How can social innovation empower community engagement in data governance?

Social Innovation Insight
2 min readFeb 14, 2022


With the rise of technology, data governance is becoming more and more important, not only for the government itself but also for its people. So how can we ensure data accountability and responsibility that could do good for society? Researchers from different universities of Australia designed a process of engaging citizens with social innovation tools to participate in smart city development and urban data governance projects, hoping to find out the intervention efficiency.

In our human history, the relationship between citizens and the government is always unstable, and the government has more and more power with the help of technology nowadays, so researchers want to find a way to engage urban communities and empower them in terms of data governance. Hence, they developed and tested a participatory methodology to identify approaches to empowering community engagement in data governance.

They used the ‘Design for social innovation’ process and tools to enable a small group of precinct citizens to co-design prototypes and empower them to support the development of data governance and reveal a diversity of perspectives. The whole process involved two stages, the first stage gives participants a whole view of global city examples of data governance approaches. The second stage consists of a background survey and participatory co-design workshops, which focus on problem identification, prototype, ideation, and rapid development.

Image source: Cambridge University Press

As a result, they found that deliberative spaces for participation can promote inclusive community engagement, also empowering community engagement can raise important issues related to democratic engagement, value creation, and data literacy. Overall, their participatory design approach can empower precinct citizens to engage in complex problems, Although, this research also has its limitations considering the wider impact, feasibility, and generalizability.

Download their paper here: A participatory approach for empowering community engagement in data governance: The Monash Net Zero Precinct | Data & Policy | Cambridge Core


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Originally published at on February 14, 2022.



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