Professor Piller publishes new research


New Research Published: Motivations of Citizens to Co-create Social Innovation for their City

Frank Piller, Professor of technology and innovation management, has just published a new study on the integration of citizens into public innovation. The article "Citizen participation in public administration:investigating open government for social innovation" is part of a Special Issue of the respected journal "R&D Management" on "Leveraging open innovation to improve society: past achievements and future trajectories".

Together with his co-authors, Lisa Schmidthuber and Dennis Hilgers from the University of Linz, and Marcel Bogers from the University of Copenhagen, he studied a case of social innovation in the context of public government.

The notion of citizens as innovators has gained much attention in the last years. By collaborating with their communities, government and municipal institutions initiate social innovation and stimulate a positive change for society. The research studied the involvement of citizens in an ideation platform initiated by the local government of Linz, the second largest city of Austria. The objective was to generate ideas on the design of open spaces in the city.

We were especially interested to find out what motivates citizens to contribute to social innovation. Found is an interesting trade-off: Intrinsic motivation, i.e. fun, enjoyment, altruism or pro-social behavior, motivated citizens to submit more useful ideas. When extrinsic (monetary or material) rewards were introduced, the number of submitted ideas dropped. However, at the same time, the presence of extrinsic incentives motivated more people to contribute with comments on ideas and to vote on their preferred idea.

Thus, if public innovation managers aim to increase idea sharing, they have to create conditions for participation that allow users to motivate themselves. For example, users’ feelings of fun and enjoyment could be enhanced by including gamification or developing an attention management strategy. To include a larger public of commentators and voters, other incentives are required. Monetary incentives may signal to the public that the city takes the social innovation imitative seriously.