Using ideation in online engagement can have great benefits for cities looking to better understand their communities desires, values and imagined futures.
Ideation allows for transparent involvement and collaboration on big challenges and can greatly assist in developing smart-city approaches to engagement.
The City of Yarmouth in Canada in one city taking advantage of online ideation to help them achieve their smart city goals and develop a collaborative platform for their future.
With their recent Smart Cities Ideas Challenge, City of Yarmouth has utilised online ideation to help them generate a community idea to put forward for up to $50 million in smart-cities funding.
As an initiative of The Government of Canada, The Smart Cities Challenge is a program open to all municipalities, local or regional governments, and Indigenous communities and seeks to find meaningful and measurable smart-city project that reflect the needs of community.
Looking for a collaborative way to generate a community project for the initiative, City of Yarmouth decided to utilise their online engagement platform and two rounds of ideation with EHQ’s Ideas tool to get the community involved.
To do this, City of Yarmouth initiated their first round of ideation by asking their community if they have and idea “to make Yarmouth better?”
Using a broad question such as this is a great way to begin an ideation activity and City of Yarmouth used this opportunity to capture as many ideas as possible for the activity.
Involvement in the activity was guided by a clearly defined criteria for the competition as well as outlined instructions for involvement to ensure people were properly informed about the criteria for entry.
This initial ideas capturing was followed by a voting period and campaign to encourage community to select the ideas which they would most like to see submitted to the competition.
After the first round was complete, City of Yarmouth’s Town staff reviewed all ideas to ensure they met the strict competition criteria and then identified those which fulfilled the criteria and had the most votes as finalists.
Their second round of involvement utilised the ideas tool again, except this time they transferred the 6 finalist ideas to the board and made the activity open to voting only.
By doing this they established a second round of community voting with the view to taking the winning idea as the basis of their application for the Smart City Challenge.
This project is a great example of how ideation can be used in online engagement to co-design ideas with community.
By leveraging off existing smart-cities initiatives and incorporating collaborative smart-cities engagement techniques into the process, City of Yarmouth provide us with a roadmap for how a smart-city citizen led organisation can operate.
We wish them the best with their community generated idea and hope they win a piece of the pie to get their smart-city idea funded.