Policy Guidance Tool

Find similar cases

Amsterdam Opent

1. Introduction

Goals, results, timeframe, context and relevant actors.

The city of Amsterdam has launched a crowdsourcing pilot in January 2010. In this pilot 3 local policy issues were presented as challenges. The 3 challenges were formulated as follows:
• – How to solve the bike storage problem in Amsterdam in public space?
• – How to redesign the Red Light District in order to combat criminalities and prevent new criminalities, and how to attract new kind of business (now it is too homogenous) so that the district maintains its main erotic character?
• – How to convince house owners not just to consume energy but also produce (What kind of business models/triggers can stimulate a sustainable consumer behavior by house owners?).
By 1 May 2010 the Municipality has received 100 ideas, and around 150 co-creation discussion between the crowd and policy maker. At this moment we evaluate the usefulness of crowdsourcing as a policy making tool. Some of the ideas will be executed in collaboration with the municipality.

2. Cluster connection

This paragraph is to determine whether the project is linked to a creative cluster in this region and whether there is a link with other clusters.

Is this case part of a cluster?


What type of cluster (digital, fashion, creative general etc), does the cluster consist of one type of (sub)sectors or is it heterogeneous?

The project ‘Amsterdam Opent’ is part the digital and creative cluster, financed by the department of economic affairs of Amsterdam.

What actors does the cluster consist of?

The Amsterdam Innovation Motor coordinates both the creative and the ICT cluster. Both clusters consists not only of the several companies in the digital and creative industries, the schools, the branche organisations and the various service providers, but also the service providers related to the ICT.

Who is responsible for this cluster? Is there a cluster organization?

The Amsterdam Innovation Motor (AIM) is responsible for this cluster, within the domain ‘public innovation’ they work very close with local governments. AIM is a triple helix organisation, funded by government, industry and knowledge institutes. It receives basic funding from its triple helix partners and acquires additional funding from all three levels including subsidies to execute projects.

Are there other strong clusters in the area/region, and if so: are there exchanges between the creative clusters and the others?

ICT, Life Sciences, Finances & Services, Food and Logistics are examples. Crowdsourcing consist of a creative process and a digital component, therefore there is a close relation with the ICT cluster. However, crowdsourcing from a public perspective itself can be performed in any cluster. As long as the societal added value is present, otherwise citizens may not participate such processes.

3. Role of government

This paragraph is to determine the role of (local/regional/national) government and policy in this case.

How important is the role of the government in this case?

Amsterdam Opent is about crowdsourcing in the public domain, the government is the initiator and facilitates the process of creating the right societal questions. Crowdsourcing should become part of government daily work.

What are the relevant policies that contribute to this case?

Crowdsourcing can become a policy instrument itself. To attain new knowledge, achieve citizens involvement and co-create in a city environment. Crowdsourcing closes the gap between government and the citizens, trust is regained.

What are the policy instruments used?

See above

Please pay attention to financing (total budget relevant to the cluster), percentage of government funding in the total budget available for this case and any other resources made available.

Amsterdam Opent is fully funded by the local government, as an experiment. It was the first attempt in Amsterdam.

4. Role of private sector

This paragraph is to determine the role of private actors in this case.

In your case, what role(s) do private actors play and how important are they?

The crowd, including private actors such as creatives, are asked to submit ideas on the crowdsourcing questions. And little support was given by a local firm.

Please pay attention to financing (total budget relevant to the cluster), percentage of government funding in the total budget available for this case and any other resources made available.


5. Role of knowledge institutions

This paragraph is to determine the role of Knowledge Institutes (aka Schools, Universities etc) in this case.

Are knowledge institutions involved?

No direct participation, after the project many students used the cases in their research.

If knowledge institutions are involved, please describe their contribution (including financial).


6. Successes and failures of the case

This paragraph is to determine what the success and fail factors are in your case. Please keep in mind that it is important for ECIA to find out whether it is context, financing, the various actors, change of policy etc.

Please describe the main success and fail factors, provide a clear description, limit the use of bullet points.

Crowdsourcing is an interesting user-driven tool which is only at a seldom base used in the public sector. It enhances the interactions between the often anonymous civil servants and civilians, creates engagement for public issues.

Entrepreneurs on the market offer a wide selection of crowdsourcing tools at an almost unaffordable rate. In our pilot we have explored the market and made attractive constructions (public private collaborations to be able to use the most appropriate applications with a remarkable purchase discount). Also we have learnt which challenges are suitable to crowdsource and via which social media mix (Hyves, LinkedIN, professional communities).

However, crowdsourcing is not easy. It remains very difficult to create the perfect question, involve citizens and to determine the right incentives to trigger participation. Crowdsourcing can only be understand through ‘learning by doing’, and it seems that for many governmental organizations in the different European regions this remains a showstopper.

Amsterdam acquires now an own crowdsourcing tool. (Application linked to the website of the municipality via extern hosting). In this application after making a profile everyone could submit an idea or start a discussion. In the software tool there is also functionality for the civil servants who published the challenges, to rank, select or reject ideas.

The project appeared to be a big success, because of the use Web 2.0 communities, open in quick interaction with the public and civil servants in Amsterdam.

7. Replication potential

This paragraph is to determine if this case could be copied by another region, country or even Europe.

Would it be possible to replicate this case in another region? If so, in which region?

Yes, because of the EU project Open Cities all tools and expertise is available for European cities. At the end of 2013 an open source version of the crowdsourcing platform should be available (via www.opencities.net). Before doing it yourself, please explore the world of crowdsourcing by participating yourself. Many local and EU crowdsourcing initiatives exist.

What would be the conditions to do this?


8. Finance model

Please pay attention to financing (total budget relevant to the cluster), percentage of government funding in the total budget available for this case and any other resources made available.


If knowledge institutions are involved, please describe their contribution (including financial)


9. Contact

Gijs van Rijn, g.vanrijn [at] amecboard.com or Katalin Gallyas, gallyas [at] ez.amsterdam.nl

Go to top