Projectskeyboard_arrow_rightUsing Collective Intelligence to Solve Public Problems

Using Collective Intelligence to Solve Public Problems

How can institutions use technology to solve problems with groups?

    Governance Area
  • City Governance Regional Governance National Governance
  • Institution Type
  • Public sector
  • Innovative Capability
  • Collective Intelligence Citizen Engagement Open Innovation Policy Making Service Delivery
  • Product Category
  • Research Report Practical Guide Case Studies Strategy Training


Making progress in how we understand, think and act together is critical to solving some of the most complex challenges of our times – from climate change to inequality. By focusing on advancing knowledge and practical applications of collective intelligence in fields with public benefit we aim to demonstrate how every organisation can tackle problems more successfully if it tapped into a ‘bigger mind’.




NESTA Centre for Collective Intelligence Design


Drawing on earlier work by The GovLab and NESTA, this research will identify and examine cases where governments, in particular cities, have used collective intelligence (CI) to better understand and solve problems, generate a wider range of possible solutions, make more inclusive decisions that can support collective action, co-implement initiatives and monitor, evaluate and adjust programs. This will include a specific focus on the institutionalization of these CI initiatives: the organisational arrangements and contexts that have enabled CI processes to be initiated, conducted, and integrated with existing governance approaches, so as to draw out the conditions, capabilities and structures that help to optimise institutionalisation of CI in public sector organisations. Cases will include a mix of those with demonstrated institutional and social impact and those showcasing emergent practice, and will consider the benefits and risks of technology used in CI processes.

A key aim of the research will be to create a practical guide or a set of design principles that institutions such as local authorities, interested in collective intelligence as a method, can use when developing new projects and initiatives.

Know of any examples of governments employing collective intelligence to understand and solve public problems? Email us at [email protected].


Board of Advisors

Mara Balestrini
Partner & CEO, Ideas for Change
Stefana Broadbent
Associate Professor Department of Design Politecnico di Milano
Christiana Freitas
Associate Professor Researcher at the National Institute of Science & Technology on Digital Democracy / InCT.DD
Francois Grey
Co-Director, Center for Citizen CyberScience
Indy Johar
Co-Founder, Dark Matter Labs
Myung Lee
Executive Director, Cities of Service
Tom Malone
Founding Director, MIT Centre for Collective Intelligence
Cecilia Nicolini
Research Affiliate, MIT Centre for Collective Intelligence
Lex Paulson
Director, School of Collective Intelligence Université Mohammed VI Polytechnique
Tiago Peixoto
Senior Public Sector Specialist, Governance Global Practice, World Bank Group
Carolina Pozo
Co-Founder, Knowledge Economy Initiative
Rebecca Rumbul
Head of Research, MySociety

Results & Impact

Research commenced in September 2019. Research findings and related resources will be published early in 2020 and be made freely accessible.



Matt Ryan

Sam DeJohn

Anirudh Dinesh