Opening Government: Designing Open Innovation Processes to Collaborate With External Problem Solvers

Ines Mergel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

41 Scopus citations

Abstract

Open government initiatives in the U.S. government focus on three main aspects: transparency, participation, and collaboration. Especially the collaboration mandate is relatively unexplored in the literature. In practice, government organizations recognize the need to include external problem solvers into their internal innovation creation processes. This is partly derived from a sense of urgency to improve the efficiency and quality of government service delivery. Another formal driver is the America Competes Act that instructs agencies to search for opportunities to meaningfully promote excellence in technology, education, and science. Government agencies are responding to these requirements by using open innovation (OI) approaches to invite citizens to crowdsource and peer produce solutions to public management problems. These distributed innovation processes occur at all levels of the U.S. government and it is important to understand what design elements are used to create innovative public management ideas. This article systematically reviews existing government crowdsourcing and peer production initiatives and shows that after agencies have defined their public management problem, they go through four different phases of the OI process: (1) idea generation through crowdsourcing, (2) incubation of submitted ideas with peer voting and collaborative improvements of favorite solutions, (3) validation with a proof of concept of implementation possibilities, and (4) reveal of the selected solution and the (internal) implementation of the winning idea. Participation and engagement are incentivized both with monetary and nonmonetary rewards, which lead to tangible solutions as well as intangible innovation outcomes, such as increased public awareness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-612
Number of pages14
JournalSocial Science Computer Review
Volume33
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 8 2015

Keywords

  • crowdsourcing
  • open innovation
  • peer production
  • public sector

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Computer Science Applications
  • Social Sciences(all)
  • Library and Information Sciences
  • Law

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