What drives legitimacy in government?

Discussion paper by the Centre for Public Impact (CPI):  “…What are the sources of legitimacy, and how can legitimacy be strengthened? By legitimacy we mean the reservoir of support that that allows governments to deliver positive outcomes for people, what we at the CPI call public impact. We are interested in exploring how governments can build constructive relationships with their citizens for the benefit of each of us and society as a whole. This might be at a wholeof-government level or the level of an individual service or policy. We will explore how legitimacy flows between these levels, and how legitimacy can be built both from the top down and from the bottom up.

Occasionally legitimacy is discussed as a black or white concept – with governments labelled as either “legitimate” (meaning rightfully in power) or “illegitimate” (meaning not rightfully in power). We will try to avoid getting mired down in such discussions. The concept of legitimacy is also often used as shorthand for other concepts such as “a democratic mandate”, “fitness to serve” or “honesty”. Our project aims to determine what legitimacy means in reality to people and governments in different parts of the world, providing some shades of grey as well greater rigour and clarity. There will be no easy answers. Building legitimacy requires action in many parts of a complex system, involving multiple institutions and actors. And the sources of legitimacy in one country or in one policy area may not be easily translatable to other countries or other policy areas….(More)”.

How to increase public support for policy: understanding citizens’ perspectives

Peter van Wijck and Bert Niemeijer at LSE Blog: “To increase public support, it is essential to anticipate what reactions they will have to policy. But how to do that? Our framework combines insights from scenario planning and frame analysis. Scenario planning starts from the premise that we cannot predict the future. We can, however, imagine different plausible scenarios, different plausible future developments. Scenarios can be used to ask a ‘what if’ question. If a certain scenario were to develop, what policy measures would be required?  By the same token, scenarios may be used as test-conditions for policy-measures. Kees van der Heijden calls this ‘wind tunnelling’.

Frame-analysis is about how we interpret the world around us. Frames are mental structures that shape the way we see the world. Based on a frame, an individual perceives societal problems, attributes these problems to causes, and forms ideas on instruments to address the problems. Our central idea is that policy-makers may use citizens’ frames to reflect on their policy frame. Citizens’ frames may, in other words, be used to test conditions in a wind tunnel. The line of reasoning is summarized in the figure.

Policy frames versus citizens’ frames

policy framinng

The starting-points of the figure are the policy frame and the citizens’ frames. Arrow 1 and 2 indicate that citizens’ reactions depend on both frames. A citizen can be expected to respond positively in case of frame alignment. Negative responses can be expected if policy-makers do not address “the real problems”, do not attribute problems to “the real causes”, or do not select “adequate instruments”. If frames do not align, policy-makers are faced with the question of how to deal with it (arrow 3). First, they may reconsider the policy frame (arrow 4). That is, are there reasons to reconsider the definition of problems, the attribution to causes, and/or the selection of instruments? Such a “reframing” effectively amounts to the formulation of a new (or adjusted) policy-frame. Second, policy-makers may try to influence citizens’ frames (arrow 5). This may lead to a change in what citizens define as problems, what they consider to be the causes of problems and what they consider to be adequate instruments to deal with the problems.

Two cases: support for victims and confidence in the judiciary

To apply our framework in practice, we developed a three-step method. Firstly, we reconstruct the policy frame. Here we investigate what policy-makers see as social problems, what they assume to be the causes of these problems, and what they consider to be appropriate instruments to address these problems. Secondly, we reconstruct contrasting citizens’ frames. Here we use focus groups, where contrasting groups are selected based on a segmentation model. Finally, we engage in a “wind tunnelling exercise”. We present the citizens’ frames to policy-makers. And we ask them to reflect on the question of how the different groups can be expected to react on the policy measures selected by the policy-makers. In fact, this step is what Schön and Rein called “frame reflection”….(More)”.

