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Networks for Citizen Consultation and Citizen Sourcing of Expertise: Exploring Innovations in the Public Sector


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"New ICTs + New Media = New Democracy? Communications policy and public life in the age of broadband"

Experts’ workshop
New America Foundation, 1899 L St NW, Washington, DC
September 20-22, 2011

Cristobal Cobo, Ph.D
Research Fellow
Oxford Internet Institute
University of Oxford

Published in: Technology, Business
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Networks for Citizen Consultation and Citizen Sourcing of Expertise: Exploring Innovations in the Public Sector

  1. 1.<br />Networks for Citizen Consultation and Citizen Sourcing <br />of Expertise: Exploring Innovations in the Public Sector <br />Cristobal Cobo, Ph.D<br />Research Fellow<br />Oxford Internet Institute<br />University of Oxford<br />1<br />Orange dots = Flickr photos; blue= tweets; white dots = both<br />Picture: Eric Fischer<br />
  2. 2. Prime Minister <br />David Cameron<br /><br />“Under social media, Mr Cameron includes Facebook, Twitter and specific technologies such as text messaging”. <br />Between 6 and 10 August 2011<br />“We are making technology work for us, by capturing the images of the perpetrators on CCTV – so even if they haven’t yet been arrested, their faces are known and they will not escape the law”.<br />2<br /><br /><br />
  3. 3. (+) Yang and ZhiyongLan (2010): Internet has reducedthe disparity in resources between policy experts and citizens. <br />(+) Bohman (2004): the tension between experts and citizens can be reduced through the ICT, fostering participatory opportunities.<br />Castells (2011): Internet facilitates changes in all aspects of life, society, the economy and culture (‘Arab spring’). <br />(+) Brabham (2009): ICTs enable deeper levels of engagement between people and governments. <br />New methods for harnessing collective intellect and creative solutions from networks of citizens). crowdsourcing <br /><br />London: The centre of the city. Twitter activityand photographies.<br />Orange dots = Flickr photos; blue = tweets; white dots = both<br />Picture: Eric Fische<br />Can the new technology make a positive difference?<br />3<br />
  4. 4.<br />(-) Alexander and Pal (1998): Information availability is different from information utilisation.<br />(-) Van Dijk (2010): ICT does not cause more political and societal interest among citizens.<br />(-) Yang and ZhiyongLan (2010): Avoiding techno-reductionist approach. The Internet can improve democratic public policy making but those changes depend on education, institution building, culture and trust relationship formation. <br />(-) Hardy, Lawrence and Grant (2005): Avoiding oversimplifications. Many collaborations fail to produce innovative solutions.<br />Photograph: Mohammed Abed/AFP/GettyImages<br />4<br />Zhang et al. (2009): Civic Participation (activities that address community concerns through non-governmental/non-electoral means), Political Participation (activities aimed to influence the election public officer).<br />
  5. 5. The boom in social media networks: novel mechanisms of communication. <br />Social media tools:(Web 2.0, participatory media, social networking platforms. YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn). <br />2011-2015 European Action Plan <br />A more open (pro-active) model of design, produce and deliver online services that foster collaboration between citizens.<br />581.749 messages from 87.569 users using different social networks<br />Spain: 15 May demonstrations<br />Source:<br />The adoption of social media to effectively involve citizens and businesses in the policy-making process. <br />5<br />
  6. 6. A participatory technology & services understood as a continuous socio-technical process that require community engagement. <br />Electronic Government Cicles (adapted from Caldas, 2008)<br />Appropriate conditions: The right social media tools;social capital; digital literacy; climate that supports public participation (new models of crowdsourcing). <br />Yang and ZhiyongLan (2010)<br />6<br />
  7. 7.<br /><br />The Performance of Distributed Problem Solving Networks:<br />OII and McKinsey Technology Initiative (MTI).Dutton, William H., Paul A. David, and Wolf Richter. (2008). <br /><br /><br />‘wisdom of crowds’ – the idea that ‘the many are smarter than the few’ (Surowiecki), where a large number of ordinary people can outperform a few experts by sharing information and solving problems. <br />+ peer production<br />+ social production <br />+ co-production <br />+ co-creation <br />+ mass collaboration<br />(e.g. see Surowiecki 2004; <br />Benkler 2006; Tapscott<br />and Williams 2006).<br /> <br /> <br /><br /><br /><br />Source:<br />7<br />
  8. 8. Management depends on Type of CNO <br />1.0 sharing documents, data, and other digital objects. Hypertextual/ <br />2.0 supporting contributions to (limited) collaboration. Hypertextual/ UGC<br />3.0 supporting cooperative co creation. Hypertextual/ UGC /Cooperative Work<br />8<br />William Dutton. Capturing the Value of Networked Individuals: Strategies for Citizen Sourcing. University of Oxford. Presentation to ‘NETworked Organizations’, organized by SINTEF, at Kanonhallen, Oslo, Norway, 10 November 2010 <br />
