Local governments are facing new realities. Citizens' trust in government has declined, and financial constraints do not allow local governments to deliver all of the services their communities would like. In response, citizens are changing as well. Increasingly, local residents and organizations are seizing opportunities to engage with their communities in their own ways by creating platforms that bypass government. Read More.
Technology-Enabled Participatory Platforms for Civic Engagement:
The Case of US Cities
Technology-enabled participatory platforms are proving to be valuable canvases for engaging citizens in solving public good challenges. Citizens are playing a more active role by either designing platforms themselves or participating on platforms created by public agencies. Unfortunately, our theoretical knowledge about the nature of these platforms is limited. In this paper, we take the first steps towards understanding technology-enabled participatory platforms. Through an exploratory analysis, following the spirit of a grounded theoretic methodology, we examined technology-enabled participatory platforms in the 25 most populated cities in the US. We deduce four main archetypes – citizen centric and citizen data, citizen centric and government data, government centric and citizen data, and government centric and citizen developed solutions of technology-enabled participatory platforms. We describe the intricacies of how collective intelligence is leveraged on these platforms. Implications for local government managers and urban planners are discussed. We hypothesize how the future of these platforms might evolve in the not so distant future.
This is our second paper in the Journal of Urban Technology, to read our first paper, please click here.
Hybrid Challenge Platforms to Promote Innovation
To be practical and sustainable tools for innovation, the coming generation of community-engagement and crowd-sourcing platforms need to improve the user experience of participants, while simultaneously providing a reliable mechanism for synthesizing participants' contributions into usable problem-solving outputs. In the present project, a multi-disciplinary research team will explore how community participation spreads, the effects of feedback on participation, and the changes in community and collaboration structure over time. Empirically, the project lays out three research questions: 1) characteristics of participatory government platforms, 2) behavioral and system challenges over time, and 3) the impact of managerial and design interventions on individual behaviors and network structure.
The specific platform for this research is "10,000 Solutions", a many-to-many system managed by Arizona State University that empowers both individuals and organizations to host and participate in solutions, challenges, and collective actions. The research team will study participation in "10,000 Solutions" across online, physical, and hybrid environments, particularly focusing on participant community building, trajectories of participation, and output usability. A diverse slate of experiments, with the application of the application of agent-based modeling and network analysis, will provide useful insights for theory development on community engagement and participation, as well as generating best-practice guidelines for participatory design, operation, assessment and implementation.
Future advances in economic growth and national security require new technologies for harnessing the wisdom of crowds and the power of public innovation. However, these technologies are still in their infancy, and there is a growing need for robust and flexible platforms that can move beyond exploratory efforts, toward real-world deployment. The project will develop evidence-based policies and practices to improve collaboration while increasing perceptions of accountability, legitimacy and individual satisfaction, the effectiveness of the work outputs and the adoption and use of the products developed by the community and through the platform. Knowing the conditions that increase and sustain collective action will help in devising policies and practices for building platforms to enhance participation in government and non-government organizations.
NSF Award [Link]
I am heading to Portugal for the Conference on Economic Resilience. I co-organized this event along with two colleagues, Isabel Ramos (University of Minho) and James R. Martin, II (Clemson University). The conference will be held at Largo do Paço – Rectorate. Attendees at the event include:
- Norio Okada, Director of Disaster Recovery Governance Research Institute, Kwansei Gakuin University, Japan
- Alejandro Pinto-Gonzalez, DG CONNECT Policy Office, European Commission, Belgium
- Helena Molin Valdes, Deputy Director UN-ISDR, Switzerland
- Francis Ghesquiere, Manager for the World Bank’s Disaster Risk Management Practice Group and Head of GFDRR Secretariat
- António Cunha, Rector of the University of Minho, Portugal
- Alvaro Santos Pereira, Minister of Economy and Employment of Portugal
On April 18, I will deliver a webinar from the General Services Administration on the future of challenges in the public sector. This presentation will draw on my work funded by the IBM Center for the Business of Government on Challenge.gov. The webinar will also highlight findings from my recent work that is looking at how to leverage collective intelligence on participatory platforms. I will conclude with guidelines on how to manage ideas within public agencies based on my book, Intrapreneurship: Managing Ideas Within Your Organization. To register for the webinar, please click here. The webinar is organized by DigitalGov University.
I just returned from the 2013 Annual Conference of the American Society for Public Administration in New Orleans. I participated on a panel titled, Institutionalizing Social Media in the Public Sector, moderated by John Kamensky (IBM Center for the Business of Government). Panelist included: Ines Mergel (Maxwell School, Syracuse University), Tanya M. Kelley (Arizona State University), and Sherri R. Greenberg (LBJ School of Public Affairs, University of Texas at Austin). My remarks focused on the future of crowdsourcing in the public sector by highlighting four different archetypes of participatory platforms that leverage collective intelligence for solving governance challenges.
Overall, a great experience to network with colleagues, exchange ideas, and enjoy New Orleans!
I will be visiting The Ohio State University on February 6th, 2013. During my visit, I will deliver a talk as part of the Baumer Lecture Series in Ohio State’s Knowlton School of Architecture. My talk will outline how technologies are changing the face of urbanization. Specifically, I will outline how citizens are leveraging technologies to develop innovations in planning and governance of urban spaces. Due to the democratization of technologies, the availability of open data, and an educated citizenry, we are seeing an unprecedented rate of innovation in the design, planning, and management of our cities today. This talk will draw on my recent research projects on smart cities, citizen apps and urban technologies, big data management, and challenges and competitions for crowdsourcing innovation.