| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
a. Policy Expo Planning Committee laying out the basic plan (April ~ July 2013)
In 2013, the city government organized the Policy Expo Planning Committee with 12 citizens. The committee laid out the basic plan for the expo in the direction that it would be “planned, organized, and run by citizens”. The committee members were experts with varied specialties, including issues of youth, women, and welfare. Thanks to their hard work between April and July 2013, they came up with the basic plan for the expo consisting of eight major events.
b. Policy Expo Citizen Supporters producing detailed expo plans (July ~ September 2013)
In order for citizens to put together all the details of the expo plan, the city government organized an expo supporter group with 47 citizens from 5 community groups. The group worked on all the details of the expo plan from July to September 2013. It designed the main exhibition venue (Seoul Plaza); carried out various PR campaigns, and persuaded more than a hundred NGOs to participate in the expo. On the day of the expo, they were in charge of the entire operation, with some even working as guides for visitors.
c. Full information disclosure to NGOs ahead of time (July 31 ~ September 28, 2013)
In July 2013, the city government held an orientation meeting for NGOs interested in the expo. A total of 51 organizations participated. The objectives and characteristics of the expo were fully explained. All the details available, at the time ranging from the location of 20 conference halls to the availability of beam projectors, were provided to the participants. NGOs’ valuable feedback was reflected on the detailed expo plan.
d. Active on/offline PR boosting citizens’ participation (August 19 ~ September 28, 2013)
In August, the city government opened a website for the expo. The objectives, main events, incentives, and fun family programs were emphasized. For the social media population, it opened a Facebook account, and through the account the city government connected to many various Facebook pages, encouraging the social media users to participate in the expo. The city government sent out 185,000 e-mail messages advertising the expo and launched banner ads for the expo on Naver and Daum, the two biggest web portals in the country.
In terms of offline advertising, the city government delivered expo pamphlets to 3,818 community organizations, posted ads on 27,733 digital screens on buses and subway cars, and attached 2,000 posters in key locations. It also had an expo PR printed on the back of a total of 3.16 million property tax bills.
e. 2013 Policy Expo for Seoul of Hope (September 28, 2013)
On Saturday, September 28, the Seoul Metropolitan Government staged its second policy expo at Seoul Plaza, encompassing City Hall, and City Council. City Hall held 19 discussion forums organized and run by community organizations and showcased the presentation/exhibition of citizens’ outstanding inventions. The City Council hosted a discussion on youth unemployment as part of the discourse on the visions of the Seoul Metropolitan Government in collaboration with the Seoul League of Young Voters. Seoul Plaza, the main venue, had a policy exhibition staged by 124 NGOs. Among many other facilities and programs held in the plaza were a speakers’ corner and a “Seoul Imagination Map” filled with citizens’ diverse policy ideas.
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
a. Policy Expo Planning Committee
Composed of various experts, the Policy Expo Planning Committee crafted the basic plan for the 2013 expo. It also introduced some fresh ideas about the expo such as, suggesting that experts be on hand at the expo for on-site counseling services, and that the city government open its conference facilities for various discussion forums. It also proposed expanding the participation of civil society and how to transform Seoul Plaza into a discussion-friendly space.
b. Policy Expo Citizen Supporters
Composed of 47 citizens from 5 community organizations, Citizen Expo Supporters created detailed actions plans for the expo. They were also responsible for all publicity efforts and are publicly credited with the success of the expo. Since the supporters were mostly employed professionals and college students, their meetings were held in evenings or on holidays. The city is deeply indebted to them.
On September 28, 68 volunteer citizens helped turn the expo into a great success, working hard for a crowd of more than 30,000 citizens.
d. Civilian experts
A total of 30 civilian experts participated in the Policy Idea Market. They helped citizens, before and during, present their ideas to the mayor and department heads of the city government on Expo Day.
e. Public officials from Seoul Innovation Bureau
On behalf of the city government, Seoul Innovation Bureau took the lead in the preparations for the expo. It fully supported the Policy Expo Planning Committee and Policy Expo Citizen Supporters, signed contracts, contacted the city council and district offices to secure their cooperation, set up booths in Seoul Plaza, and prepared many conference halls to host discussion forums.
f. Public officials in other departments of the city government
Public officials in other departments held discussions on district issues. They also worked on the discussion forum and successfully held the Citizens’ Invention Contest in City Hall. In addition, they summed up citizens’ policy ideas presented at the Citizens’ Policy Idea Market and made all the necessary follow-up measures.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
a. Financial resources
For the expo, the city government spent 107 million KRW on the installation of 150 exhibition booths for 124 community organizations in Seoul Plaza and 16 booths in the lobby of the New City Hall for the Citizens’ Policy Idea Market, publishing of program leaflets, and purchasing citizens’ policy ideas. A total of 143 civic organizations financially contributed to the expo, publishing their policy discussion materials and pamphlets for forums, installing experience facilities, and producing videos for their policy exhibitions.
