Citizen sourcing is the government adoption of crowdsourcing techniques for the purposes of (1) enlisting citizens in the design and execution of government services and to (2) tapping into the citizenry’s collective intelligence for solutions and situational awareness. Applications of citizen sourcing include:

  • The use of ideation tools by government agencies to collect ideas and suggestions from the public
  • The adoption of citizen reporting platforms, such as for crime or emergency response information
  • The government monitoring of social media, such as Twitter, for situational awareness, such as with regard to natural disasters

I bring today one of the many services that can be used by governments to engage citizens in civic duties.

SeeClickFix is an online platform for citizens to report issues to their local government (similar to FixMyStreet and CitySourced). For example, somebody in San Francisco posted yesterday that a street news paper box was broken. He added a picture and a short description of the event. Today, that issue has the status of “acknowledge”, which means it has been seen by a local authority and hopefully they will do something about it. Isn’t it great?

It combines two things we do all the time: complaining and taking pictures with the mobile phone!


They claim that this service empower citizens because it enables anyone to report an issue, and engages citizens, because: “Citizens who take the time to report even minor issues and see them fixed are likely to get more engaged in their local communities. It’s called a self-reinforcing loop. This also makes people happy and everyone benefits from that.”

Well, there are many levels of citizen participation and I think this service is not bringing much empowerment. I’ll probably review theses levels on a future post. But, I’ll start by sharing the Wheel of Participation by  Scott Davidson – that helps to support my argument. According to this model, SeeClickFix offers a service that improves consultation among the government and citizens.

wheel of participation