  9. 9. The aims of this study :<br />1. To explore relevant online public initiatives from the EU public sector to identify if they facilitate the creation of networks for citizen consultation (citizen sourcing for expertise). <br />2. To analyze different eGovernment websites and identify to what extent they adopt the levels of 1.0.Sharing; 2.0.Contributing and 3.0.Co-creating of knowledge. <br />3. Evaluate the usefulness of the methodology adopted in this study, considering it applicability in further research.<br />The key research questions :<br />• How are governments implementing strategies to foster online –’many-to-many’ communication between citizens and public administration bodies? <br />• What online mechanisms are the governments adopting to incorporate crowdsourcing and ‘distributed problem solving’ from the citizenship?<br />• Are the online public platforms a relevant space to facilitate collaboration from citizen to citizen? <br />9<br />
  10. 10. Orangedots = Flickr photos; <br />blue= tweets; <br />white dots = both<br />Picture: Eric Fischer<br /><br />From 31 countries, 52 cases have been shortlisted as finalists.<br />eGovernment: <br /><ul><li>Supporting the single Market;
  11. 11. Empowering citizens;
  12. 12. Empowering businesses;
  13. 13. Enabling administrative efficiency & effectiveness.</li></ul>sample: the non-biased nature of this list gives us objective criteria for inclusion<br />10<br />
  14. 14. Matrix of Collaboration<br />11<br />
  15. 15. Results<br />Only 49 of them were active and providing public information (February, 2011)<br />To see the classification and ranking of these websites please visit<br />12<br />
  16. 16. Results<br />13<br />
  17. 17. [e-Catalunya] # 12<br /><br />[PloneGov] # 12 <br /> <br />Participa Andalucía # 10 <br />[Interoperability Infrastructure <br />for Serv. Transf.] # 10 <br /> <br />+Thematic citizens dialogue.<br />+ Self organized communities.<br />+ No external social media tools.<br />+ Variety of participation tools.<br />+ Self developed mechanism of transactions.<br />[Participatory Budgeting –Cologne] # 9 (Germany) <br />+Open SourceCommunity.<br />+Facilitate the transfer of citizen knowledge.<br />+ Ecosystem of meta-collaboration <br />+ Resources exchange (avoid duplication)<br />+ Citizens: propose, exchange and promote ideas.<br />+ Direct interaction with local authorities.<br />+ Linked to FB & T to disseminate citizen ideas.<br />+ Crowdsourcing (vote for the ideas)<br />+ Interoperability <br />public admin. serv.<br />+ Citizens suggest & discuss ideas.<br />+Anonymity or authentication.<br />+ Promote the submission of ideas.<br />+ Add or co-create based on previous contributions.<br />+ Participatory budget (environment & educ.)<br />+ Add, discuss & compete for the better ideas.<br />+ First 100 ideas > studied by local admin.<br />+Cologne City council> deliberation. <br />14<br />
  18. 18. 7 Conclusions<br />Social media tools in public service website > by no mean synonymous of citizen participation or transparency. (Appropriate climate of participation: information availability; existence of adequate social tools; social capital digital literacy, trust and transparency).<br />Majority of ‘1.0 Sharing’ websites. Preference for traditional channels (e-mail & phone). 1-to-1: Limited citizen participation > 76.9% were 1.0. Sharing); 7.7% as 2.0. Contributing and 9.6% as 3.0. Co-creating. <br />Low adoption of ‘many to many’ tools: Despite the visibility of social media tools and the EU 2011-2015 Action Plan citizens distributed collaboration there is a gap between the EU policies and the practices. Opportunityto redesign the G2C interaction (and add new value).<br />Outsourcing collaboration: Diversity of strategies to embrace the social media tools (developed or adopted). Low cost but also low control of privacy/security of data. <br />15<br />
  19. 19. 7 Conclusions<br />High concentration of social media tools in a small number of public websites. It raises new questions regarding the familiarity (digital literacy) of those who design new communications between G2C.<br />Further research are neededto identify the motivations and strategies of those who administrate these kinds of public platforms. New studies to evaluate the SWOT these social media tools in the C2G interaction. <br />Useful Methodology: The collaborative matrix (and its taxonomy) was a useful and replicable approach to adopt in future studies. Helpful to categorize, qualify and better understand different flows of information exchange of different online platforms. <br />16<br />
  20. 20. Acknowledgments: This study was supported through the Knetworks project (Knowledge Dissemination Network for the Atlantic Area and prepared in collaboration with the Socio-Economic Services for European Research Project (SESERV<br />17<br />thanks!<br />Cristobal Cobo, Ph.D<br />Research Fellow<br />Oxford Internet Institute<br />University of Oxford<br />@cristobalcobo<br />