27 years ago, my mom submitted a brownie recipe to the Pillsbury's Bake-Off competition. If your recipe was good enough, you had a chance at a cash prize and to be published in a cookbook which was then widely distributed. Unfortunately, her recipe didn't make it (it's a great brownie Mom...love you!). The competition still exists, but has moved online.
I realize now that this competition was really just a form of crowdsourcing. Fast forward and you can now find tons of online, crowdsourced recipe sites. In fact, you can find all sorts of crowdsourced projects/websites on the internet: Kickstarter, Quirky, Mechanical Turk, remember the Netflix prize, and let's not forget Wikipedia.
Why shouldn't governments take advantage of crowdsourcing? There are many reasons people participate in crowdsourcing. One is driven by a sense of community'they simply want to be part of a solution that makes their community a better place.
Governments can leverage citizens in many ways to enhance the community'organize a beach debris pickup day, or work with companies like MindMixer to collect ideas for the next playground. At SeeClickFix, we help citizens to collectively report service requests and contribute to a city wikiFAQ page easily and quickly. We also help to collect the data and provide governments with tools to manage and analyze it. The outcome of this government-driven crowdsourcing is a better, stronger community.