Key Components That Make Citizen Engagement Successful

Key Components That Make Citizen Engagement Successful

Gov CIO Outlook | Thursday, May 12, 2022

Citizens must vote, participate, and engage with government at all levels in order for a true democracy to survive.

Fremont, CA: Citizen participation is the foundation of democracy. Citizens' engagement is evolving in a world of texts, tweets, and tablets, and government entities may need to become more accessible. Citizens today see citizen participation as a process, not an event, with ongoing communication and feedback cycles surrounding government choices. However, these discussions are uncommon at city hall. Apps, websites, and social media are becoming important resources for citizens.

There are three key components that make citizen engagement successful:

Invite and capture conversations

According to a recent Pew Internet Poll, 31 percent of smartphone users in the United States had visited a local, state, or federal government website. Regardless of whether an organization participates or not, citizens are discussing local government on social media and other online platforms. Engaging with citizens in online communities is convenient. Organizations can still involve citizens in crowdsourced information collection even if they aren't interested in tweeting or commenting on their website on a regular basis. Rather than waiting for someone to show up at the microphone in the next meeting, organizations can collect data and act on discoveries by asking a huge number of citizens to passively contribute information.

Incorporate public input into project management and decision-making

The newly gathered citizen comments can be utilized to drive decisions as the internal team gathers information and establishes the project's scope. Today, hacking refers to more than simply cybersecurity; it's also a phrase for gathering people's knowledge and abilities, as evidenced by the recent government hackathons. Hacking into the citizens' knowledge base can lead to innovation. Citizens in Hawaii, for example, came up with the idea for Honolulu Answers, an online comprehensive Q&A website that addresses the issue of immediately replying to typical citizen inquiries regarding government services and information at a recent hackathon.

Share outcomes with citizens for continuous improvement

Citizens will want to know how their ideas are being implemented after engaging with the government organizations. Furthermore, citizens desire to participate in the project's ongoing development. Open APIs can help citizens improve public-facing web projects by allowing them to build on what has previously been established. Furthermore, making government information and data available through web portals can improve government transparency and encourage private-sector innovation.

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