Digital Kenya: An Entrepreneurial Revolution in the Making

(Open Access) book edited by Bitange Ndemo and Tim Weiss: “Presenting rigorous and original research, this volume offers key insights into the historical, cultural, social, economic and political forces at play in the creation of world-class ICT innovations in Kenya. Following the arrival of fiber-optic cables in 2009, Digital Kenya examines why the initial entrepreneurial spirit and digital revolution has begun to falter despite support from motivated entrepreneurs, international investors, policy experts and others. Written by engaged scholars and professionals in the field, the book offers 15 eye-opening chapters and 14 one-on-one conversations with entrepreneurs and investors to ask why establishing ICT start-ups on a continental and global scale remains a challenge on the “Silicon Savannah”. The authors present evidence-based recommendations to help Kenya to continue producing globally impactful  ICT innovations that improve the lives of those still waiting on the side-lines, and to inspire other nations to do the same….(More)”

Supporting Collaborative Political Decision Making: An Interactive Policy Process Visualization System

Paper by Tobias Ruppert et al: “The process of political decision making is often complex and tedious. The policy process consists of multiple steps, most of them are highly iterative. In addition, different stakeholder groups are involved in political decision making and contribute to the process. A series of textual documents accompanies the process. Examples are official documents, discussions, scientific reports, external reviews, newspaper articles, or economic white papers. Experts from the political domain report that this plethora of textual documents often exceeds their ability to keep track of the entire policy process. We present PolicyLine, a visualization system that supports different stakeholder groups in overview-and-detail tasks for large sets of textual documents in the political decision making process. In a longitudinal design study conducted together with domain experts in political decision making, we identified missing analytical functionality on the basis of a problem and domain characterization. In an iterative design phase, we created PolicyLine in close collaboration with the domain experts. Finally, we present the results of three evaluation rounds, and reflect on our collaborative visualization system….(More)”

Innovando para una mejor gestión: La contribución de los laboratorios de innovación pública

Paper by Acevedo, Sebastián; and Dassen, Nicolás for IDB: “Los cambios tecnológicos, económicos y sociales de los últimos años exigen gobiernos capaces de adaptarse a nuevos desafíos y a las crecientes demandas de la ciudadanía. En muchos países y en distintos niveles de gobierno, esto ha llevado a la creación de laboratorios de innovación, unidades cuyo objetivo es promover de diversos modos la innovación en el sector público. En este trabajo se analizan los roles y desafíos de los laboratorios latinoamericanos, contrastándolos con buenas prácticas y características que la literatura ha asociado a mayores niveles de innovación en el sector público y en otras organizaciones.

A partir de una encuesta a directores de laboratorios y dos estudios de casos, se describe el panorama de los laboratorios latinoamericanos y se discuten sus desafíos para: i) trabajar sobre temas centrales de la gestión, ii) conseguir la adopción de innovaciones y el escalamiento de las mismas y iii) asegurar la sostenibilidad de estas.

En particular, hay cuatro factores clave para su desempeño en esos aspectos: dos factores político-institucionales –el apoyo del liderazgo y las redes de política– y dos factores metodológicos –la adecuación técnica de las innovaciones y la construcción de un significado compartido sobre ellas–.

Además, se identifican dos diferencias principales entre la mayoría de los laboratorios relevados aquí y la experiencia de otras regiones, descripta por la literatura existente: un foco más intenso en temas de gobierno abierto y menos actividades para el testeo controlado de innovaciones, como experimentos aleatorios y evaluaciones de impacto. Finalmente, se presentan conclusiones y recomendaciones para la consolidación de los laboratorios como canales efectivos para gestionar innovaciones, manejando los riesgos inherentes, y modernizar la gestión… (More Español)

Designing Serious Games for Citizen Engagement in Public Service Processes

Paper by Nicolas Pflanzl , Tadeu Classe, Renata Araujo, and Gottfried Vossen: “One of the challenges envisioned for eGovernment is how to actively involve citizens in the improvement of public services, allowing governments to offer better services. However, citizen involvement in public service design through ICT is not an easy goal. Services have been deployed internally in public organizations, making it difficult to be leveraged by citizens, specifically those without an IT background. This research moves towards decreasing the gap between public services process opacity and complexity and citizens’ lack of interest or competencies to understand them. The paper discusses game design as an approach to motivate, engage and change citizens’ behavior with respect to public services improvement. The design of a sample serious game is proposed; benefits and challenges are discussed using a public service delivery scenario from Brazil….(More)”

Value and Vulnerability: The Internet of Things in a Connected State Government

Pressrelease: “The National Association of State Chief Information Officers (NASCIO) today released a policy brief on the Internet of Things (IoT) in state government. The paper focuses on the different ways state governments are using IoT now and in the future and the policy considerations involved.

