What motivates everyday people to do things that are civic?
That’s the subject of some new research by Kate Krontiris, a fellow at Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society and the Google Civic Innovation team. Krontiris and two of her fellow researchers, Charlotte Krontiris, and Google UX researcher John Webb, presented an early preview of their findings at a Berkman Center luncheon talk at HLS on March 24. Chris Chapman, also of Google, contributed to the research as a fourth collaborator.
Another way to put the question, Krontiris told the audience, is “How do we engage the unengaged?”
It’s easy for everyone to get wrapped up in the new, shiny services that the transformation programme has brought. Don’t get me wrong: I think we need to celebrate them, because they’re great.
Nobody said it would be easy. But it’s really the people who make transformation of government happen. This thought keeps coming back to me as I’ve been travelling around the country visiting the different exemplars, and it struck me again when I visited the team making the Redundancy payments exemplar at the Insolvency Service in Birmingham a while ago.
The team analysed almost 400,000 anonymisedFixMyStreet reports to prove the hypothesis that, if a user’s first report is fixed, he or she is more likely to go on and make more.
So, just as a biscuit may give us a sugary high that we’re keen to experience again and again, the knowledge of having done ‘local public good’ is enough of a hit to bring people back to make another FixMyStreet report. In fact, they are 54% more likely to do so.
Before diving into implementing any tactical digital solutions, technology needs to take a spot alongside transportation, housing, and economic development in the strategic/master planning process. The roadmap needs to be forward thinking - next 18 months - and comprehensive; it should include a full-scale analysis of all things digital, from a city’s social media strategy and website design to public wi-fi networks and open data policies.
Well, not really – But I do dislike certain things about most open data portals. Even the ones that I work with every day or that I have been involved with in the past.
Don’t get me wrong – I’m a true believer in the power of open data. I love that every day there are more and more governments posting open data to specialized sites meant to make their data available to external (and, increasingly, internal) users. But there are things about the way that most open data portals are structured and used that bother me – I think we can do better. And I think a lot of people will agree with me.
In this shifting economic and technological landscape, what role should civic staff play? How do civic staffers continue to meet the demands of their daily work while managing the imperative to adapt to new technical modalities of work? How could technology not only facilitate the civic workflow but also inspire ethical reflections of civic work?
These are some of the questions that we are tackling at Lab at DCA, a civic staff incubator designed to cultivate agency-wide digital literacy and inspire sustainable innovative practices. In a 10-week program, a cohort of civic staffers works together to prototype new modes of civic engagement and public service at the City of Los Angeles Department of Cultural Affairs. In Part 1 of this two-part blog series, I talk about what members of the Lab are working to accomplish and why we are doing this.
Via the Participatory Budgeting group on Facebook, Paolo Spada is asking for contributions to a list of online tools that can be applied in a participatory budgeting context.
From the Facebook post:...