Approach

Building a new public sphere

Digital technology and social processes that develop on the Internet are the basis of a new public sphere. Our aim is to enable individuals and organizations capable of new collaborative activities and to promote a better democratic contribution to public policy. We bring to our customers and users:

  • innovative Web 2.0 services and easy to use, efficient co-operative Web sites,
  • proven facilitation methods for debates and collaborative work, improved by the introduction of innovative tools.

Our objectives are:

  • to make possible for all citizens, in full respect of their diversity of opinions, to build and express their views in quality debates,
  • to provide decision makers with reliable input on the landscape or arguments, preferences, positions and options, as to enable better public policy or organization/company strategy choices.

Philosophy and methods

Supporting collaborative work and public debate activities require similar organizational and technical know-how. On this basis, we apply methods that combine:

  • An analysis framework for public debate and participatory democracy, which we made explicit in a White paper (French version only).
  • Representation tools and facilitation methods that are specific to the Internet: making possible to identify and understand stakes in a domain, enabling people to construct rationales and arguments, supporting an efficient and cumulative collaborative work.
  • Co-operation engineering which we adapt to each domain: stakeholders, topics of interest, types of data and documents, specific needs in terms of mediation or support to usage.

We are particular committed to the transfer of competence towards our customers (organizers of debate or collaborative processes) and towards end-users.

Free software

The usage and development of free/open source software (F/OSS) is for Sopinspace a philosophic as well as a pragmatic choice. Philosophical, because building the essential tools of expression and exchange in the public sphere calls for a free and cumulative experimentation by people distributed across the planet. Only F/OSS software makes it possible. Pragmatic choice also, for our company to be able to provide rich functional solutions at a reasonable cost. and to guarantee their strategic independence of our customers.

The choice of freedom for software extends to information and contents through:

  • the usage of Creative Commons licences in most of our public projects,
  • using open standards for data representation,
  • respect for the Web standards and protocols (XML, CSS, accessibility).

Our philosophical choices also drive us to produce symmetrical tools: everyone must be able, according to his/her choice to be a producer or a simple user, a debate or collaborative process organiser or a simple participant.