The Crowd May Have Answers, but Agencies Must Define the Problem

By Joseph Marks

August 20, 2013

Crowdsourcing can be a great aid to government agencies looking for fresh ideas, distributed wisdom or volunteer labor, but not all crowdsourcing is the same, according to a report from the IBM Center for the Business of Government released Monday.

The report distinguishes between four main types of crowdsourcing government agencies can use.

They are:

Crowdsourcing can help agencies save money, spur innovations in important industries and, in some cases such as the Citizen Archivist program, complete more work than could ever be done in house.

Before launching a crowdsourcing initiative, though, governments or agencies should clearly define the problem they’re looking to solve and the type of solutions they’re after, the report said.

“Asking an overly broad question of an online community, such as ‘What is your vision for the city in 10 years?’ will generate thoughtful responses and may turn out to be quite a valuable exercise in public participation and long-term visioning for the city,” the report said. “But it is almost certain that the broad question will also elicit from citizens a wide range of responses, many vague, few feasible, which present city planners with the problem of selecting the best ideas from a mixed bag of apples and oranges.”

(Image via igor kisselev/Shutterstock.com)


By Joseph Marks

August 20, 2013

http://www.govexec.comhttp://www.nextgov.com/emerging-tech/2013/08/crowd-may-have-answers-agencies-must-define-problem/69017/