Designing Future Megacities with the Crowd: Wicked Urban Problems and Firm-sponsored Civic Innovation Crowdsourcing 2015

This project presents a successful civic innovation crowdsourcing project case study to co-create visionary solutions to the challenge of future mobility in crowded cities around the world.

Designing Future Megacities with the Crowd: Wicked Urban Problems and Firm-sponsored Civic Innovation Crowdsourcing 2015

With the rise of megacities, urban innovators are exposed to increasingly ‘wicked’ societal problems, such as urban mobility. Looking beyond traditional modes for solving these problems, this research sheds light on civic innovation crowdsourcing; a new open model of innovation for solving societal problems in the public and government sector. Through a unique case study, a civic innovation contest sponsored by Bombardier was examined using content analysis. Civic innovation crowdsourcing and how team submissions and geographic contextualization shape the problem solving process was examined in three major cities, Belo Horizonte, Vientiane, and London.

Researchers found that: 1.: Civic Innovation Crowdsourcing creates a diverse set of comprehensive solutions and highlights key complexity attributes from a citizen’s perspective, 2: crowd members tackle complexity at the level of each problem dimension and collectively highlight critical attributes and novel solutions, 3.: Civic Innovation Crowdsourcing furnishes an alternative mode of urban problem solving and affords addressing complexity breadth, and 4.: team and individual submissions differ in the way they address complexity, with teams addressing more attributes of a problem than individuals. This case suggests that designing with the crowd may overcome a central ‘tragedy’ of urban Mobility: While mobility is a greater good that is fundamental for cities to flourish, it puts other public good at risk. Thus, only jointly with the citizens, can businesses, city councils, and NGOs design future mobile urban ecosystems that will ‘evolve’ towards greater economic, social, and ecological performance.

Investigators: Volker Bilgram, Sabine BrunswickerJohann Fueller

Keywords: Crowdsource; Wicked problems; Civic innovation; Crowdsourcing innovation; Innovation facilitation; Bombardier Inc.

Related Publications and News

Brunswicker, S., V. Bilgrim, and J. Fueller. “Taming Wicked Civic Challenges with an Innovation Crowd.” Business Horizons, 2017.



My research interests include distributed digital innovation, AI, crowdsourcing, and open source software