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LSE - Crowdsourcing a constitution for the United Kingdom

LSE - Crowdsourcing a constitution for the United Kingdom

LSE - Crowdsourcing a constitution for the United Kingdom

The London School of Economics is considered to be one of the most prestigious and selective universities in the world. For this project they worked alongside The Institute of Public Affairs (IPA), one of the world’s leading centres of public policy.

Democracy in action

In the 800th year since the signing of the Magna Carta, and leading up to the 2015 UK election, the LSE and IPA had the audacious idea to give the public the opportunity to have their say on what should be in a modern day codified UK constitution.

This was going to be a massive crowdsourcing experiment and they need to find the right platform on which to engage the public at large, in order to capture their ideas and opinions on ten key topics and organise these debates into a final outcome: a crowdsourced UK constitution written by the people for the people.

Managing a national debate with Crowdicity

The LSE / IPA Crowdicity platform, constitutionuk.crowdicity.com, was open to everyone. Under topics such as Head of State, Parliament and Rights and Duties, the community were asked questions such as ‘Is it high time we had a Bill of Rights like the US?’ and ‘Do we need a monarch in the UK?’

From day one, the topics gained traction, with hundreds of ideas and opinions being submitted, each of them being rated and debated by the growing community. Social feeds from ‘Storify’ were embedded into Crowdicity, keeping users updated with realtime news and information around each topic.

Debates and events were organised by the LSE all around the UK, while the lively online discussions rolled on with the public able to post, rate and rally ideas, both on the constitutionuk.com site and through social media links, to share on platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. 

“What you see here is truly the work of a “crowd”, a knowledgeable community from all over the United Kingdom who availed of the chance we gave them to knuckle down as constitutional players and suggest, argue for, persuade and promote any parts of the country’s new proposed constitutional order that meant the most to them.”
Professor Conor Gearty, Professor of Law at the London School of Economics

The ‘People’s Constitution’

Engagement throughout the project was incredible. During 4 months there were 37,681 visits to the Crowdicity community, with a bounce rate of 10%. That means that 90% of unique visitors spent time engaging or participating in the debates. 

Over 1500 people debated daily. The ideas were sorted and shortlisted by the crowd using Crowdicity's idea funnel process to allow for easy examination and scrutiny by the Constitution UK moderators. The top 30 contributors were invited to a convention in London to assist with the final selection of ideas that would go into the constitution.

A draft Constitution document was then created which was the product of the refined content from each of the eleven challenge topics. The draft was then shared back in Crowdicity to be further refined, ratified or rejected by the crowd. 

The final crowdsourced UK Constitution can be read here. http://lsedesignunit.com/theconstitution/

“It seems fair to say that this has been an enormously beneficial process as we have learned from each other’s shared knowledge and experience. We have been delighted by the level of engagement and commitment of the community, particularly those who spent hours of their time drafting and refining articles and clauses for the constitution. The final product is a testament to [their] work.”
Noita Sadler, project lead, IPA

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