Researcher, Senior DesignerContact Hayley
Citizen inclusion and engagement are important to support societal transformation in the development of a democratic, inclusive and sustainable society for everyone.
Citizen involvement in the areas of digitalisation, system development, policy, innovation governance and urban planning are crucial for us to gain a much broader perspective and supports transitions in society which are inclusive for all. Citizen dialogues can be a way to support citizen initiatives, citizen sustainable lifestyles and resolve conflicts. However, there are also certain risks of running citizen dialogues which can lead to unintended consequences. For example, citizens can lose trust in organisations due to the misalignment of citizen expectations in relation to the outcome of citizen dialogues, the unbalanced representation of certain groups of citizens resulting in increased exclusion, or organisations being overwhelmed from not having the resources or processes in place to run citizen dialogues.
One important area for citizen dialogues development is in the digital transformation of the public sector. With the wide-scale adoption of digital technologies (AI, Big Data, chatbots), data-driven decision making and higher degree of process automation, digital services are becoming more complex. Governmental services and systems should be accessible for everyone who needs to use them, and not exclude or have bias against certain groups of citizens. Thus, the knowledge of different citizen and business needs are extremely important to ensure these services are designed in an inclusive way for the entire society. For example, in the project "Citizen Dialogues for the Future of Public Services around Life Events" with DIGG (Agency for Digital Government, we developed online citizen dialogues focused around the needs citizens encountered around Life Events. Material and methods were created from the research to support DIGG's discussions in creating a digital roadmap for the vision of public services in 2030.
We work with citizen dialogue development with municipalities, governmental authorities, industry and organisations. We combine participatory design, sociology, interaction design and system perspectives to develop and prototype methods and processes for running citizen dialogues, discussing citizen needs with stakeholders and re-designing systems based on citizen perspectives. The purpose of this is to explore and address the challenges associated with citizen engagement at different levels.