Data analyst - Internship

Data analyst - Internship

Are you looking for a meaningful work experience that will have an impact on our democratic system? The Open Source Politics team welcomes you for a concrete internship or work-study contract, in contact with pioneering approaches to citizen participation.

Presentation of the company

Open Source Politics is one of the French leaders in the growing civic tech sector. For more than five years, we have been supporting more than eighty institutions and major private players in their digital consultations and participatory budgets, thanks to Decidim(2nd prize for the most innovative open source project from the European Commission), the large-scale open source platform for citizen participation used in some twenty countries.

As a true ecosystem company, we defend with our partners in France and abroad a certain vision of digital participatory democracy based on transparency, collaboration, respect for privacy and accessibility.

If you are looking for a first Tech for Good experience, you have come to the right place!

Description of the mission

As part of a fast-growing team of 25 people and in close contact with our technical team of 10 people, you will join our data team with the mission of enhancing the value of citizen participation data. Thanks to the open-source software Metabase, you will help local authorities to better understand the participation on their Decidim platform.

You will be required to :

  • Develop functional expertise on the Metabase business intelligence software;
  • Set up dashboards to monitor citizen participation by working on several data sources (web traffic, emailing, Decidim database);
  • Writing and adapting SQL queries to create the indicators that will be imported into the dashboards;
  • Imagine the most relevant visualization formats for the different indicators;
  • Develop scripts for automating the import of data in TDD to facilitate communication between our various data sources and Metabase;
  • Participate in the improvement of data visualization and find relevant indicators according to customer needs;

Profile required

Qualities required

  • You have a first experience in data analysis / business intelligence or you wish to acquire and develop it;
  • You know how to work in an agile method with code management tools such as Github;
  • You want to give meaning to your work by joining a project that is part of the Tech for Good movement, which promotes free software and encourages democratic renewal;
  • Teamwork is for you. Communicating with others about your difficulties and ideas is part of the game;
  • You are curious and want to discover new tools and the latest technologies concerning Business Intelligence;
  • You are fluent in English.

The technical stack

  • Python 3: good command of the language (an overview of projects done in class/personal 😍 )
  • SQL: good command of the language
  • Linux / UNIX: knowledge of Bash
  • Git and GitHub
  • ... whatever you want!

Form of contract and remuneration

  • Contract: end-of-study internship or sandwich course
  • Duration: 3 to 6 months
  • Availability: September 2021
  • Remuneration: legal + 50% of the transport ticket 
  • Possibility of employment or assignments at the end of the contract
  • Premises: Wacano Incubator, 14 rue Soleillet, Paris 20ème. Possibility of teleworking depending on geographical location.

Send your application (CV + introduction email) to

Digital inclusion - an important issue for participation

Digital inclusion - an important issue for participation

In a context of institutional mistrust, many hopes are pinned on digital technology. Civic tech aims to strengthen citizen engagement and participation. However, 13 million French men and women have difficulties with the use of the Internet. This context could quickly slow down the development of civic tech. How can we guarantee the inclusion of remote audiences in the digital tools for citizen participation? This paradox was at the heart of the round table discussion "Digital inclusion - an oversight of participation" during the National Meetings on Participation in Mulhouse.

Digital and citizen participation

Moderated by David Prothais, administrator of theInstitut de la Concertation et de la Participation Citoyenne, the debate brought together :

  • Emma Ghariani- Co-director of La Mednum
  • Virgile Deville - Product Director, Co-founder ofOpen Source Politics
  • Anne-Claire Dubreuil - Digital Transformation Project Director at Sicoval

The speakers stressed the importance of associating digital mediation and citizen participation in order to reduce inequalities in access to digital technology. Indeed, online participation is meant to be free and open, but it must be accessible to as many people as possible. However, it should be noted that at present, civic tech is still far from reaching the general public and that its participants have fairly homogeneous sociological profiles. In addition, there are sociological biases that may be introduced directly into the computer code by the developers. In the IT development sector, the majority of people are still men with a high level of education and from privileged social classes. Civic tech must therefore pay close attention to this phenomenon. Otherwise, the models developed will be non-inclusive and de facto non-democratic.

Digital inclusion at the heart of the Decidim and Open Source Politics project

Since its inception, Open Source Politics has placed great importance on including a wide audience in its missions. With this in mind, our teams strive to simplify the user experience and improve the accessibility of the platform. Open Source Politics also strives to adapt the communication of its platforms to different audiences. For our partners, we produce Easy to Read (FAL) content for users.

