Episode Archive

SCP E231 Active Citizens, Community Engagement and Participation in Smart Communities with Katya Petrikevich

Hi #smartcommunity friends. In this episode of the Smart Community Podcast I have a great conversation with Katya Petrikevich, the Co Founder and International Director of the two companies; Participation Factory a consultancy that mainstreams participation and data-driven approaches into governance and process design and Civic Port, a database helping connect cities, towns, and other governing institutions with the Civic Tech companies. We begin our discussion talking about Katya’s background, her passion for human rights, specifically women’s rights and inclusivity and Katya tells us what a Smart Community is to her. Katya then shares with us her insights into the upward trend of participation, community engagement and inclusivity. We discuss Civic Technology as a tool for dialogue and communication with the community before Katya shares with us the projects her two companies are currently working on. We finish our conversation talking about the importance of systematic and continuous participation with communities. Katya tells us about the ‘City Coordinators of Prague’ project and finally we discuss the growth of the emerging trends of ‘living data’, participation and Civic Tech. As always, we hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it. 

Listen here: 

What we cover in this episode: 

  • Katya’s background in political science and human rights and her current work while living in the Czech Republic 
  • How her passion for women’s rights, the LGBTQ community and inclusion stems from her background 
  • What a Smart Community is to Katya 
  • The upward trend of public participation, community engagement and inclusivity 
  • How more governments are using Civic Tech as a tool for dialogue and communication with the community
  • Katya’s work with her two companies, Participation Factory and Civic Port 
  • How the right tools and right guidance facilitates good dialogue 
  • The importance of trust and planned, systematic and continuous participation to create Smart Communities 
  • The threefold process to create a healthier community with a participation approach
  • The ‘City Coordinators of Prague’ project and what it involves 
  • The emerging trends of ‘living data’, participation and Civic Tech in local government and beyond


“If we’re coming back to this whole idea of the Smart City, as I said, it’s about understanding the needs and the pain points of the people. And participation helps you to do that. And those needs change, they evolve, and they are never static. So you need to have this process as continuous as possible.” 

“So even at the age of 10, people already know what they want. And if you give them the right tools, if you guide them through the process, and you help them build the capacity there, they produce incredible outcomes. They produce ideas that are just mind blowing and amazing benefits. Not just them, but the community, whatever the community is a school or the city.”

“So doing bad participation is worse in a way than not doing participation at all. Because as soon as you launch the participation, as soon as you invite people to contribute, you are building a certain expectation, you’re starting to build a relationship of trust. And once you break it, it’s really hard to rebuild it. So any participation has to be systematic, it has to be really well thought through.”

“And at the end of the day, from our experience, it’s about being able to communicate the value so that people understand that their inconvenience and discomfort now is fine, because they’re going to get the great benefits afterwards.”

“And right now we see an interest in like, okay, we have this amazing tool. How do we use it more? How do we get more value? And I think the intensity of use of civic tech is just going to continue to grow.”

“So we do need to create this knowledge base of, showing that it’s not only for big, shiny, expensive communities. It’s for anyone, and I think this is where we’re going to be moving away from all of this as a very elitist, very like crème de la crème type of thing, but it’s really for anyone and everyone.”


Participation Factory – https://www.participationfactory.com/ 

Civic Port – https://www.civicport.com/ 


Find the full show notes at: www.mysmart.community 

Connect with Katya via LinkedIn or email katya@participationfactory.com 

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community  

Connect with My Smart Community via LinkedIn or Twitter and watch on YouTube
The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Perk Digital


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