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Online consultation experiment 'a success'

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The chief executive of Coventry City Council has welcomed the results of a pioneering three-day online consultation which attracted more than 2,000 comments from a wide range of people in the community.

CovJam, as it was called, was developed by IBM as a way of “crowdsourcing” new ideas. It had staged such consultations for multi-national organisations across the world including Nato, but had never done one for a city.

Those taking part included council staff, police, NHS, community groups, schools, sports organisations, local businesses and organisations.

Over three days this week, they were invited to join online discussions on five key themes considered important to Coventry people.

Chief executive Martin Reeves hailed the results as something which “divided opinion and brought people together”.

“Honest conversations with our citizens have never been more important, and the CovJam has shown us we can do this with a wide range of people when and where it suits them, from their homes, offices, in coffee shops or in the park and at any time of the day or night, rather than when it suits us.

“They can talk about just about anything they want within the broad but Coventry focused key themes, rather than be confined to specific issues we’ve chosen. And - perhaps most important of all - we’ve encouraged our own staff to have frank and brave conversations about the things that count in Coventry with the people who pay their wages.”

Mr Reeves said IBM was using sophisticated software to analyse all the conversations and identify key themes and issues arising from the Jam.

“We’ll be sharing the results widely and looking at ways of developing good ideas. ‘Jammers’ have voted for their favourite low cost ideas and we’ll be aiming to turn these into reality as quickly as possible,” he added.

Read Mr Reeves’ own response to Covjam

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