Article by Ines Mergel and Kevin C. Desouza in Public Administration Review: “As part of the Open Government Initiative, the Barack Obama administration has called for new forms of collaboration with stakeholders to increase the innovativeness of public service delivery. Federal managers are employing a new policy instrument called Challenge.gov to implement open innovation concepts invented in the private sector to crowdsource solutions from previously untapped problem solvers and to leverage collective intelligence to tackle complex social and technical public management problems. The authors highlight the work conducted by the Office of Citizen Services and Innovative Technologies at the General Services Administration, the administrator of the Challenge.gov platform. Specifically, this Administrative Profile features the work of Tammi Marcoullier, program manager for Challenge.gov, and Karen Trebon, deputy program manager, and their role as change agents who mediate collaborative practices between policy makers and public agencies as they navigate the political and legal environments of their local agencies. The profile provides insights into the implementation process of crowdsourcing solutions for public management problems, as well as lessons learned for designing open innovation processes in the public sector”.
New paper by B. Cleland, B. Galbraith, B. Quinn, and P. Humphreys: “The concept of Open Innovation, that inflows and outflows of knowledge can accelerate innovation, has attracted a great deal of research in recent years (Dahlander and Gann, 2010; Fredberg et al, 2008). At the same time there has been a growing policy interest in Open Government, based in part on the assumption that open processes in the public sector can enable private sector innovation (Yu and Robinson, 2012). However, as pointed out by Huizingh (2011), there is a lack of practical guidance for managers. Furthermore, the specific challenges of implementing Open Innovation in the public sector have not been adequately addressed (Lee et al., 2012). Recent literature on technology platforms suggests a potentially useful framework for understanding the processes that underpin Open Innovation (Janssen and Estevez, 2013; O’Reilly, 2011). The paper reviews the literature on Open Innovation, e-Government and Platforms in order to shed light on the challenges of Open Government. It has been proposed that re-thinking government as a platform provider offers significant opportunities for value creation (Orszag, 2009), but a deeper understanding of platform architecture will be required to properly exploit those opportunities. Based on an examination of the literature we identify the core issues that are likely to characterise this new phenomenon.”
Brian Merchant at Motherboard: “Technology should probably be transforming public transit a lot faster than it is. Yes, apps like Hopstop have made finding stops easier and I’ve started riding the bus in unfamiliar parts of town a bit more often thanks to Google Maps’ route info. But these are relatively small steps, and it’s all limited to making scheduling information more widely available. Where’s the innovation on the other side? Where’s the Uber-like interactivity, the bus that comes to you after a tap on the iPhone?
In Finland, actually. The Kutsuplus is Helsinki’s groundbreaking mass transit hybrid program that lets riders choose their own routes, pay for fares on their phones, and summon their own buses. It’s a pretty interesting concept. With a ten minute lead time, you summon a Kutsuplus bus to a stop using the official app, just as you’d call a livery cab on Uber. Each minibus in the fleet seats at least nine people, and there’s room for baby carriages and bikes.
You can call your own private Kutsuplus, but if you share the ride, you share the costs—it’s about half the price of a cab fare, and a dollar or two more expensive than old school bus transit. You can then pick your own stop, also using the app.
The interesting part is the scheduling, which is entirely automated. If you’re sharing the ride, an algorithm determines the most direct route, and you only get charged as though you were riding solo. You can pay with a Kutsuplus wallet on the app, or, eventually, bill the charge to your phone bill.”
Over the last few years, the Government of British Columbia (BC), Canada has initiated a variety of practices and policies aimed at providing more legitimate and effective governance. Leveraging advances in technology, the BC Government has focused on changing how it engages with its citizens with the goal of optimizing the way it seeks input and develops and implements policy. The efforts are part of a broader trend among a wide variety of democratic governments to re-imagine public service and governance.
At the beginning of 2013, BC’s Ministry of Citizens’ Services and Open Government, now the Ministry of Technology, Innovation and Citizens’ Services, partnered with the GovLab to produce “Reimagining Governance in Practice: Benchmarking British Columbia’s Citizen Engagement Efforts.” The GovLab’s May 2013 report, made public today, makes clear that BC’s current practices to create a more open government, leverage citizen engagement to inform policy decisions, create new innovations, and provide improved public monitoring—though in many cases relatively new—are consistently among the strongest examples at either the provincial or national level.
According to Stefaan Verhulst, Chief of Research at the GovLab: “Our benchmarking study found that British Columbia’s various initiatives and experiments to create a more open and participatory governance culture has made it a leader in how to re-imagine governance. Leadership, along with the elimination of imperatives that may limit further experimentation, will be critical moving forward. And perhaps even more important, as with all initiatives to re-imaging governance worldwide, much more evaluation of what works, and why, will be needed to keep strengthening the value proposition behind the new practices and polices and provide proof-of-concept.”
See also our TheGovLab Blog.
New paper by JH Lee, MG Hancock, MC Hu in Technological Forecasting and Social Change: “This study aims to shed light on the process of building an effective smart city by integrating various practical perspectives with a consideration of smart city characteristics taken from the literature. We developed a framework for conducting case studies examining how smart cities were being implemented in San Francisco and Seoul Metropolitan City. The study’s empirical results suggest that effective, sustainable smart cities emerge as a result of dynamic processes in which public and private sector actors coordinate their activities and resources on an open innovation platform. The different yet complementary linkages formed by these actors must further be aligned with respect to their developmental stage and embedded cultural and social capabilities. Our findings point to eight ‘stylized facts’, based on both quantitative and qualitative empirical results that underlie the facilitation of an effective smart city. In elaborating these facts, the paper offers useful insights to managers seeking to improve the delivery of smart city developmental projects.”
