Rousseau is a tailored suit that is designed and sewn taking into account the needs of the members: all the features of the platform are based on the idea that the citizen is the final beneficiary of a political service of which he is also the author. For this reason Rousseau deeply believes in the involvement and participation of the member not only in the utilization of the platform but also in a preliminary phase of its design and definition. Having this philosophy as a polar star, therefore, there are several digital and non digital initiatives that Rousseau organizes periodically to allow users to have their say and express their ideas on the best ways for the evolution of the platform.
To involve members in an innovative participatory design path of the Rousseau Platform. This is the goal of "Level UP", periodical digital appointments through which members are called to participate in the design and development activities of the new functions, being involved on the occasion of important changes in the way they participate. The LEVEL UPs are a recurrent opportunity to discover Rousseau new features in preview mode and become beta testers of the new functions in order to suggest changes, updates and new ways of interaction between members.
The "beta tester" subscribers have the opportunity to explore in preview the features that have not yet been released to all subscribers and their role is to explore the news, test them, report any kind of malfunctioning or send feedbacks and suggestions useful to improve and stabilize the final version that will be released later to the general public. The role of beta testers is also recognised on their profiles.
Already for the release of the new Rousseau platform in December 2019, subscribers were involved in a long and participated Beta Testing process. Launched during the Italia 5 Stelle meeting, the beta testing phase involved 2142 subscribers who contributed with over 1850 comments, suggestions and observations, making the platform the tool of great involvement it is today.
In July 2020 it was released a new version of the Sharing function thanks to the collaboration of 941 beta testers who had the opportunity to try out the new function in advance and send feedbacks to report problems or propose improvements and new features. With this Level Up, the new Sharing allows all citizens, including non-members, to view the acts uploaded by representatives, and also it allows national elected to share their acts, gives members the opportunity to leave comments on uploaded documents and to save the acts they consider most interesting among their favourites.
During the Rousseau Village - The Olympics of Ideas on 25 July 2020, members were able to attend the event "Level Up - Sistema Meriti: come un movimento sceglie una classe politica". This event was the first step in a process in which members will be consulted from December 2020 onwards to define the specifics of the new Sistema Meriti that will be used to select candidates to take part in electoral contests. The process is part of Rousseau's 2020/2021 plan which, in a joint way with members, aims to find concrete and shared answers to their needs: to create territorial and thematic digital spaces that can be integrated with physical spaces in order to organise themselves and work better, to reward commitment and the creation of value for the community, to have dedicated tools to promote grassroots participation, participatory democracy and active citizenship, and to decentralise decision-making by giving power and greater autonomy to the territories.
The "Grassroots meets Rousseau" tour aims to respond to the needs that activists have expressed over the years: to guarantee greater participation through collective intelligence tools, to build real territorial and thematic digital headquarters, to form recognised local groups to involve and welcome citizens interested in the proposed initiatives and projects.
Through collaborative design activities and using innovative tools of democratic participation, activists are therefore able to design their own thematic and territorial digital sites from the bottom up, based on their own needs.
The Rousseau project with "Rousseau Open Engineering" is increasingly opening up to programmers, security experts, graphic designers and UX/UI designers to build the voting mobile application Rousseau X, developed in crowdsourcing mode both for Android and iOS and released the 31st December 2020, after a period of beta testing that involved thousands of people.
The app has been developed from the beginning in the name of open innovation model and transparency, as in Rousseau’s style. The contributors who joined the project have been coordinated by Silicon Valley engineer Emanuel Mazzilli through a Slack channel and a public GitHub repository.
Having access from commit 0 they were able to comment, open issues, take charge of tasks and propose pull requests. With "Rousseau Open Engineering" it has been possible to actively participate in writing Rousseau code and it will be possible even in future to keep improving the work already done. Rousseau is opening up and aims to gather the best energies present and build the largest Direct Democracy in the world.