A represented user session

It should also be noted that Decidim is compliant with the Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) standard. The French legislator has aligned itself with the European directives for the Référentiel général d'accessibilité pour les administrations (RGAA ). Accessibility to the platform is given the utmost attention by the Decidim community.

Decidim is a project that advocates for the creation of inclusive digital spaces. Features have been designed with this in mind. For example, the represented users allow an administrator to register a contribution "as" in order to make the contributions of people who are far from digital visible on the platform.

In order to fight against the gender bias introduced directly into the code, the Decidim association has set up the DecidmFemDev Program which grants scholarships to women and non-binary people wishing to contribute to the development of Decidim.

The example of Emmaus Solidarity

The Decidim instance of Emmäus Solidarity

As an example, Open Source Politics helped EMMAÜS Solidarité to implement an internal consultation to determine the association's strategic orientations. The platform has 284 subscribers, 74 proposals and 12 meetings. In addition, EMMAUS Solidarity also launched two surveys: one for employees, volunteers and members, and one for the people it supports. In this spirit, the organisers used the " Represented User " feature during the meetings with supported persons. Our consultants participated in several of these meetings to assist in person the remote audiences who wished to contribute. The results provided a diverse input reflecting the different stakeholders of Emmäus and contributed to the development of the association's strategy for the period 2020-2025.

Digital inclusion, an eco-system of actors

10% of the French population expresses difficulties with the Internet, that's a lot!

Emma Ghariani, Co-director of the Mednum

Yes, it is! And this is why we at Open Source Politics have been members of La MedNum for several years, an SCIC in which the State is also a shareholder and which brings together inclusion professionals by co-organising Numérique en Commun[s] every year. Through our contact with this ecosystem, we learn a lot and we keep abreast of the services that are developing and that can provide solutions.

For its part, the public authorities are increasingly committed to digital inclusion. Public funds have increased tenfold in recent years, from a few hundred thousand euros to 250 million, making digital inclusion a social issue to which a large-scale response must be provided. Thanks to this, new projects are emerging and the inclusion ecosystem is developing. In particular, we can mention the #APTIC digital passes which allow the financing of training in thousands of third places in France and Aidants Connect, a State startup launched to assist people in difficulty with their online procedures. A rapid intervention kit contains numerous documents and aids to facilitate the support of people who are far from computers by digital mediation professionals.

Open Source Politics is proud to be part of this movement for an open and inclusive democracy.

Decidim is 4 years old 🎂

Decidim is 4 years old 🎂

The Open Source Politics team wishes Decidim a happy birthday! It's impressive how far this community has come in such a short time. Let's take a look back at our meeting with this unusual digital community.

Decidim is ...

The Decidim ecosystem

Decidim is much more than a code repository on Github, let's go into details:

  • Decidim is a technopolitical project to deepen and transform participatory democracy through the design and implementation of a digital platform.
  • Decidim is a project based on the principles of equality, transparency, traceability and data integrity, with ethics at the heart of its approach. If you haven't already done so, read the social contract.
  • Decidim provides the democratic guarantees that are essential to any #civictech project thanks to the main principles that are at the basis of its architecture
    • 1️⃣ Open to collaboration
    • 2️⃣ Transparency, traceability, integrity
    • 3️⃣ Democratic quality guarantees
    • 4️⃣ Privacy and Security
  • Decidim is a democratically governed digital commons and an international network:

Decidim and Open Source Politics, the meeting

Decidim is fully in line with the objectives and values that Open Source Politics set itself when it was created in 2016. When Virgile Deville, our product manager, first heard about it at a Smart City conference organised by the city of Lyon and Le Monde, it was immediately obvious.

The use case on which the software was launched 4 years ago was the final convincing factor. Decidim was indeed launched to serve the co-construction of the municipal action plan of the city of Barcelona which would be used for the entire mandate. More than 40,000 citizens participated in this massive process. This participatory approach remains one of the most striking democratic innovations in the civic tech sector.

Adoption by our team

Shortly afterwards we decided to concentrate all our efforts on Decidim in :

Our team is responsible for almost a third of the instances in production of Decidim.

A winning bet

Today we are happy to see that Decidim is becoming the standard for the implementation of digital participatory processes in France, Europe and internationally. It is used by institutions of all sizes, from local authorities to the European Commission, including the Senate and theNational Assembly.

Digital Parliaments: adapting democratic institutions to the realities of the 21st century

Digital Parliaments: adapting democratic institutions to the realities of the 21st century

The coronavirus crisis should be a catalyst for institutionalising the use of digital tools in parliament

This article is a translation by Open Source Politics of the article published on the Medium "Participo", an OECD publication. To read the original article by Paula Forteza, click here.