The Seoul Pharmaceutical Association, Peace Face Association, and Seoul Volunteer Center provided their valuable services free of charge. The Youth Community Neighborhood Organization installed children’s play facilities in the plaza at their own expense.
b. Human resources
The city government assigned three officials to the expo. A total of 23 Public officials worked on the day of the expo, with 12 civilians serving in the Policy Expo Planning Committee. 47 citizens worked as Policy Expo Citizen Supporters, and 68 volunteers served on the day of the exposition.
c. City government’s support in terms of facilities and PR
The city government provided 19 discussion venues for the expo. It offered digital signage in the subway, streets, and rooftops, opened a website, and sent out e-mails to 185,000 citizens, all for the expo’s publicity. It also printed an expo ad on more than three million property tax bills of the city.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
a. Citizens’ suggestions getting adopted as municipal policies
The city government implements the citizens’ expo suggestions. The proposals cover various areas such as safety, transportation, and city finances. For instance, one of the 44 suggestions adopted by the city government at the 2012 expo proposed installing a general bus stop information display at each bus stop. Previously, passengers had to check a number of bus stop information signs installed at intervals along the street due to the relatively well-developed mass transit system of the city. Now, passengers can look at the general display to figure out where their buses stop. The display also shows information in key foreign languages.
b. Participation of 143 Diverse NGOs
A total of 143 community organizations advocating various causes participated in policy exhibitions in the plaza and policy discussions in conference halls. The expo is the only occasion wherein so many social service organizations in the city get together and discuss all aspects of city administration.
c. 19 civic organizations staging policy discussions
A total of 19 NGOs took charge in the preparations and operations of policy discussion forums held in the New City Hall. They decided on the discussion topics and panelists, prepared discussion materials, and assumed responsibility for putting their conference venues in order. They mostly staged discussions on unheard-of topics.
For example, a discussion dealt with how to better use the rooftops of multi-unit houses (Seoul has many of them). The conclusion was that using them wisely could pave the way for the recovery of the community spirit in the mega city.
Participants talked about the possibility of using the space for community meetings with food, music, and perhaps movies, particularly in apartment buildings with smaller living room space. Social media such as Facebook could be used to allow all of the residents to voice their opinions. Additionally, some proposed using the space as community vegetable gardens or rest (healing) space. They concurred that the Seoul Metropolitan Government could not afford to leave the unused space on rooftops of a great number of multi-unit housing as it is.
d. 31,000 citizens participating in policy discussions
A total of 31,000 citizens participated in the 2013 policy expo. Previously, a select group of citizens participated in policymaking as part of various committees. The number of citizens who came to the expo to express their ideas on municipal administration increased dramatically. It is a success in its own right, with more than 31,000 citizens coming to the expo to discuss policies. It is a big step toward participatory governance in the city.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
a. Expo White paper
The city government arranges for professional writers to put everything about the expo in writing. They interview a large number of people involved in the expo including officials in the city government, members of the Policy Expo Planning Committee and Policy Expo Citizen Supporters, volunteers on the day of the exposition, and citizens and representatives of community organizations that participated in the expo. The white paper becomes a valuable source for discussions on the future development of the expo.
b. Survey among participating organizations
Following the completion of the expo, a survey is conducted among the organizations that took part. Questions include the backgrounds for their participation, their evaluation of the expo: including positive and negative aspects, and their suggestions on the future development of the expo.
Of the 143 community organizations that participated in the event, 110 gave their opinions. At least 85 organizations said that they would like to participate in future policy expos, with 90% of the respondents expressing satisfaction.
c. Monitoring by the relevant departments
Public officials sat in on all policy discussions of the 2013 expo to record citizens’ proposals and discussions. Officials (department heads) participated in discussions only when asked.
They also visited the policy booths in Seoul Plaza, checked the NGOs’ policy advocacy, and had in-depth discussions with the representatives. They are looking into ways of reflecting the opinions they collected in the city’s policies.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
a. Uncertainty over participation by civic organizations
Civic organizations’ participation was crucial for the success of the expo. To discover lesser known yet highly qualified NGOs, the city government used the Internet and social media instead of mass media and subsequently contacted them over the phone. It asked interested organizations to recommend other admirable groups. As a result, it found 143 NGOs willing to participate in the city’s policy fair.
b. Selection of an easily accessible location that could accommodate a large crowd
Easy access through the city’s mass transit system was key to the decision of the expo’s location. It was decided that the expo would be staged in Seoul Plaza and City Hall, which are accessible via Subway Lines 1 and 2 in addition to a number of bus routes. The locations are very familiar to the citizens as there are nearby tourist attractions such as ancient palaces and Cheonggyecheon (Stream), and shopping districts like Jongno and Myeong-dong .
To attract an even bigger crowd, the simultaneous launch of Village Expo in Seoul Plaza was decided. The expo helped enrich the contents of the policy expo. It included Village Markets, Village Broadcasting Stations, and Village Photography Exhibitions.
c. Expo policy proposals may lack quality
Citizens’ policy ideas are often fresh yet unrealistic. To ensure that quality policy ideas are presented at the expo, the city government joined hands with web portal Daum to try to collect citizens’ ideas online in advance.
A total of 1,421 policy ideas were submitted online, 243 of which were chosen by Policy Expo Supporters as excellent ideas. At present, the city government is still reviewing them.