitalization opens to political parties; how to use online resources for management of knowledge, suggestions, discussions and communication; the positive effects of digitalization; the risks political parties can face when using online resources; things political parties should take into account in order to achieve the best result using digital instruments.

Digital technologies provide a large-scale coverage that gives people a sense of engagement and involvement in political processes. Decentralization helps political parties build personal relationships with voters, even without interacting with them in person.

Michael Babiak, Co-founder and CEO of ArrowIQ, a former Director of Marketing Technologies during the Trump campaign, told participants how technologies could help build a successful campaign starting with just one Twitter account.

Digital technologies help parties build effective work in different areas: during elections and voting; finance sourcing and fundraising; general party management; networking and communication; policy development – training participants discussed these topics with Gary Klaukka, Programme Officer in the Political Parties, Participation and Representation Programme, International IDEA.

Sergey Gaidai, Director of Strategic Planning of the Social-Engineering Agency Gaidai.Kom, elaborated on such topics as the worlds included in Ukraine; the main political technology of the Ukrainian political class; the real PR and approaches to carrying it out; the essence of the technology of real action; the events Ukraine needs; and ways to form the discipline of thinking.

Maksym Savanevskyi, Managing Partner of PlusOne Digital Communications Agency, media trainer, founder and Editor-in-Chief of the online periodical Watcher, told the training participants why Ukrainians enter the Internet; which sites are the most visited ones in Ukraine; which social networks should be preferred when working with voters; the specific features of Facebook in Ukraine; how to use social networking algorithms in favor of their party; the specific aspects of email marketing; what should be taken into account in order to work efficiently with video and online broadcasts; how to work with negative matters in social networks; the basic rules of safety on the Internet.