Crowd’s Wisdom, CrowdSourcing, and Participation

“The outer limits to the crowd’s wisdom” — Federal Computer Week In the policy world, public participation requires different rules than crowdsourcing allows:

Public participation is the process of involving people in collaborative problem-solving and decision-making. Also known as public engagement or stakeholder involvement, the idea has been around for several decades, and during that time, a rich body of knowledge has emerged that makes it possible to give people a seat at the table when it comes to addressing challenging issues at all levels of government.

Crowdsourcing, the concept of applying open-source principles to fields outside software, is a fairly new phenomenon that was popularized only recently. Jeff Howe coined the term in his article “The Rise of Crowdsourcing” in the June 2006 issue of Wired magazine.

The question getting lots of attention in the Government 2.0 space today is: How might crowdsourcing be applied to public participation and government policy-making?

see also Tim Bonnemann’s posts at

“33 Strategies Of War Author Robert Greene on Obama’s Tactical Hell” by Lee Stranahan at HuffingtonPost

Three months of watching the Democrats compromise, capitulate and now teeter at the edge of completely losing the battle for health care reform has been a slow-motion hell of watching a bloody bullfight when you’re rooting for the bull. And it’s been a uniquely Democratic style of losing.

Exactly how and why do the Democrats end up in these ghoulish scenarios? For the answer to that, I spoke with best-selling author Robert Greene who has written books like The 48 Laws of Power in the recent The 50th Law with hip-hop artist and entrepreneur 50 Cent. Greene also wrote The 33 Strategies of War which looked at and enumerated timeless truths about battle and conflict.

“Open Government Directive, Phase III: Drafting” at Office of Science and Technology Policy

President Obama issued a Memorandum on Transparency and Open Government in which he called for recommendations on making the government more transparent, participatory, and collaborative.

From the start, the White House Open Government Initiative has approached the crafting of these recommendations in an open fashion. An initial Brainstorming phase in late May asked you to identify topics for the recommendations. In the Discussion phase in early June, you explored those topics in greater depth.

Today, we ask you to work together to draft recommendations that translate good ideas and lofty principles into specific actions that can be taken to achieve open government. This Drafting Phase invites you to collaborate on creating recommendations for open government policy using a web-based wiki tool.

The collaborative drafting process is hosted by MixedInk here

“Tories announce £1m competition for large-scale crowdsourcing platform” by William Heath at; category Design: Co-creation, Foundation of Trust, Save Time and Money, What do we want?

Cripes. HM’s Loyal Opposition has announced — if elected — a £1m prize for an online platform for large-scale crowdsourcing.

This almost comes onto the radar of big IT suppliers. It’s massive for smart little NGOs; it would have funded about a decade of early MySociety work.

I got it in an email (extract below).

IAP2 has developed the “IAP2 Core Values for Public Participation”

for use in the development and implementation of public participation processes. These core values were developed over a two year period with broad international input to identify those aspects of public participation which cross national, cultural, and religious boundaries.

The purpose of these core values is to help make better decisions which reflect the interests and concerns of potentially affected people and entities.

Core Values for the Practice of Public Participation

  1. Public participation is based on the belief that those who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision-making process.
  2. Public participation includes the promise that the public’s contribution will influence the decision.
  3. Public participation promotes sustainable decisions by recognizing and communicating the needs and interests of all participants, including decision makers.
  4. Public participation seeks out and facilitates the involvement of those potentially affected by or interested in a decision.
  5. Public participation seeks input from participants in designing how they participate.
  6. Public participation provides participants with the information they need to participate in a meaningful way.
  7. Public participation communicates to participants how their input affected the decision.

How Anil Dash Applies the Lessons of Web 2.0 to Government“; Interview by Jeff Chu –

Big idea: To apply the lessons of Web 2.0 to government, through his new D.C.-based incubator, Expert Labs. “The great Web 2.0 businesses are really data engines built on info generated by purchasing, searching, posting, tweeting.” Dash’s goal is to exploit the massive amount of data that the government has and creates. Government “can be as great a platform as the iPhone.” But policy makers aren’t tapping citizens’ brainpower right now, so Expert Labs will help: “In our private lives, we’d call this crowdsourcing.” The incubator, launched with input from White House staff, is officially part of the American Association for the Advancement of Science and funded by a MacArthur Foundation grant.

The 2009 Dialogue and Deliberation Practitioners Survey: What is the State of the Field?” –

This site provides information and resources regarding an online survey of dialogue and deliberation practitioners conducted by sociologists Caroline Lee and Francesca Polletta during September and October 2009. This survey was conducted for the purpose of academic research on the deliberation field by the researchers.


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