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Social Innovation in Practice: Opportunities for Citizens and Governments

Part of the Public Administration and Information Technology book series (PAIT,volume 25)

Abstract

One of the emerging innovations in the public sector is social innovation. National governments, international organisations and the civil society around the world are experimenting with new models for producing and monitoring public services not only to bring down the costs and increase efficiency, but also to improve transparency. At the core of social innovation is civic engagement and novel types of interactions between government and citizens. This chapter examines if and when social innovation improves transparency and civic participation. The author has carried out four case studies of crowdsourcing in health and education sectors in Asia and Europe, which are analysed by using Elinor Ostrom’s theory on co-production. The findings suggest that social innovation can, under certain conditions, open up government and facilitate the monitoring of service delivery. Conditions that favour these processes are not only complementarity of government and the civil society actions, established and formalised commitments, and financial and practical incentives to work in synergy, as suggested by Ostrom, but also strong organisational tactics, extensive community networks and skilled volunteers at the local level working for the civil society organisations behind social innovations.

Keywords

  • Civil Society
  • Public Participation
  • Civic Engagement
  • Civil Society Organisation
  • Social Innovation

These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

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Fig. 1

Notes

  1. 1.

    BEPA has now been renamed to the European Political Strategy Centre (EPSC), which is a department of the European Commission.

  2. 2.

    Ostrom (1996, p. 1082) also discusses another condition called “legal options” for both government and citizens, meaning that there are few restriction to production options, e.g. lack of authorisations for public teachers to change the educational curriculum to make it more relevant to students, or parents that need permissions to be able to build school latrines on their own initiative. However, these “legal options” fall outside of the scope of this paper since the project staff interviewed never mentioned any legal restrictions to their or their volunteers’ activities.

  3. 3.

    See e.g. the literature review by Joshi (2013). https://www.ids.ac.uk/files/dmfile/IETAAnnex1ServicedeliveryFinal28Oct2010.pdf.

  4. 4.

    MSSD starts out with similar variables between subjects and tries to understand why the outcome is different between the subjects.

  5. 5.

    ANSA-EAP is a non-profit foundation hosted by the “Ateneo School of Government” at the Ateneo de Manila University.

  6. 6.

    The Aybolit platform link used to be: http://www.aybolit.in.ua/. It is no longer functioning.

  7. 7.

    http://15iacc.org/get-involved/iacc-hackathon/winning-app/.

  8. 8.

    The project What’s the doctor like? does not allow offline reporting by citizens but offers them the opportunity to become (offline) volunteers.

  9. 9.

    The ‘snowflake’ model was adopted from the work of Marshall Ganz, credited with devising the grassroots-organizing model for Barack Obama’s 2008 presidential campaign.

  10. 10.

    Ostrom (1996, p. 1082) also discusses another condition called “legal options” for both government and citizens, meaning that there are few restriction to production options, e.g. lack of authorisations for public teachers to change the educational curriculum to make it more relevant to students, or parents that need permissions to be able to build school latrines on their own initiative. However, these “legal options” fall outside of the scope of this paper since the project staff interviewed never mentioned any legal restrictions to their or their volunteers’ activities.

  11. 11.

    http://www.checkmyschool.org/what-cms-does/.

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Ostling, A. (2017). Social Innovation in Practice: Opportunities for Citizens and Governments. In: Paulin, A., Anthopoulos, L., Reddick, C. (eds) Beyond Bureaucracy. Public Administration and Information Technology, vol 25. Springer, Cham. https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-54142-6_8

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