“In NASCIO’s 2015 State CIO Survey, we asked state CIOs to what extent IoT was on their agenda. Just over half said they were in informal discussions, however only one in five had moved to the formal discussion phase. We believe IoT needs to be a formal part of each state’s policy considerations,” explained NASCIO Executive Director Doug Robinson.

The paper encourages state CIOs to make IoT part of the enterprise architecture discussions on asset management and risk assessment and to develop an IoT roadmap.

“Cities and municipalities have been working toward the designation of ‘smart city’ for a while now,” said Darryl Ackley, cabinet secretary for the New Mexico Department of Information Technology and NASCIO president. “While states provide different services than cities, we are seeing a lot of activity around IoT to improve citizen services and we see great potential for growth. The more organized and methodical states can be about implementing IoT, the more successful and useful the outcomes.”

Read the policy brief at www.NASCIO.org/ValueAndVulnerability 

Innovation Prizes in Practice and Theory

Paper by Michael J. Burstein and Fiona Murray: “Innovation prizes in reality are significantly different from innovation prizes in theory. The former are familiar from popular accounts of historical prizes like the Longitude Prize: the government offers a set amount for a solution to a known problem, like £20,000 for a method of calculating longitude at sea. The latter are modeled as compensation to inventors in return for donating their inventions to the public domain. Neither the economic literature nor the policy literature that led to the 2010 America COMPETES Reauthorization Act — which made prizes a prominent tool of government innovation policy — provides a satisfying justification for the use of prizes, nor does either literature address their operation. In this article, we address both of these problems. We use a case study of one canonical, high profile innovation prize — the Progressive Insurance Automotive X Prize — to explain how prizes function as institutional means to achieve exogenously defined innovation policy goals in the face of significant uncertainty and information asymmetries. Focusing on the structure and function of actual innovation prizes as an empirical matter enables us to make three theoretical contributions to the current understanding of prizes. First, we offer a stronger normative justification for prizes grounded in their status as a key institutional arrangement for solving a specified innovation problem. Second, we develop a model of innovation prize governance and then situate that model in the administrative state, as a species of “new governance” or “experimental” regulation. Third, we derive from those analyses a novel framework for choosing among prizes, patents, and grants, one in which the ultimate choice depends on a trade off between the efficacy and scalability of the institutional solution….(More)”

Guidance for Developing a Local Digital Response Network

Guide by Jenny Phillips and Andrej Verity: “…Beyond the obvious desire to create the guidance document, we had three objectives when drafting:

  1. Cover the core aspect. Six pages of concrete questions, answers and suggestions are designed to help ensure that start-up activities are well informed.
  2. Keep it as simple and light as possible. We wanted something that an individual could quickly consume, yet find a valuable resource.
  3. Feed into larger projects. By creating something concrete, we hope that it would feed into larger initiatives like Heather Leason and Willow Brugh’s effort to build out a Digital Responders Handbook.

So, are you a passionate individual who wants to help harness local digitally-enabled volunteers or groups in response to emergencies? Would you like to become a central figure and coordinate these groups so that any response is more than the sum of all its parts? If this describes your desire and you answered the questions positively, then this guidance is for you! Create a local Digital Response Network. And, welcome to the world of digital humanitarian response…(More)”

Design for policy and public services

The Centre for Public Impact: “Traditional approaches to policymaking have left policymakers and citizens looking for alternative solutions. Despite the best of intentions, the standard model of dispassionate expert analysis and subsequent implementation by a professional bureaucracy has, generally, led to siloed solutions and outcomes for citizens that fall short of what might be possible.

The discipline of design may well provide an answer to this problem by offering a collection of methods which allow civil servants to generate insights based on citizens’ needs, aspirations and behaviours. In doing so, it changes the view of citizens from seeing them as anonymous entities to complex humans with complex needs to match. The potential of this new approach is already becoming clear – just ask the medical teams and patients at Norway’s Oslo University Hospital. Women with a heightened risk of developing breast cancer had previously been forced to wait up to three months before receiving an appointment for examination and diagnosis. A redesign reduced this wait to just three days.

In-depth user research identified the principal issues and pinpointed the lack of information about the referral process as a critical problem. The designers also interviewed 40 hospital employees of all levels to find out about their daily schedules and processes. Governments have always drawn inspiration from fields such as sociology and economics. Design methods are not (yet) part of the policymaking canon, but such examples help explain why this may be about to change….(More)”Screen Shot 2016-03-07 at 8.52.52 AM