This profile was prepared when Felipe Heusser was elected to the Ashoka Fellowship in 2010.
The New Idea
While working in the public sector in Chile, Felipe witnessed a number of alarming transparency issues and detected a strong correlation between this situation and citizens’ apathy toward politics and democratic rule. Felipe left the government as a result and is now creating a culture of political accountability in Chile. He is doing so by establishing incentives for politicians to make information about their daily work public and by transforming this newly accessible data into easily digestible information that can guide citizens in their civic engagement. Felipe is harnessing the power of Internet technologies to create much needed avenues for communication and engagement between citizens and their elected representatives. He is promoting political literacy in Chilean society and fomenting the demand for transparency and access to information. Access to information, however, is merely the first step in promoting citizenship and transparency. What matters most is how the information is then used to further the common good. The platform Felipe has developed showcases public information in a way that is easy to assimilate for citizens, and leads to informed decision-making, which makes for a more vigorous democratic process. The data is also becoming an important tool for citizen organizations (COs) that seek to influence public policy, as well as for journalists, who finally have access to a reliable and multi-layered source of information.