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What we do

Changing the relationship between citizens and government

The idea that digital innovation increasingly shifts power from the supply- to the demand-side (or to the 'customers') is becoming ever more popular. And this holds true not only for the private sector but also for the public sector. At the same time, emerging technologies – notably the so called SMAC technologies (social, mobile, analytics, cloud technologies) – are making a transformational impact on public services, with the potential of becoming ever more powerful.

Achieving digital innovation in the public sector, however, is anything else but a self-fulfilling prophecy. Different organisational cultures, obsolescent or poorly designed technology, and the legal realm of public administrations limit, slow down or prevent e-Government development. And that at a point in time where "e-Government" should be undergoing its first major transformation, from simple transactional online services (citizen as customer) to citizen co-production and collective opinion formation: "We-Government", the citizen as partner.

 

 

WeGovNow - the WeGovernment platform

Against this background, WeGovNow and its 12 partner organisations are building upon earlier research and development by further developing existing solutions and integrating them within a single community engagement platform. This platform will allow people to report problems and suggest improvements, to discuss their relevance, explore ways to fix problems through collective action, find solutions to compensate for resource shortages affecting the quality of publicly provided services, debate topics of strategic nature, and develop and vote upon concrete suggestions for local policy action. 

The WeGovNow platform will:

  • Display all user activities and issues on a user-friendly, OpenStreetMap (OSM) based map interface in ways which boost awareness community interest issues according to user preferences and location in time and space
  • Allow users to interact with each other using social network features
  • Enable the integration and presentation of any relevant open public sector information (PSI) in ways which help raise awareness and trigger discussion about how to address issues of community interest
  • Quality-check the data submitted to the platform as well as the related data on the underlying base map (OpenStreetMap)
  • Effectively support collective formation of opinions
  • Automatically match users and their concrete requests and offers (e.g. concerning participation in collective action and peer-to-peer exchange of neighbourhood support), according to user interests, their time-space preferences and the characteristics of their requests and offers

WeGovNow will take into account user diversity (gender, age, disability etc.) and different user perspectives (e.g. citizens, civic society organisations, businesses, public administration, policy) by adopting a user-centred design (UCD) approach throughout, to optimise acceptability and uptake of the digitally enabled services to be newly developed and tested in the public sector. By adopting a multi-layer approach towards e-Government interoperability, the platform will be conceptualised and designed in a way that allows for seamless interaction with existing technologies and processes. Through a design for all approach, services offered through the new platform will indeed be inclusive and accessible for all citizens, regardless of physical and mental capacities or socio-cultural background.

Accompanying research involving different users (e.g. civil servants, citizens, civil society groups and policy makers) at validation sites across the EU will allow exploring in what way and under what circumstances WeGovernment can help in:

  • identifying new cultural and societal challenges in public policies,
  • transforming public administrations processes,
  • improving effectiveness and efficiency of public administrations and
  • reducing the administrative burden of citizens.

A comprehensive approach towards ethics (including micro-ethical and macro-ethical perspectives) and data privacy/security, will ensure that the services which become available through the new citizen engagement platform are ethically & legally acceptable from the perspective of individual citizens and the society as a whole.