Indicators management platform – IOTA

¿How was IOTA born?

IOTA (Greek letter or the acronym for “Indicators of transparency and accountability”, is an application that allow the manipulation of indicators, to supply a way to share data so it can be visualized, compared and reused, through open technology standards.

It appeared out of the need of  the Sustainable Cities Program(SCP) – an initiative of Rede Nossa São Paulo, Rede Social Brasileira por Cidades Justas e Sustentáveis and of Instituto Ethos–  to have an online platform that would allow them to visualize and manage their 100 basic indicators. This program started in 2011 and has been supported from its beginning by Fundación Avina.

Sustainable Cities Program

Texts extracted from “User’s guide of systems indicators for observatory construction” which are under license CC-BY-SA.

The Sustainable Cities Program (SCP) proposes to raise social, economic, political, and cultural indicators of cities as a way to elaborate a detailed diagnosis, which improves the knowledge of public administrators about the reality of the municipalities, as well as to identify priorities for management and for constructing objectives of their target plan. The SCP is made up of 12 axis topics, with guidelines about public policy related to a bank of good practices and gathers 100 basic indicators and more than 300 general indicators.

The indicators are the baseline to begin to systematize information and, at a second moment, for the consistent planning of government-process actions fundamental for the inclusion of relevant topics in public government agendas.

The SCP encourages the creation of Municipal observatories, by the city hall as well as by movements, and the members of the Brazilian Sustainable Cities Network. An observatory fulfills a double function: it is the source of information for planning, management and decision making for public administration and transparency, control and supervision for all of society.

The project supported by the Accelerator Fund seeks to expand IOTA beyond the Sustainable Cities Program and help it become the main platform in Latin America (and possibly the world) for indicator management. To reach this objective, the software and documentation will be available in English, Spanish and Portuguese.

Theory of change of the project

Next we are detailing the theory of change of the project supported by the fund. Our intention to present it in its entirety is to cause those who read it to reflect about its content, which we consider, is the most important core of this project. Without correct articulation of the vision of success, previous conditions, indicators, interventions and assumptions, we believe projects tend to fail or reduce their impact.

Vision of success:

May the strategic use of information through the management of indicators contribute to the substantial betterment of the quality of the effect of public policy in 20 social movements in 4 countries of Latin America, with the potential to improve the quality of life of millions of Latin Americans.

Previous conditions Indicators Interventions  


1. Social movements can make use of an online tool for the management of quality of life follow up indicators, which allow to see information, evaluate and make public policy proposals which affect life in cities. 1) Platform launched in Portuguese and Spanish (versions 2.1 to 2.5).

2) Raising of enough funds for the maintenance of the platform for 1 year.

3) 1 Documentation (code, manuals and installation tutorials of the platform) complete in Spanish and Portuguese to replicate the platform

4) Online seminars and tutorials in Spanish and Portuguese

Launching of versions of the platform

Creation and support of the pages of all the social movements interested in using the platform

Training the movements in the use of the platform.

Social movements are interested in adopting the platform.


Social movements have the minimum required human resources to implement the platform.

2. Social movements use in an intelligent and strategic way the information available in the platform, acquiring the ability to plan in a more effective manner their actions that impact public policy. 5) 8 signed alliances with social movements (being a total of 4 cities with more than 1 million citizens).

6) 20 social movements adopt the platform in 4 countries

7) 500 datasets are uploaded to the platform

Maintenance and improvements of the platform.

Support to the actions of user scalability.

Training in the implementation of the platform (in particular data upload) and generating visualizations.

Maintenance and improvements of the platform.

Support to the actions of user scalability.

Social movements have a dialogue with the local government to get information.


There is data available to feed the platform in a fast and efficient way.

3. Movements develop in a agile way and with greater quality more and better actions that influence based on information that wasn’t available to them before. 8) 4 campaigns were developed from the information generated by the platform

9) 12 news about the sustainable cities program or the platform in traditional media

10) 8 blog posts linked to the platform or the sustainable cities program

11)  100.000 people reached (visitors, users and social networks)



Maintenance and improvements of the platform.


Support to the actions of user scalability.




Higher quality information is a necessary condition for higher quality impact actions.

4. Social movements change the practices of governments in the implementation of public policy. 12) 2 campaigns affect public policy and improve the lives of Latin American citizens Advocacy campaigns based on better information can provoke reactions and changes in governments.