New paper by A Majchrzak and A Malhotra in The Journal of Strategic Information Systems: “Recent years have seen an increasing emphasis on open innovation by firms to keep pace with the growing intricacy of products and services and the ever changing needs of the markets. Much has been written about open innovation and its manifestation in the form of crowdsourcing. Unfortunately, most management research has taken the information system (IS) as a given. In this essay we contend that IS is not just an enabler but rather can be a shaper that optimizes open innovation in general and crowdsourcing in particular. This essay is intended to frame crowdsourcing for innovation in a manner that makes more apparent the issues that require research from an IS perspective. In doing so, we delineate the contributions that the IS field can make to the field of crowdsourcing.
Reviews participation architectures supporting current crowdsourcing, finding them inadequate for innovation development by the crowd.
Identifies 3 tensions for explaining why a participation architecture for crowdsourced innovation is difficult.
Identifies affordances for the participation architectures that may help to manage the tension.
Uses the tensions and possible affordances to identify research questions for IS scholars.”
Anton Root: “Crowdsourcing helps communities connect and organize, so it makes sense that governments are increasingly making use of crowd-powered technologies and processes.
Just recently, for instance, we wrote about the Malaysian government’s initiative to crowdsource the national budget. Closer to home, we’ve seen government agencies from U.S. AID to NASA make use of the crowd.
Daren Brabham, professor at the University of Southern California, recently published a report titled “Using Crowdsourcing In Government” that introduces readers to the basics of crowdsourcing, highlights effective use cases, and establishes best practices when it comes to governments opening up to the crowd. Below, we take a look at a few of the suggestions Brabham makes to those considering crowdsourcing.
Brabham splits up his ten best practices into three phases: planning, implementation, and post-implementation. The first suggestion in the planning phase he makes may be the most critical of all: “Clearly define the problem and solution parameters.” If the community isn’t absolutely clear on what the problem is, the ideas and solutions that users submit will be equally vague and largely useless.
This applies not only to government agencies, but also to SMEs and large enterprises making use of crowdsourcing. At Massolution NYC 2013, for instance, we heard again and again the importance of meticulously defining a problem. And open innovation platform InnoCentive’s CEO Andy Zynga stressed the big role his company plays in helping organizations do away with the “curse of knowledge.”
Brabham also has advice for projects in their implementation phase, the key bit being: “Launch a promotional plan and a plan to grow and sustain the community.” Simply put, crowdsourcing cannot work without a crowd, so it’s important to build up the community before launching a campaign. It does take some balance, however, as a community that’s too large by the time a campaign launches can turn off newcomers who “may not feel welcome or may be unsure how to become initiated into the group or taken seriously.”
Brabham’s key advice for the post-implementation phase is: “Assess the project from many angles.” The author suggests tracking website traffic patterns, asking users to volunteer information about themselves when registering, and doing original research through surveys and interviews. The results of follow-up research can help to better understand the responses submitted, and also make it easier to show the successes of the crowdsourcing campaign. This is especially important for organizations partaking in ongoing crowdsourcing efforts.”
“Socrata is dedicated to telling the story of open data as it evolves, which is why we have launched a quarterly magazine, “Open Innovation.”
As innovators push the open data movement forward, they are transforming government and public engagement at every level. With thousands of innovators all over the world – each with their own successes, advice, and ideas – there is a tremendous amount of story for us to tell.
The new magazine features articles, advice, infographics, and more dedicated exclusively to the open data movement. The first issue, Fall 2013, will cover topics such as:
- What is a Chief Data Officer?
- Who should be on your open data team?
- How do you publish your first open data set?
It will also include four Socrata case studies and opinion pieces from some of the industry’s leading innovators…
The magazine is currently free to download or read online through the Socrata website. It is optimized for viewing on tablets and smart phones, with plans in the works to make the magazine available through the Kindle Fire and iTunes magazine stores.
Check out the first issue of Open Innovation at www.socrata.com/magazine.”
Kevin Merritt, CEO and Founder, Socrata, in NextGov: “In its infancy, the open data movement was mostly about offering catalogs of government data online that concerned citizens and civic activists could download. But now, a wide variety of external stakeholders are using open data to deliver new applications and services. At the same time, governments themselves are harnessing open data to drive better decision-making.
In a relatively short period of time, open data has evolved from serving as fodder for data publishing to fuel for open innovation.
One of the keys to making this transformation truly work, however, is our ability to re-instrument or re-tool underlying business systems and processes so managers can receive open data in consumable forms on a regular, continuous basis in real-time….”
Wired: “I’m no neuroscientist, and yet, here I am at my computer attempting to reconstruct a neural circuit of a mouse’s retina. It’s not quite as difficult and definitely not as boring as it sounds. In fact, it’s actually pretty fun, which is a good thing considering I’m playing a videogame.
Called EyeWire, the browser-based game asks players to map the connections between retinal neurons by coloring in 3-D slices of the brain. Much like any other game out there, being good at EyeWire earns you points, but the difference is that the data you produce during gameplay doesn’t just get you on a leader board—it’s actually used by scientists to build a better picture of the human brain.
Created by neuroscientist Sebastian Seung’s lab at MIT, EyeWire basically gamifies the professional research Seung and his collaborators do on a daily basis. Seung is studying the connectome, the hyper-complex tangle of connections among neurons in the brain.”