Civic Platforms

Online platforms are transforming the business world and it is timely that they were applied (as civic platforms) to enabling government to function much better in times of increasing complexity. Civic platforms would be best developed around a public policy theme that involved diverse stakeholders and probably intractable or 'wicked' problems such as obesity, high building costs, renewable energy acceleration, sustainable local development, kids with high needs and climate instability.

Platforms build up a 'stack' of digital resources for multiple stakeholder audiences. For civic platforms these could include;

- integrated e-services from all relevant organisations, ideally branching as relevant to individual circumstances and stepping people through understanding and learning of each process step

- a composite whole systems or ecosystem map of the domain and the effects factors and groups have on one another, enabling all in the system to see the 'big picture'

- deliberative e-consultation features like issue visualisation, iterative feedback integrated with new policy narrative, referenda initiation, etc that allow the co-creation sought in Commitment 5

- collation of 'what works' resources, as initiated from the new behavoural insights or nudging profession, enhanced by identification of gaps and open solicitation of 'what could work' to fill those gaps

- co-creation by stakeholders of new initiatives, including aggregated bounty-style funding (a form of public crowd-funding), open submission of pilot and scaling projects by purpose-driven or social enterprises

Each potential civic platform would go through an independent facilitation to identify the relevant resources in the stack for the proposed domain, and build a business case with universal stakeholder enthusiasm. Lead agencies could underwrite at least the piloting of the platform. If developed as web services in a configurable toolkit form, potentially also open source IP, they could get much cheaper as they were scaled up through the public policy arena. 

Why the contribution is important

Civic platforms enable co-creation in a very practical sense by providing multiple tools in a single integrated way to diverse stakeholders. The intended and likely outcomes would include public transparency (open access to those interested in the domain), better and lower cost service delivery (effectiveness and efficiency), better quality of decision-making (whole systems thinking, embraces stakeholder diversity) and better buy-in.

Civic platforms are potentially strategically important to core aspects of government policy and delivery. Since they address intractable public policy areas, civic platforms provide hope of systemic improvement where there has been little in the past. It is hard to see any contemporary open government strategy not taking this possibility very seriously. An investigation of the overall potential of civic platforms and several well-resourced pilots would be an excellent next step.

by shanemiddlemiss on October 17, 2018 at 03:08PM

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