Crowdsourcing ideas for our economy - RSA

Crowdsourcing ideas for our economy

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  • Picture of Reema Patel
    Research Director and Head of Deliberative Engagement, Ipsos
  • Economic democracy
  • Economics and Finance

We are launching a new crowdsourcing platform to ask RSA Fellows and the public for their views and ideas on tackling some of the most vital challenges in our economy.

We all contribute to the economy every day – at work, on the high street, online and in our homes. But many of us don’t feel able to express our views on the economy, how it works for us, or how it should be able to work for us.

The big decisions about the economy that affect our spending, taxes, livelihoods and access to services are usually made for us by experts, and the rest of us have little say. We want to change that.

Because fundamentally economics is not about finding a set of right answers or mastering concepts that only economists can understand. Economics is about human relationships, values and judgements – which can and should involve everyone. The RSA believes ordinary citizens should have a say in economic policymaking.

A richer conversation about values and searching for new ideas

We want to kickstart a richer conversation about the economy - one that engages with a wide range of values and perspectives. That’s why we have created the RSA Citizens’ Economic Council – a group of citizens who are gathering together to understand more about economics, and to co-create policy ideas and an economic charter with policymakers and economists.

Our citizens have already thrown up some interesting questions from their first meeting about markets.

We are now launching a new online crowdsourcing platform (powered by Wazoku) to see what you think! 


Crowdsourcing your ideas

Check out our first crowdsourcing challenge on markets: 

How can we get a fairer deal on what we buy?

Whether you have a great idea yourself or want to offer comment or feedback on other ideas, find out more about the platform and register for free: 

Join the CEC Co-Creation Community now

You can submit your ideas now! The first challenge closes 10th April 2017

Why are we crowdsourcing? We are looking to understand two things –

  • What your views are on certain economic issues (recognising that these views can be very different – with contested territory where a conversation about values and trade-offs is vital)
  • How you think we can solve certain social and economic problems that prove a tough nut to crack.

Ther will be 2 more challenges to come over the next two months. Each challenge concerns a vital area of our economy. The themes we are covering:

  • Markets: we will ask for your views and ideas on how markets and the exchange of value in an economy can best work for everyone. (check out the Markets challenge)
  • Work: we will ask for your views and ideas on how work can support people to have greater agency, freedom and flexibility.
  • Economic Institutions: we will ask for your views and ideas on how we can rebuild trust in economic institutions and bridge a widening gap between citizens and economic institutions (for example, politicians, government, the Bank of England).

What ideas are we looking for? 

We will be seeking submissions specifically in relation to the UK economy. However, if you are based globally, and can draw upon experiences elsewhere in the world that can help strengthen U.K economic policy, we would welcome hearing from you.

Simple or complex, all ideas are welcome! Once submitted other registered members on the platform will be able to comment on ideas and offer feedback and suggestions.

The RSA and project partners (including a panel of citizen councillors and advisory group members) will then review each submission to establish the feasibility, creativity and positive social impact of your proposals.

The best ideas will be shortlisted and showcased as part of the final report launch of the Citizens' Economic Council.   


When can I share my ideas? 

The first challenge on Markets is now live! It will remain open until 10th April 2017.

We can't wait to see what ideas you come up with!

RSA Citizens' Economic Council crowdsourcing platform

View the first challenge: 

How can we get a fairer deal on what we buy?

Find out more about the RSA Citizens' Economic Council


Join the discussion


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  • Perhaps we could set up a virtual workshop using design thinking to design the ideal system that facilitates the fairest costs. One thing I have learned from Silicon Valley, and the US in general, is that taking a positive and collaborative approach is the fastest way to develop an iterative solution. If we use a process in stages then everyone involved has a say, this can easily done through google hangouts for example. 

  • It is my view that that tyre is tremendous amount of WASTE in all walks of life in the country. This manifests in different ways. I believe that a sound policy for prevention of waste will itself boost the economy in a significant way. It is better to evolve strategies to save, avoid wastage ad implement fair usage which will be of great benefit to the society.

    For example , energy is wasted in all manner of usage everywhere (electricity, fuel, gas etc) . Food is wasted in the homes, shops, restaurants and other institutions due to lack of strategies- lot of edible food is thrown away at the end of the day for all sorts of reasons ,time is wasted in many institutions by the staff idling away due to lack of work and poor organisation skilled and talented people wasting their talents due to lack of employment, retired people wasting all their highly sophisticated skills because there are not in jobs just to mention a few.

    I believe that a strategy or policy should be evolved in every institution to avoid waste just like we have policies for safety and safeguarding and environmental protection.

    Ramana Alladi 

    • I agree. I think we could cut waste and make an urban economy more resilient at the same time. There would be more work locally that would be longterm if we established more recycling locally. It is something we can learn from poorer areas of developing countries. Obviously there would need to be health guidelines but why can't we recycle much more, repair much more and encourage initiatives and inventions that save energy and costs. Use this to create work and low cost housing and low cost to run housing. Perhaps to  think of a city first as an independent unit and encourage investment from within first so that the local economy is more inclusive. At present all economic activity in cities is focused mainly in the city centres but the people who need the help and work are isolated from it physically and cost of travel makes  it economic. There needs to be work brought to them as well as affordable housing in the centre. More low energy housing would help those on low incomes get out of poverty.    

    • Thanks immensely for your thoughts - it's always so nice to get thoughtful, considered views and perspectives from peers! 

      Our first challenge ostensibly asks whether and how we can get a fairer deal on what we buy. 

      That, of course, provokes the question about what is meant by 'fairer' - but we would consider sustainability to be one of those considerations. 

      We would encourage you to submit an idea that might support both consumers and providers to make purchasing decisions more sustainable: . There will also be forthcoming challenges released over the next couple of months - as mentioned, on citizen relationships to their institutions and on the future of work.

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