Professional Exploration 3: Sketchnote of Pia Mancini’s Civic Tech Ted Talk

I just started working on formalized sketch noting. It’s a much more in-depth process than I realized, and definitely takes practice. So I took this chance to do a sketch note session for a Ted Talk on civic tech. The talk I chose was Pia Mancini’s “How to Upgrade Democracy for the Internet Era”. If you have a few minutes free, I highly recommend it.

It focuses around us being 21st century citizens, interacting with a governance system developed in the 19th century, that was founded on technology from the 15th century (printing press). The government we have now resulted from information being difficult to share widely, so one person would be elected to get that information and take care of decisions on behalf of the people they represent.

The problem now, is that information can be shared easily and quickly. There is no need for one person to be making decisions on their own with minimal input. Governments and citizens can now collaborate and converse using 21st century means of communication. Pia asserts that the rapid exchange of information means governments have the opportunity to actually represent the people they govern.

Here are my sketch notes of the talk:

This talk is important to my topic of civic tech because it gives a history and grounding of what the problem is and how it developed. In her words, “I don’t have a replacement for what the replacement for current democracy would be”, and I don’t think she has to. It’s helpful just to understand the issue from a high level. Just having that understanding and framing, it will be easier to start working towards a solution.

Personally, I’m in the same boat. I don’t know what the replacement would be, but I do agree that the first thing to do is develop a way for governments and citizens to communicate.