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EXCLUSIVE – Citizen engagement through crowdsourcing and crowdsensing

EXCLUSIVE Citizen engagement through crowdsourcing and crowdsensing

Citizen engagement is always a top priority
for governments, and a high
level of citizen engagement is considered to be an indicator of a developed

The ladder of participation introduced
by Sherry R. Arnstein
in 1969 shows three different zones of citizen
participation. The two bottom rungs describe a zone of non-participation where
governments are manipulating different ways to cure and educate participants instead
of enabling and empowering citizens to participate.

The second zone is where governments
allows citizens to have a voice and be heard. Informing and consultation are the
rungs where governments inform citizens about their decisions and directions
and request consultation from powerholders and citizens. Here a voice is heard
but with no muscles, with no real change or right to decide.

The third zone represent the highest level
of power, where the relationship between governments and citizens is more of a partnership and
the level of citizen control is developed with increased degrees of

Ladder of citizen engagement 

Governments around the world have experienced
one or more of the stages above; from informing to empowering; from providing
citizens with objective information on the government plans to the highest
possible level of customer engagement where the government opens all doors to
hear customers’ voices (suggestions and complaints) that can drive the change. 

Crowdsourcing is an effective tool
for citizen participation. It first appeared as a business practice in which an
activity is outsourced to the end customers or the crowd. The word crowdsourcing
also reflects efficiency by involving a low cost solution, the customer
centricity by involving large numbers of people and the fact that it has a benefit as a business model.

Crowdsourcing is a type of smart/online
activity in which an individual, organisation or a private business proposes to
a group of individuals of varying knowledge and different interests, through a call
to the contact center, a text message, or even a photo or a video. It is
completely a voluntary work of undertaking a certain task.

 Crowdsourcing is a practice that
should complement the efforts of building smart cities. It is a tool that ensures
services are provided in a satisfactory manner and the element of smartness with both citizens and

Collecting customer feedbacks via traditional methods,
including websites, long emails and phone calls, is no longer relevant to our
smart era nor convenient to the smart customer. Rather, social media, WhatsAPP,
twitter and Facebook became more convenient channels for customers and not for governments.

Most Crowdsourcing solutions include the following
four steps

1. Providing
a mobile application (customised to meet different needs and scenarios) to
gather information (customers’ complaints or feedback) from individuals and public
or private parties.

2. To
properly solve the problem in a very systematic manner, the application will be
equipped with tools to identify the location and assign the issue to the
concerned department.

3. The
concerned department will take a corrective action and address the issue within
a well-defined timeline.

4. Informing
the end user (the customer) with the update and sustain customer satisfaction.

Crowdsensing = Crowdsourcing + Analytics + IoT.

Crowdsensing is simply the next generation of
Crowdsourcing, where you add two more components to the above-mentioned steps in
order to back your solution with the Analytics arm and the IoT flavor.

5. Use the power of data to analyse the customer voice with other complaints from the same location and correlate customer demographic information with customer insights.

6. To sustain the solution and maintain proactivity, innovative IoT solutions are used to monitor the location and sustain the solution.

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