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Internet Governance 14 July 2015

Local Internet Governance Events Toolkit

Organizing local Internet governance events: An Internet Society guide on how to get started

By Constance Bommelaer de Leusse, Senior Director, Global Internet Policy and Raquel Gatto, Regional Policy Advisor

Introduction

As policy makers and technical experts work to connect the remaining half of the world’s population, the way in which the Internet is governed will likely have an impact on how we use it and how it evolves. This is why it is critical for all stakeholders to be involved in such discussions, and that they take place at all levels, including at the local, national and regional level.

In a survey on Internet governance conducted by the Internet Society in February 2015, that attracted over 800 participants, a majority of participants indicated it should be a priority for the Internet Society (ISOC) to help develop local Internet governance dialogues. The Internet Governance Forum (IGF) is one example of these events.

The purpose of this guide is to offer suggestions regarding the practical organization of local Internet governance events and dialogues (see current map of local IG events https://www.google.com/maps/d/viewer?usp=sharing&mid=zo6gN2CT98Oo.kJZ6furRoIJA ).

This guide draws from the experience of ISOC’s global network of chapters and members, which are often associated to these discussions.

ISOC’s vision is that the more local communities are involved in these discussions, the more vibrant the Internet governance ecosystem will be.

Key features

Successful IG events vary in their form and style, but they all have in common a few features:

Bottom up approach
  • Process of public consultation, an opportunity for all stakeholders to identify and discuss the topics: public call for proposals, e.g. EuroDIG.
  • Suggested tools to survey or crowd source topics: SurveyMonkey, Wufoo, Tricider
  • Remote participation during the event.
  • Internet governance events are designed for public discussion to identify issues and share best practice at all levels.
Inclusive and multistakeholder approach
  • Governments, civil society, business, academic and technical communities.
  • Multistakeholder Steering Group.
  • Content reflecting all communities’ interests: based on local needs, program should not be captured by one stakeholder group.

Multistakeholder Steering Group

  • A multistakeholder Steering Group will benefit the event by bringing multiple views, and helping you reach different audiences in your country.
  • The steering group will both lead the strategic direction and the event and manage the practical steps leading to a successful event: forming a team, logistics, program design, outreach and sponsorship.
  • It is important that members of the Steering Group have a common understanding of the goals for the event, an agreed baseline for the work plan and timeline, eg. the ToR of the African IGF. Some organizers also keep the minutes of preparatory meetings publicly available, e.g. the AprIGF.

Team & Volunteers

Your Team is key for a successful local IG event
  • Recruiting a group of dedicated people.
  • Don’t just invite your friends to be on your team – especially those who know each other. You need a variety of individuals when it comes to your core team.
  • Scale your team appropriately; quality is more important than quantity. Figure out what is the best number based on the kind of event you’re having.
  • Try to recruit an organizing team members with project management experience.
Managing your team
  • Develop a task list and project timeline including responsibilities and deliverables.
  • Schedule regular coordination meetings to make sure activities are on track and next steps are clear.
  • Use online project management and sharing tools, e.g. Basecamp, Dropbox
  • Plan a rehearsal or run-through the day before the event.
The day of the event
  • Confirm details of venue, A/V, volunteers and speakers in the weeks leading up to the event. A good way to remind yourself is to include the confirmation process in your project timeline.
  • Set up onsite communications method that works best for the team. Use a group chat or instant messaging server.
  • Make sure you prepare for unforeseen emergencies and how you will escalate and respond with a clear chain of command for your volunteers.
  • Create an event day checklist; best if combined with an event day script in chronological order using a spreadsheet format.
  • Be flexible at your event. You know that not everything goes according to plan.
  • Last but not least, at the end of the event, thank the team and your contributors for all their hard work.

Venues & Spaces

  • Select a venue that fits the size and needs of your audience and speakers, theme and event type as well as one that works for your budget.
  • Support from universities that already have an auditorium available can reduce event costs and at the same time call for more youth participation.

Agenda & Programme

  • Ideally everyone would have a chance to be part of setting the agenda and shape the issues, through a consultative process, e.g. NetHui NZ: http://2015.nethui.nz/participate
  • Focus on themes that are relevant locally.
  • Bring as many different voices/views as possible.
  • Keep the program simple, avoid addressing too many topics.
  • Make sure to have space in your agenda for questions and dialogues.
  • Plan a wrap-up session at the end to consolidate the key discussions, and eventually propose output documents.

Branding & Promotion

  • There are no specific branding/authorization/licensing requirements.
  • We recommend you follow the practices that you think will work best in your country.
  • Create a website or a landing webpage.
  • Tools to make a placer page for your event and enable registrations, set up your schedule, feature speakers, add coverage, incorporate your social media and have a mobile app online and offline see: http://lanyrd.com/dashboard/ and https://www.eventbrite.com/t/free-online-event-registration
  • Record a brief video to announce the event with highlights of what participants can expect.
  • Create the momentum for your event, use social media and digital outreach.
  • Start using a specific hashtag on Twitter and other social media.
  • Share “teaser” content before the event and ask for comments.
  • Feature your keynote or well-known speakers.

Participants, Speakers & Experience

  • Reach out broadly to ensure geographical, gender and stakeholder diversity.
  • In case of remote participation, make sure virtual participants are taken into account during the sessions. Welcome the online audience, ask them questions, enable interaction between the onsite and remote audience.
  • Offer a feedback form for the participants.
  • Create a communication channel with participants to follow up post-event, start building for next year’s event (e.g. mailing list, Facebook page, etc.).
  • If sessions are being recorded or made available for remote participation, it is common practice to announce this prior to the event. In some countries it may be a requirement to have a disclaimer or image license agreement in place for speakers at your event.

Sponsors & Finance

  • It is useful to have a dedicated person for sponsorship, be prepared to explain the value of the event to a prospective sponsor.
  • You may reach out for financial contributions but also in-kind support contributions: room/venue, coffee breaks, giveaways, etc.
  • Resources for ISOC chapters: http://www.internetsociety.org/who-we-are/chapters/lead/chapter-resources
  • Many events are based on free attendance, but you may charge a small fee to cover costs.
  • Track every income (donation, sponsorship, revenues) and expense (venue, catering, travels) in a clear and organized manner.

Video, Photography & User Generated Content

  • Make your event visual, for attendees but also for those that were unable to make it. E.g. capture testimonials of participants in video or photos.
  • Add the hashtag to all your user-generated content.
  • Monitor social media and harvest the content from the hashtag to be republished or consolidated.
  • Create a story with the user generated content around the hashtag of the event, e.g. you can use Storify to harvest content from links, photos, tweets, Instagram, Facebook and many other social media sharing platforms and collect them into one curated story embed in your website. E.g. : https://storify.com/ruudwjanssen/igf2013-8th-internet-governance-forum-bali-indone
  • Create a channel on Youtube or Vimeo for all video materials, tag them with the hashtag.
  • Create a photo album to aggregate all photos, add the hashtag to the photos.

Content Capturing

  • It is important to keep the documentation of the discussions. Volunteer rapporteurs can consolidate a document capturing the main discussion topics, the consents and dissents, case studies and all relevant information.
  • Ensure transparent and neutral content capturing.
  • Think about the content as written messages but also consider using photographs and video summaries of key outcomes (this can be done by simply using your smartphone).

Post-event

Materials and resources

Useful links
Sample Reports
Event Production documentation from other events
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