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.

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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:

Call for Papers: ITAIS 2016

ITAIS – the 13th Conference of the Italian Chapter of AIS, ICT and innovation: a step forward to a global society is calling for your papers!


Track: ICT-enabled innovation in public services: co-production and collaborative networking

Co-Chairs: W. Castelnovo (U. of Insubria, Italy), P. Depaoli (LUISS Guido Carli U.), G. Misuraca (EU Commission, JRC-IPTS, Seville, Spain)

Topics include (but are not limited to):

  • Service co-production/co-creation in the public and in the private sector: differences and similarities
  • ICT-enabled collaborative public service production
  • Co-production as a tool for social innovation
  • The role of social media to enable public service co-production
  • Open data, open government and co-production
  • Co-production and the role of citizens in smart cities
  • Case-studies and examples of co-production in public services
  • Co-production and Public/Private/Citizen Partnership
  • Challenges of co-production for the work of public sector professionals
  • How citizens can be motivated to engage in public service co-production
  • How to assess the effects of public service co-production

Important Dates:
Deadline for encouraged abstract submission (max 1000 words, except ref.): May 5, 2016
Deadline for full paper submission: June 5, 2016
Notification of acceptance: July 11, 2016
Final paper or poster submission: September 4, 2016
Doctoral Consortium: October 7, 2016
Conference: October 7 – 8, 2016

Further Information
Further tracks

Call for Papers: Special Issue ICT-Enabled Co-Production

JeDEM Call for Papers: Special Issue 2015
ICT-Enabled Co-Production

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Guest Editors

Mila Gascó, Institute of Public Governance and Management, ESADE Business & Law School, Spain
Maria Cucciniello, Department of Policy Analysis and Public Management, Bocconi University, Italy

Open innovation assumes that firms can and should use external ideas as well as internal ideas, and internal and external paths to market, in order to advance their technology. Open innovation, therefore, encourages organizations to search for solutions outside their organizational boundaries. Implementing open innovation in the public sector have a myriad of positive effects, including increased awareness of social problems, more effective practices based on broad citizen experience, and increased trust between government and citizens. At the core of the concept of open innovation in the public sector lies the active involvement of citizens into public sector activities. This involvement is often referred to as co-creation and co-production. Although these terms were introduced back in the 70s, recently they have gained a renewed interest as a result of technological developments, which have given citizens more control, allowing for new ways of interaction and involvement, particularly in public services delivery.