Published in the journal Sustainability, the article examines the use of collective intelligence solutions to address complex policy challenges and promote democratic innovation
Crowdsourcing in public administration is the focus of the article by Luciana Cingolani (Assistant Professor of Public Administration, Hertie School) and Tim Hildebrant (Anstalt für Kommunale Datenverarbeitung). Understood as an online, distributed problem-solving model which seeks to bring in information from external resources into the policy process, this technique is associated with increases in public engagement and organisational learning, as well as mitigating potential biases of individual decision-makers. Public organisations may be reluctant to adopt crowdsourcing techniques, however, due to factors such as general uncertainty and reduced control, for example.
In order to better understand these dynamics, the authors develop a theoretical model based on risks and opportunities of policy designs that involve crowdsourcing, as well as the roles of different capacities involved. It explores a subject yet understudied in public sector innovation: “the incentives that public servants face to adopt democratic innovation processes”, as pointed out by the article itself. The authors advise against a narrow, technological perspective on the matter, arguing that “for the potential of democratic innovations to be realized, bureaucratic politics must remain in the picture, considering that bureaucratic players continue to be the operational force behind public sector reforms”.
Download the full article here.