ICT-Enabled Citizen Co-production in Excluded Areas – Using Volunteers in Emergency Response
One of many contemporary public-sector challenges is the increasing socio-economic gaps and excluded areas in many cities worldwide. This study explores ICT-enabled citizen co-production using volunteers as first responders in excluded areas near Stockholm, the capital of Sweden. The study indicates that these volunteers can make a major difference if arriving first at an emergency site, e.g. saving lives by administering CPR and extinguishing fires before they spread. Major challenges relate to individual versus collective engagement, gender aspects and language barriers. Current ICT support, in the form of text messages or a basic app, is deemed sufficient but, for the initiative to expand and enable long-term effective engagement, calibrated solutions matching competence, role and language with incident and area are needed. In a public-sector innovation context, the study highlights the need for future research on digitalized co-production with an explicit focus on the ICT artifact and its co-creation artifact as catalysts for change. In relation to this, this study confirms previous research arguing for the merging of policy science and information systems research in an era of rapid digitalized public-sector transformation, but adds that they need to be complemented by perspectives from sociology, e.g. on gender and ethnicity, in initiatives involving citizens in excluded areas.
KeywordsPublic-sector innovation Co-production Citizen engagement ICT
This study has been made possible by financial support from the Swedish Civil Contingencies Agency and the Swedish Fire Research Board.
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