Citizen sourcing in the public interest

  • Lars Hasselblad Torres
Keywords: knowledge management, participation


The ‘21st Century Town Meeting’ is a process using collaborative technologies to engage large groups of citizens – literally thousands at a time – to work together to solve urgent public problems. This model involves the creation of a public space that allows demographically representative groups of citizens to work from a shared understanding of the issues on the table and draw upon their experience and knowledge in dialogue to develop shared policy priorities. By combining small group table conversations with collaborative technologies, the process enables intimate discussion and large-scale decision-making in a vibrant, dynamic public forum. This case study explores the challenges, critical success factors and lessons in applying this model towards more effective citizen inclusion in policy processes.