London School of Economics win global Campus Technology Innovators Award for their digital citizenship project
The London School of Economics and Political Science are delighted to be the first non-US university ever to win a Campus Technology Innovators Award for their Constitution UK platform. Working alongside The Institute of Public Affairs, one of the world’s leading centres of public policy, the LSE opened an online crowdsourcing platform powered by Crowdicity to ask the British public what they thought should be in a UK constitution.
The LSE/IPA Crowdicity platform Constitution UK was open to everyone, to participate in such topics as: ‘Is it high time we had a Bill of Rights like the US?’ and, ‘Do we need a monarchy?’. The platform empowered participants to propose their own ideas for the constitution, and then to engage in a debate and selection of those ideas.
The result was a fully crowdsourced codified constitution, shared on the same platform for the participants to see their own ideas in their finished form.
Peter Bryant, talking at Crowdsourcing Week 2016
Crowdsourcing the UK Constitution: Digital Citizenship & Civic Engagement in a Post-Digital Age
‘From day one the topics gained traction, with hundreds of ideas and opinions being submitted’
To decide what type of software to use for the project, LSE executives did a market scan and looked to software implementations of liquid democracy, a new form of collective decision-making.
“In the end we were more drawn to ideation platforms that are used in the corporate space to help organisations move forward by getting ideas from everyone in an organisation,” said Chris Fryer from the Learning Technology and Innovation department at the LSE.
The team decided that the right choice would be Crowdicity, which Fryer described as, “A cross between a social network and voting platform”, and worked closely with the provider to launch public crowdsourcing platform, Constitution UK.
From day one the topics gained traction, with hundreds of ideas and opinions being submitted, each of them rated and debated by the growing community. Social feeds were embedded into Crowdicity, keeping users updated with real-time news and information around each topic. Ideas and comments were shared by the crowd to Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn daily to virally grow the conversation.
The ‘People’s Constitution – by the people for the people’
Engagement throughout the project was incredible. During 4 months there were 37,681 visits to the Crowdicity community, with a bounce rate of only 10%. That means that 90% of unique visitors spending time engaging or participating in the debates.
The debate continued daily. The ideas were sorted and shortlisted by the Constitution UK moderators using Crowdicity’s stag gate process, that allowed for easy examination and scrutiny. Then the final selection of ideas was put together into the constitution document by experts at LSE/IPA.
The product of the refined content from each of the eleven challenge topics, an 8000 word constitution, was shared on the Crowdicity platform and can still be found on the site today.
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A different approach for the university
Darren Moon, a Senior Learning Technologist at LSE explained that the School are proud of the research and learning opportunity provided by the Crowdicity project.
“We needed to find the right technological solution and the right pedagogical approach that would support community members in becoming better learners, better participants and more productive members of the community,” Moon said, “and it was great to be able to come up with something that looked very different from a traditional course in order to help achieve that project’s aim.”
They found too that the gamification aspect to the system was enormously important for recognition and engagement. Peter Bryant, head of learning technology and innovation noted that they were cynical about members being recognised with profile points and badges, but that in practice the recognition that people received on the platform was important to the process.
Building on success
The whole setup — from concept to platform development to go-live — happened in just eight weeks. And in the 14 weeks the project was active, a community of more than 1,500 participants emerged, generating thousands of online interactions, nearly 40,000 visitors and over a million words of contributions.
Outward facing public engagement is something that LSE will look to for the future. The success of Constitution UK has led to an examination of ways that communities can crowdsource solutions and engage in debates around critical issues.
A number of future projects are expected to draw on the power of crowdsourcing to solve problems, address key issues and engage in digital citizenship. For the London School of Economics, the future is collaborative. For now, they can take a moment to enjoy their award!