About the World e-Parliament Conference

The Inter-Parliamentary Union (IPU) World E-Parliament conference took place on December 3-5, 2018 bringing together over 250 parliamentarians and staff members from 64 countries. This year’s edition was focused on innovation and, more specifically, aimed at responding to key questions: how can technology supports innovation in the transformation of parliamentary processes; how it can act as a catalyst for modernization, culture change and for increasing transparency and enhancing representation. The Inter-Parliamentary Union is an organization made up of national parliaments from around the world, which aims to protect and build global democracy through political dialogue and concrete action.

The programme of the event was designed around panel discussions on technology related issues such as 'Artificial Intelligence' In Legislative Document Management and Embracing Cyber Resilience Through The Cloud. There were also a few sessions dedicated to collaboration with the civil society, such as Listening and Responding to Citizen Demands.


Abir Oreibi, CEO of Lift, was invited to join a panel dedicated to identifying new ways of working with civil society. She shared her thoughts on how digitalization has enabled new actors among civil society to emerge and how it opened new opportunities and channels to immensely enhance the dialogue between governments, the business sector , and civil society. Whether through physical events, such as hackathons or via online platforms, today there are many ways for MPs to meaningfully connect and engage with citizens. It was a great opportunity to share some of the past projects done by Lift such as Data Canvas or Lift sous la Coupole, highlighting the powers of co-creation and open innovation as examples of new formats to engage with civil society.

To conclude her talk, Abir shared examples of hackathons involving parliaments and civil society, highlighting the opportunities that arose from the engagement with a broader base among civil society, such as the youth.

The speaker panel included Dan Barrett, Head of Data and Search of the UK Parliamentary Digital Service, who presented the parliament open data platform that allows any citizen to search and access dataset through an interactive API explorer. Dan mentioned a finding from the World e-Parliament Report 2018 that found that “knowledge of how Parliaments work is seen as the biggest barrier to greater citizen engagement”. Offering an online access to information about MPs and their work through the above-mentioned platform is a way to respond to such concern.

After the conference sessions, Lift organized a co-creation workshop on how to organize a hackathon in order to engage civil society. We welcomed parliamentarians from Canada, Israel, Roumania, Ghana, as well as Trinidad & Tobago. The goal of the workshop was to go through the steps on how to design a hackathon and identify the key ingredients for a successful experience in engaging local stakeholders during a very hands-on workshop.

The participants worked in two groups. The groups identified potential hackathon topics and challenges to be addressed in a local or global context. After identifying the right stakeholders and partners to involve in their hackathon, the participants designed a poster to promote their hackathon and presented them to the other group.

We supported them during the whole journey by facilitating the discussions and challenging their ideas. It was a fantastic experience and we enjoyed this highly interactive workshop.