Citizensourcing: Building a Next-Gen Government

citizen-engagementIf you’re familiar with “social innovation” or “crowdsourcing” you can probably take an educated guess at what citizensourcing is and you’d be right. Citizensourcing is the idea that governments can leverage crowdsourcing techniques to tap into their citizens’ collective intelligence for the greater good of the community. The hope is that through this collective and collaborative thinking, citizens can help governments solve critical issues and improve outcomes.

Citizensourcing has recently received exposure with the publication of the White House’s Open Innovator’s Toolkit.  Aneesh Chopra, former Federal CTO, published the toolkit in support citizensourcing and to encourage the adoption beyond the Federal level to local and state governments. “Fundamentally, we believe that the American people, when equipped with the right tools, can solve many problems that the government itself cannot address,” notes Chopra in a memo to the National Science and Technology Council on the release of the toolkit.

I don’t think when Kennedy stated, “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country,” he had any idea of how relevant that statement would become today. With rapidly evolving technologies and gov 2.0 initiatives, the power of the American people is arguably stronger today than it was at the time Kennedy gave his speech in 1961. We have more tools at our fingertips than we did then, giving us the ability to quickly and easily weigh-in on topics. Consider how mobile phones alone are revolutionizing citizen input and feedback. Many government organizations are optimizing websites for mobile technology and several applications exist today that allow citizens to contact their community leaders from their phones with just a few clicks – one example being SeeClickFix.

Public organizations can also leverage the power of the crowd, rather than individual alone, to build an even stronger community. The City of Austin is using a social ideation platform to collect ideas from its community – these are open-ended ideas that other citizens can vote and comment on, helping the city prioritize what’s most important. The city reviews all submitted ideas, considers the social, organization and financial impact, and then decides whether or not to implement the citizen-submitted idea. And it’s working. To date, Austin has over 1,300 registered users on the site, received about 460 ideas and has implemented more than 18 suggestions. These projects can lead to job creation and economic growth, not just for the City of Austin but for neighboring communities as well. Read the whole Austin story for even more info.

Granicus’ Citizen Participation Suite is the only solution on the market that specifically allows government agencies to leverage both a social ideation platform and a tool for actionable citizen feedback. It combines the power of new ideas with feedback on existing initiatives to create a collaborative community experiences online while strengthening public outcomes.

Using ideation software is the most effective way to implement a citizensourcing strategy.  And with Granicus cloud-based solutions, you can get up and running in a matter of days. Start building the next generation of your government today.

Many governments are already starting to incorporate these tools into their planning and decision-making processes. In fact, we’re finding that planning directors and planning commissions are among the leading adopters of citizensourcing tools because they are critical in determining the top community development projects and priorities. If you are planning on attending American Planning Association Conference (APA) in a couple weeks in Los Angeles, drop by the Granicus booth (#436) to see some of our latest citizensourcing tools on display! Even if you cannot attend, follow us on Twitter and Facebook to get live updates from the event.

Want to learn more about Granicus’ Citizen Participation Suite?  Simply complete this form and we’ll be in touch!

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