Citizen innovation in the public sector is crucial for enhancing productivity and efficiency while promoting trust and transparency in the public sector.

In his online presentation for the Asian Productivity Organization’s Productivity Talk: Public-Sector Productivity through Citizen Innovations on 13 February 2024, Dr. Emre Cinar, Senior Lecturer at the University of Portsmouth in the UK, emphasized the significance of citizen engagement in driving innovative solutions to social challenges. By harnessing citizens’ collective participation, governments can tap into a wealth of ideas and resources to improve public services.

Case studies from various countries, including the United States, Australia, South Korea, and Singapore, demonstrate the tangible benefits of citizen innovation. Platforms like crowd-granting websites, participative budgeting initiatives, and online forums enable citizens to contribute ideas and feedback, leading to more responsive and inclusive governance.

Citizen innovation enhances public trust in institutions, empowers marginalized groups like women, and promotes transparency in decision-making processes. However, despite its potential, there’s a need to accelerate the adoption of citizen innovation practices across different sectors and regions.

Dr. Cinar presented a framework for innovation transfer and adoption to facilitate the implementation of citizen-driven solutions. This involves understanding the local context, identifying relevant innovations, evaluating their transferability, engaging local stakeholders, and ensuring cultural adaptation and ethical considerations. Collaboration between public sector organizations and policy transfer mechanisms is crucial for scaling up successful initiatives.

With its strong community values and high technology adoption rates, the Asia-Pacific region presents unique opportunities for accelerating citizen innovation in the public sector. Grassroots-level innovations driven by community spirit and supported by advanced technologies can address resource constraints and improve citizen engagement and productivity.

Sharing successful innovations enhances the reputation and credibility of governments and opens opportunities for collaborations, funding, and scaling. By disseminating best practices and promoting a culture of innovation, governments can meet the evolving needs of citizens and drive sustainable development in the digital age.

In conclusion, Dr Cinar said that governments need more innovations, and citizen innovation, which has been gaining popularity in several economies, can help solve resource problems and improve citizens’ trust and satisfaction in the public sector.

Watch the Productivity Talk here.