Since the beginning of the coronavirus crisis, legislative processes have stalled due to physical distance. Many legislators are now testing technologies that will allow their democratic institutions to meet, deliberate and vote despite these restrictive measures. We need to use this momentum to be ambitious in terms of participatory and collaborative legislative processes. How can we do this? By institutionalising the use of digital tools in Parliament with the necessary security and privacy safeguards.

Digital technologies to ensure democratic continuity during the crisis

The National Assembly has introduced temporary solutions to preserve parliamentary debate by using video conferencing applications for committee deliberations. However, legislative voting is still done in person and is only possible for a very limited number of members. There are both historical and technical reasons for keeping the institutions functioning mainly physically: sincerity of voting, security, tradition, etc.

Our parliament is lagging behind in modernising its processes, unlike, for example, the parliaments ofLatin America, which are pioneers in this field. In addition to using video conferencing applications, the parliaments of Brazil, Chile and Ecuador have developed their own online platforms and solutions for recording attendance, verifying quorum and voting. In at least six other South American countries - Argentina, Colombia, Costa Rica, Honduras, Jamaica and Mexico - legislative bodies have begun to experiment with virtual participation, applying it to non-decision-making spaces such as working groups or committee meetings. In Europe, countries such as the United Kingdom andSpain are moving faster than we are. We should follow these examples.

In France, one of the most common arguments against the digitisation of parliament is that it will weaken the ceremonial aspect of parliamentary deliberation. It is argued that digitisation could threaten the symbolic duties of MPs and their political weight vis-à-vis other branches of power, including the executive. Another reason may be the lack of digital literacy and skills in the French parliament. A recent study showed that only 5.37% of MPs considered themselves digital experts, 10.23% as connoisseurs and 12.65% as enthusiasts.

In order to achieve a digital parliament, technical profiles and suitable equipment should also be recruited in both chambers. As regards concerns at the political level, the doctrine needs to change. Digital parliaments may be less solemn than traditional procedures, but this horizontality is beneficial and can bring elected representatives closer to their citizens.

Data protection, security and accessibility are the conditions for a digital parliament

I am not arguing for a blind race to digitalisation: of course, there are certain limits to the introduction of digital tools in institutional decision-making. For example, Zoom has been heavily criticised for unclear data protection policies, lack of security and personal data breaches.

When considering remote voting, several security issues arise, such as fraud. The use of digital tools in Parliament facesother challenges, such as uneven internet bandwidth, technical problems (bad sound, connection problems, etc.), and uneven digital literacy and skills. However, this does not mean that we should stop modernising legislative bodies. On the contrary, we should address and solve those problems that have been made more visible through physical removal measures.

In addition to the technical challenges, the use of digital tools requires high standards of data privacy, cybersecurity and decentralisation. Firstly, by implementing the EU General Data Protection Regulation, as well as stronger safeguards against government surveillance and misuse of personal data.

In addition, free and open source web solutions should be the norm for digital tools in both institutions and public administrations. For example, decentralised peer-to-peer video conferencing applications such as Jitsi or Big Blue Button can be an excellent alternative to Zoom or Google Meet.

More broadly, civic tech can help us continue citizen deliberation in times of physical distance, provided it is open, ethical and meets a real need. As an example, I have used the Decidim platform on several occasions to establish a dialogue with and between citizens. During the COVID-19 crisis, together with 65 other MEPs, I launched the platform ' The day after', where citizens could propose, deliberate and discuss their own ideas. where citizens could propose, deliberate and vote on ideas to collectively decide on the direction to take after the crisis.

Digital technologies can support more resilient, innovative and vibrant democracies

The containment measures have shown the urgency of adapting our democratic institutions and processes to ensure their continuity, even in times of crisis. Today, almost 79% of French people surveyed have a negative feeling towards politics. Beyond the response to the emergency, such technical - and cultural - developments could contribute to strengthening citizens' confidence in elected officials and institutions by promoting participation, transparency and accountability.

There are a myriad of examples, tools and methods to support the modernisation and openness of our parliaments, for example by publishing parliamentarians' agendas and expenses, ensuring transparency of lobbying in parliament, or involving citizens in law-making.

Finally, the underlying question is not whether we need more or less digital tools in our institutions. It is about taking into account the major transformation of our society, the digital revolution, and adapting our political culture to it. We can use today's challenges to build a resilient, innovative and truly vibrant democracy. Although this discussion is about the use of digital tools, the ultimate goal is to transform and adapt our institutions to the needs and realities of the 21st century.

