Crowdsourcing. We talk about it. We educate people how to use it. But it is also an overused and underappreciated word, according to Forbes. Its influence is now spawning to government affairs thanks to the Internet. In 2013, President Obama called out to the federal agencies to use Citizen Science and Crowdsourcing to tap the wisdom of the crowds—the citizens—to help solve scientific and societal problems.
In November 2014, the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) started developing the crowdsourcing Toolkit to get things done using a “human-centered design workshop.” This is just of the many stories and initiatives where the government is proactive in harnessing collective wisdom and emerging technologies.
But how can governments use crowdsourcing and citizen science for effective citizen empowerment? The former is the practice of engaging a crowd or group for a common goal, while the latter, (according to the White House), is “a form of open collaboration in which members of the public participate in the scientific process, including identifying research questions, collecting and analyzing data, interpreting results, and solving problems.”