Want to grow a better culture of citizen engagement? Start with a #GGovJam

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Pascal surveys the GGovJam map

There are 4416 cities in the world, but last year only 32 of them took part in the Global GovJam.

That’s a shame for lots of reasons, but one struck me forcefully when reading the final report of the RSA’s Inclusive Growth Commission: every city needs to be more openly creative if the widest range of people and places are to contribute to economic success, and benefit from it too.

As the commission says, inclusive growth is not just a British pre-occupation:

“The OECD launched an inclusive growth campaign last year. Governments and mayors of all political affiliations have been looking at how growth can work better for people.”

More to the point:

“… no one organisation is more powerful than the others. The individuals need to know each other, trust each other and be able to work together on an equal basis to find common objectives…”

So how about this from the govjam.org About page?

“Jamming offers a high-energy, massively diverse environment which focusses firmly on doing, not talking. By moving through a common innovation process, participants move away from well-trodden paths, building on each other’s ideas to take practical, constructive steps towards novel solutions.”

The commission’s model of inclusive growth is underpinned by five key principles:

  • Creating a shared, binding mission
  • Measuring the human experience of growth, not just its rate
  • See growth as a social system, not just a machine
  • Be an agile investor at scale
  • Entrepreneurial, whole-place leadership

You’ll find every one of those principles embodied in a GovJam:

  • Creating a shared, binding mission – by getting people to collaborate intensively, around a shared theme, rather than traditional “talking shop” formats where everyone takes turns to promote their own agenda
  • Measuring the human experience of growth, not just its rate – by training teams and citizens in qualitative design research techniques to complement traditional financial and quantitative measures
  • See growth as a social system, not just a machine – using tools such as stakeholder mapping, ecosystem and service blueprinting and the business model canvas
  • Be an agile investor at scale  – by creating a space for rapid prototyping and testing of many small ideas that collectively add up to more than would be achieved by simply “picking winners”
  • Entrepreneurial, whole-place leadership – in a forum that no one organisation owns, allowing leaders across sectors to try out new ways of working with each other, with citizens, and with communities.

So how about it?

Global GovJam 2017 will be on 17 and 18 May.

Here’s a note we wrote last year about hosting a local jam.

Registrations for 2017 hosts will open soon over at govjam.org.

 

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Published by

mattedgar

Product strategy and design leadership in web and mobile media. Before that I was a newspaper journalist and history student

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