Empowering Online Idea Management for Civic Engagement with Public Displays and Social Networking Services

Saldivar, Jorge (2017) Empowering Online Idea Management for Civic Engagement with Public Displays and Social Networking Services. PhD thesis, University of Trento, Italy, Universidad Católica "Nuestra Señora de la Asunción", Paraguay.

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Idea Management (IM) is the process of requesting, collecting, selecting and evaluating ideas to develop new and innovative products, services or regulations, or to improve existing ones. The process is supported by dedicated Idea Management systems (IMS), which lets people propose ideas, as well as rate and place comments on other users’ suggestions. When used in the civic domain, IM serves as a tool to engage citizens in processes of innovation of public services, laws, and regulations. A key ingredient in the success of IM is the community of participants. The larger the community, the more diverse views are likely to appear and diversity of views increases the chances of discovering valuable ideas that can lead to innovations. However, having a large number of people participating in IMS is a hard challenge; it requires an understanding of the people and their needs and designing the technology to match these characteristics. In this thesis, we aim at involving the society at large into IM processes. Achieving this ambitious goal requires integrating IMS with people’s everyday life tools and spaces of participation. We understand that tools for civic engagement should engage people on their own terms and should be readily available. We meet these requirements by proposing an approach that integrates IMS into common physical and virtual spaces of participation enabling people to participate in IM using ordinary tools and without having to step outside their daily habits. In a systematic and extensive study of the literature about technologies used to foster civic engagement in innovation processes, we found that the choice of technology and its “situated- ness” is essential in granting ease of public access and promoting inclusive processes of civic engagement. We also discovered that civic engagement technologies still have room to improve their use of multiple channels of participation. In this regard, we saw social networking sites such as Facebook and Twitter as having a strong potential to lower participation barriers and engage citizens, considering how pervasive these sites are today as daily tools. We show how the lessons learned can be applied in practice by presenting two solutions to increase participation in IMS. The first solution is a platform that extends IMS by integrating them into displays located in public spaces. From this experience, we found that taking the right instruments to where people actually are is important to address specific inequalities regarding access to technology. We also saw that the display represented for citizens not only an opportunity to make their voice being heard but also an occasion for socialization. The second solution is a model and tool that empower IMS through Facebook services. Here we found that the integration with Facebook facilitated participation by reducing the friction related to getting informed and involved in IM. Also, the participants reported that the familiarity and easy to use of Facebook features represented an advantage for participation. We informed the design of both solutions with large- and medium-scale data analysis studies on the behavior (individual and collective), practices, and motivation factors of IM communities’ participants.

Item Type:Doctoral Thesis (PhD)
Doctoral School:Information and Communication Technology
PhD Cycle:27
Subjects:Area 09 - Ingegneria industriale e dell'informazione > ING-INF/05 SISTEMI DI ELABORAZIONE DELLE INFORMAZIONI
Area 14 - Scienze politiche e sociali > SPS/11 SOCIOLOGIA DEI FENOMENI POLITICI
Repository Staff approval on:02 May 2017 11:49

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