Engaging Citizens in Co-Creation in Public Services

New report by Professors Nambisan and Nambisan for the IBM Center for the Business of Government:  “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.

Report authors Drs. Satish and Priya Nambisan of University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee provide detailed examples of citizens playing each of these roles.  They note that numerous forces contribute to the trend of citizens participating in 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 help government leaders craft successful co-creation programs, the report outlines four strategies to encourage citizen co-creation:

  1. Fit the approach to the innovation context
  2. Manage citizen expectations
  3. Link the internal organization with the external partners
  4. Embed citizen engagement in the broader context”