Crowdsourcing How does citizensourcing work


A citizen think tank or a crowdsourcing platform is a permanent, open innovation platform that usually relies heavily on the use of the Internet. Its aim is to collect knowledge and ideas from the local population and to convince the residents to participate in the solution of current municipal issues. With some platforms, your own ideas can be introduced and further developed, and supporters or financing options can be sought.

Crowdsourcing in urban development

Methods and experiences with Nexthamburg

Since 2009 Nexthamburg has been active as a real experiment for a new kind of participatory urban development. The aim is to bundle the knowledge and ideas of the local people and to use them to deal with current urban development issues.

Background: On the way to »Open Urbanism«

Nexthamburg started in 2009 to transfer the "Open Innovation" model, which comes from the practice of technology-oriented innovation processes, to the context of urban development. In the course of ever faster and more confusing innovation processes, the model has established itself as an alternative to the classic model of »closed innovation« (cf. Chesbrough 2006).

The basic idea: Instead of »including« the innovation in your own organization, a process of opening is initiated that includes the creative forces outside the company in the change process - especially the addressees or »customers« of the future innovation.

The inclusion of many knowledge carriers in the innovation process is also discussed under the term »crowdsourcing«. The crowd becomes the source of the innovation, with the new digital networking options playing a central role. The paradigm of open innovation, called “Open Government” or “Citizensourcing” (cf. Hilgers 2010 and Hilgers 2012), has long since caught hold of discussions in relation to politics and public affairs. More and more municipalities are opening their political and administrative processes to early and open participation by citizens in the sense of joint problem-solving. This opening takes place against the background of a broad field of different practices and actors of “city making” (cf. Petrin 2015 and Rauterberg 2013).

Objective of the method

Nexthamburg sees itself as a catalyst for the phenomenon of “city making”. The focus is on the question of how communication processes can be networked and current phenomena of self-empowerment can be used for urban development-related innovation processes. By understanding urban development as an ongoing and open innovation process and shifting from problem to solution orientation, Nexthamburg tries to find a way out of the blockade situation between the state and citizens, which cannot be overlooked in many places.

The operational goals of Nexthamburg in the first few years were to build up an “innovator community” of several thousand people and to establish itself as an actor. Since 2012, Nexthamburg has been committed to strengthening the voice of the citizens involved in the urban development debate, working on thematic priorities and transferring the approach to other cities.