Last week I covered a report looking at some of the motivating factors behind involvement in any civic crowdsourcing project. It looked at what civic engagement is, and in particular what it means for social innovation. The paper outlines four reasons why citizen engagement is so important:
- Engagement enables a better understanding of social needs
- Engagement enables diversity and provides a channel for new ideas
- Engagement can increase the legitimacy of projects and decisions
- Responses to complex challenges will be ineffective without some form of engagement
It then went on to outline the typical involvement at various stages of a project. For instance, during the development stage, citizens typically share their own experiences of how things currently are, and provide ideas for how things could be in future.
All of which is interesting given the growth in civic co-creation and crowdsourcing over the past year or so. This week the IBM Center for Government have added their thoughts to the mix with a new paper on how to engage citizens in co-creation.
The term “co-creation” refers to the development of new public services by citizens in partnership with governments. The authors present four roles that citizens co-creators often assume: explorer, ideator, designer, and diffuser.
- Explorers identify/discover and define emerging and existing problems.
- Ideators conceptualize novel solutions to well-defined problems.
- Designers design and/or develop implementable solutions to well-defined problems.
- Diffusers directly support or facilitate the adoption and diffusion of public service innovations and solutions among well-defined target populations.
The report then goes on to provide detailed case studies and examples of these roles in action. An interesting point of the report is that there are often numerous forces that contribute towards a citizen contributing to government activities, “a shift from that of a passive service beneficiary to that of an active, informed partner or co-creator in public service innovation and problem-solving.“
The report concludes with some tips for government officials wishing to create an engaging co-creation project:
- Fit the approach to the innovation context
- Manage citizen expectations
- Link the internal organization with the external partners
- Embed citizen engagement in the broader context”