Paula Forteza, born on 8 August 1986 in Paris, is a French politician. She has been a Member of Parliament since June 2017, representing French citizens from Latin America and the Caribbean. She has spent more than 20 years of her life in Latin America. After several experiences in the government of the city of Buenos Aires, in the French administration, at Etalab, or in entrepreneurship, she wishes to place digital, transparency and citizen participation at the heart of the political debate in France.

A look back at Decidim Fest 2019: the annual event of the Decidim community

A look back at Decidim Fest 2019: the annual event of the Decidim community

Article written with the collaboration of Nicholas Saul, PhD student at theSciences Po Paris Law School who also attended the Decidim Fest.

The aim of the DecidimFest is to bring together the different actors (researchers, companies, associations, etc.) of the Decidim community internationally, to present the latest advances of the Decidim project and to get inspired by other communities and free software with similar missions. Every year, theOpen Source Politics (OSP)team is invited to present its use cases and this is an opportunity for us to strengthen our relationships with our Spanish and international partners.

In this article you will find a summary of what was presented during these three days.

Looking to the future: the Roadmap 2023

Before the official start of the Decidim Fest, we had the opportunity to attend the General Assembly of the Decidim Association, to take stock of what had been achieved so far and the roadmap for the coming years.

Keyfacts :
The Decidim association now has legal status and has registered its brand. In addition, an agreement between Localret (the Catalan IT services purchasing office) and the city of Barcelona has been signed to promote the Decidim platform over the next four years. Finally, it is now possible to become a member of the association for an annual fee of 40 euros(click here for more information).

One of the challenges of the next four years is to find different ways of financing to ensure financial stability. The association wishes to increase its staff in order to ensure the maintenance of the core technology, to deepen the documentation (technical, functional, use cases), to disseminate it to as many people as possible and to promote the democratic and ethical guarantees of the project. The general assembly ended with a presentation of the feedback on the Decidim Day organised by OSP on 12 September 2019 with more than 150 participants and 30 speakers with the overall objective of making Decidim known in France and thinking about the future of the digital commons. For more information, see here

Day 1: Building an accessible infrastructure

The day was introduced by the new head of participation of the city of Barcelona (Marc Serra). He announced the implementation of a large-scale participatory budget and a training plan in Decidim for the most digitally illiterate to ensure better inclusion in the technopolitical tools.

Other interventions focused on key issues of digital governance: how to provide a direct response to the impact of the web giants on democracy, how to ensure the democratisation of technology and society, or how to resolve the conflict between the notion of privacy and the contemporary demand for constant connection.

Presentations throughout the day illustrated how the decentralised, free and open source model that respects the personal data and anonymity of participants enables rapid distribution of data and governance in multiple contexts.

Arnau Monterde, Decidim project coordinator for the city of Barcelona, presented the short-term roadmap for the software. Many improvements will be made to the existing system in order to further enhance the quality, robustness and usability of Decidim for users and administrators. In the longer term, the Decidim community will continue to explore the security of votes thanks to the blockchain (note that very solid prototypes have already been produced during the Decode project), the use of ethical artificial intelligence in the service of participatory democracy, the federation of Decidim instances, etc. We also note the intervention of Ben Cerveney, from the Public Code Foundation, whose objective is to accompany public institutions in the production and adoption of digital commons. His presentation highlighted the extent to which the city represents an ideal level for producing "public code". Decidim is an excellent example of this vision as it was initiated by the city of Barcelona and has implemented most of the good practices recommended by the Public Code Foundation, namely

Good practice Public Code FoundationWhat Decidim is doing
Animating a community around the projectThe Decidim Association
The Meta Decidimcommunity
The Decidim Fest, Decidim Day etc.

Have a dedicated product management team
Decidim Product Team
Ensure code quality and standards complianceCoverage of the entire application by unit tests
User support and sharing of best practicesMeta Decidim, French-speaking users' club

Two quotations stand out:

"Software is merging with policy that's why public institutions need technological sovereignty

Decidim Fest 2019, Ben Cerveney Public Code Foundation

"Software is transitioning from technology to infrastructure, cities have a civic responsibility to build public code bases

Decidim Fest 2019, Ben Cerveney Public Code Foundation

The afternoon was marked for OSP by the intervention of Virgile Deville in the panel how to improve participatory budgets and processes in practice? With the example of the first five institutions that renewed the experience for a second edition, Virgile illustrated how OSP implemented technical improvements on the user experience that allowed a significant increase in participation during the project voting phases.

