Keynote Mila Gascó: Co-Production and ICT-enabled Co-Production #cedem16

Mila Gascó (Institute of Public Governance and Management ESADE) held her keynote “Co-Production and ICT-enabled Co-Production” at the CeDEM16.

Foto Mila Gascó (4)Mila Gascó
Mila Gascó holds a MBA and a Ph. D. in public policy evaluation (Award Enric Prat de la Riba granted to the best Ph. D. thesis on public management and administration, given by the Escola d’Administració Pública de Catalunya in Barcelona, Spain).

Nowadays, she is a senior researcher at the Institute of Innovation and Knowledge Management and the Institute of Public Governance and Management, both at ESADE. In the latter, she is in charge of the e-governance, open government and smart cities areas of research.  For seven years, she was a senior analyst at the International Institute on Governance of Catalonia. Mila Gascó has a lot of consulting experience on the information and knowledge society as well.

CeDEM – the international Conference for e-Democracy and Open Government – brings together e-democracy, e-participation and open government specialists working in academia, politics, government and business to critically analyse the innovations, issues, ideas and challenges in the networked societies of the digital age. The CeDEM16 will be held from May 18th to May 20th 2016 at the Danube University Krems.

» More about the CeDEM16
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Open government can be defined as a transparent, collaborative and participative government, that mixes different ICT-tools in order to reach its objectives. Collaboration refers to the work of the public administration (internally and externally), which can be distinguished from participation. Social innovation is usually bottom-up led, while co-production is usually top-bottom-led. Co-production encompasses stakeholders and citizens in further developing public services (precise definition see OECD, 2011). Co-production can be shaped in co-commission over co-design, co-delivery and co-assessment.

Co-production, open innovation, ICT-enabled Co-production

Co-production is linked to open innovation: Based on Chesbrough, the open-innovation concept has been applied on the private sector. Approaches to apply this concept on the public sector were needed. Open Innovation means searching for solutions outside of organisational boundaries (Mergel and Desouza).

We used to co-produce before, but ICT makes it different nowadays and links it to open innovation. What has changed is the citizen-centricity. Public services can be made more efficient, but they will only be more effective if citizens’ opinions are taken into account.

Radical improvement of public services

If we take into account that co-production is about collaboration and that co-production makes things more effective, we can get improvement, but not radical improvement, if ICTs play a marginal role and there is a low involvement. If ICT is adopted in the public sector, there is the technocratic paradigm of e-government, when the involvement is low and the role of ICT is central. When a high level of involvement interacts with a high importance of technology, radical service improvement through open and inclusive e-governance, will be possible.  (Cucciniello & Nasi 2015)


As example of using open data, developing apps and engaging people, inter alia (Spain) can be mentioned. Rodalia asks citizens and organisations to help identifying potential terroristic actions or related suspenses. Public administration can’t monitor everything, therefore, they co-produce.

Co-production can be seen in the actual building of an app (using open data to build the app) or also in using citizen feeds in order to make the app very useful.

Co-production from a historical perspective

We have always co-produced. Otherwise it would be impossible to deliver some services: A co-produced service is f.i. taking out garbage to make the collection and removal of garbage possible.

Factors influencing ICT-enabled co-production

Factors that influence ICT-enabled co-production (Voorberg et al. 2014, Cucciniello & Nasi, 2015) are

  • Organizational factors: A risk averse administration culture, the preparedness for participation (hierarchy? bureaucracy?) and an open attitude (The leadership decides to co-produce, but who really co-produces? The persons who undertake the role of co-producers shall have an open attitude too.) play a crucial role for co-production.
  • Citizens’ behaviour: People need to feel heard and want to improve things, which is why it should be made transparent, what contribution was helpful for what step or how their contribution was taken into account.
  • ICT factors


  • Not everyone wants or knows how to co-produce.
  • Co-production is not for free, it involves especially the resources of time and money.
  • Often, the process is much more important than the outcome itself. After a co-production process, we will come up with more empowered people.
  • Co-production does not need ICT, but the latter will speed up the co-production process.
  • ICT-enabled co-production is contextual, over all in organisation and design.

Further Information about Mila Gascó:


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