Citizen Centric Governance

The “key word” to be used in this analysis is the “citizens engagement” in the various phases of the service definition, development, refining and monitoring, and the whole concept of user-centric services is based on “putting the citizen (user) at the centre of innovative services” starting from enabling of a specific procedure: citizens shall be involved in the user-centric services development driven by what users want and operate on a scale that is relevant to them.

The whole approach can be actualised through very different ways and using very different tools, often not only ICT-based; public workshops and consultation are still a powerful instrument to create a co-operative debate

Indeed ICT is only a tool, both for information gathering and information delivering, as we can elicit useful information through face-to-face discussions, and the first challenge is to define the most suitable interface for users/citizens we shall use to empower the citizen to interact.

Citizen-centric governance means also creating a so-called ‘smart environment’ that see the users/citizens as their main stakeholders. The user-centricity will be the basis for adopting a shared approach: people living in a smart multimodal environment which maximizes the economies of scope and scale across its multiple infrastructure layers. Here, the ‘smartness’ shall not be referred uniquely to the technologies, but includes a broader view of ensuring a minimum QoS for public and private services, the direct contact and management of the resources in the territory, the coopetition among citizens and the other actors (government, industry, academia) working together to co-drive structural changes. It’s the application of the Quadruple Helix model, introduced within the Open Innovation 2.0 (OI20) main vision, and applied to the territorial open government.

The ideal citizen centric governance scenario might be described as one with freedom of choice to participate in the design, delivery and review of public services with governments that focus on enabling user initiating and implementing levels. However, realising this relies on a number of factors, among all the interactivity and including active citizen participation through discussion, dialogue and debate, possibly supported by social networks and platforms. It has been emphasised that techniques such as narratives, games or even art may be important vehicles for expressing evidence and forming opinion.

Following this preliminary analysis, and keeping in mind that an informed citizenry might engage with experts from many domains in generating scenarios for improving the quality of urban life and urban performance, we can list some initial recommendation targeted to the Community at large:

  • It’s important to assess methodologies for users and citizens’ engagement that imply the active participation of users especially in the phase of the service definition. Empowering citizens to be decision makers: individuals, small communities and organizations can participate in the entire decision making process in a manner that was not possible earlier.
  • The use of new technologies and the 2.0 tools through mobile devices empowers the co-participation of users, being these the interface that almost all citizens and users are going to use for the management of all the information of his/her daily life. The focus shall be on ways in which citizens can first access information about what is happening in their communities and cities but also explore ways in which a wide range of different groups can become actively involved in the design and planning process, both remotely and in face-to-face situations using data, models and scenarios all informed by contemporary ICT
  • The business perspective for the service’ sustainability is a boundary requirement when thinking about the need of provision of added-value content information. More users, more trust, more engagement, more feedback, more info to be elaborated by third parties.