Virgile Deville at Decidim Fest
Virgile Deville at Decidim Fest

We were delighted to see that Paula Forteza came to present different use cases of Decidim in France. She presented the use of Decidim by the Citizen's Climate Convention, but also her site used to collect citizen questions to ask the Government at the National Assembly, and her involvement in the Vivons Paris campaign where Decidim is used to draw citizen candidates for the municipal elections. Its presence as a pioneer in civic tech, open data and government transparency is for us a strong signal that Decidim is now widely identified in France as a reference tool for conducting consultation processes.

Paula Forteza at Decidim Fest
Paula Forteza at Decidim Fest

Day 2: Case studies and research, Decidim results in the field

On the second day, the presentations focused on successful case studies, but also on the presentation of numerous scientific studies on the use of digital tools for governance and participation in public and private bodies.

One of the most striking concrete cases was that of the participatory budget of the city of Helsinki, presented by Katja Henttonen, who has been using Decidim for 2 years. Many initiatives have been taken, including the establishment of a network of local ambassadors and an additional step to collaboratively deepen proposals. TheHelsinki Decidim instance is now the one with the most users in the world (over 70k users).

The City of Helsinki presented the user research work carried out by the city to simplify the user experience as much as possible. Numerous developments were carried out by the City of Helsinki and given back to the community as open source. It was on this occasion thatOSP collaborated on a module simplifying the user experience for the voting phase. The participatory budget has attracted 40,000 new users and now 10% (59,000 users) of the population is registered!

The other highlight of the morning was a round table discussion on the phenomenon of surveillance capitalism and its alternatives with Mara Balestrini, Antonio Calleja and Liliana Arroyo Mollner.

What to remember : 

  • The example of the @decodeproject, which has carried out a pilot using Decidim with a prototype of an electronic signature on the blockchain where the user's data is stored in a digital wallet under his control. It is this type of technology that allows us to envisage identity in a decentralised way that is targeted by the government's decision that we mention in our introduction.
  • The recent study "My data my rules, form data extractivism to digital empowerment" shows that other economic models are possible where data is seen as common, where users control their data.
  • The "Smart Citizen Kit" is a very easy to install #opensource sensor so that any citizen can become a data producer and make their own measurements in order to challenge public authorities or companies.

The second part of the afternoon was punctuated by the presentation of the latest results from different researchers in the Decidim community. Maite Lopez Sanchez from theUniversitat Autonoma de Barcelona, did a remarkable job on how to use artificial intelligence in Decidim participatory processes. Using optimisation algorithms, she and her team have shown that we can significantly improve the way we choose the winning projects in a participatory budget. Instead of simply choosing the winning projects in descending order of votes, this research team used an algorithm that selects projects according to two variables: maximising the use of the budget and the number of supporters represented by the selection. The results are impressive: +30% of budget used, +70% of supporters represented. Well aware of the mistrust that citizens may have towards algorithms, Maite insisted on the importance of using open source algorithms and of developing educational material explaining how these algorithms work.

Pablo Aragon presented a comparative study of the Madrid and Barcelona petition platforms. He demonstrated how trivial technical choices have important political consequences. The case study presented explained how putting the most recent petitions before the others on Decide Madrid biased their capacity to gather enough support, which is why on Decidim the lists of proposals and initiatives are displayed randomly.

Xabier Barrandarian concluded this edition of the Decidim Fest with a presentation of the Decidim White Paper, which is intended to be collaborative and whose purpose is to give a context to this technopolitical project, to explain the choices of technical and functional architecture and to envisage how the advent of the decentralised technopolitical network democratises society.

A final word

Once again, Decidim Fest was able to bring together a diversity of actors (social, economic, scientific and political), which is essential for any project dealing with democracy. We take as a sign of maturity the presence of many international actors: the Mozilla Foundation, Public Code Foundation, Better NYC, the MP Paula Forteza, the cities of Mexico and Helsinki. We are pleased to see that the Catalan institutions (the city of Barcelona, Localret, the Generalitat de Catalunya) that initiated and spearheaded the project plan to continue investing heavily in Decidim. Finally, the first results of the different research projects have been promising and it is an incomparable asset to have a scientific community that stands back from the impact of Decidim on society.

We cannot help but conclude by mentioning the Spanish government's decision to ban decentralised identity technologies such as Decode Project, which gives users total control over their data, and the Catalan court's decision to declare the legal framework for citizen participation, one of the most advanced in the world, null and void.

Link to Pablo Aragon's tweet

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