Ideation in an online participatory platform: Towards a conceptual framework1

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2 Scopus citations


With the development of online participatory platforms, many governments are extending consultation processes beyond traditional face-to-face meetings. These online spaces are used by government agencies to collect ideas from the public and to aggregate preferences through non-binding voting procedures. Many of these digital platforms allow residents to post comments, creating potential for ideation processes. Examining data from an unmoderated online platform initiated by a municipal government, this paper explores whether ideation emerged organically in the deliberation process, and if so, how this occurred. After analyzing over 800 comments in the 20 most highly discussed ideas debated in the forum, the study confirmed that ideation took place and identified five main activities in the process: idea proposal, idea reception, idea development, idea closure, and idea implementation. It also distinguished eleven different roles performed by participants throughout the ideation process: initiating, supporting, disagreeing, clarifying, informing, arguing, commentary, expanding, wrapping, mobilizing, and implementing. The study also found that ideation patterns differed by idea theme and by the level of controversy of particular issues. The paper concludes with ideas for further research and recommendations for the design and implementation of online public participation processes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)101-116
Number of pages16
JournalInformation Polity
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 2017


  • Online community engagement
  • civic participation
  • e-government
  • ideation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Information Systems
  • Communication
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Public Administration


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