“You probably shouldn’t give them too much information” – Supporting Citizen-Government Collaboration
This paper discusses the challenge of supporting digitally mediated citizengovernment collaboration in public service provision. With a vantage point in activity theory and the empirical data from three exploratory design cases, we derive a theoretical framework for understanding the way in which citizens share information with government. Through the proposed framework and the notion of Participatory Citizenship, we propose a set of central design challenges to supporting collaboration within this setting. We argue that civil servants and citizens have inherently different foci in the service provision process. Hence, we conclude that the focus of design should not be to support a shared motive for the overall service delivery, but to support a better common understanding of the case process in itself, i.e. the involved actors, their motives, and their mediating artifacts. Moreover, we argue that the aim of technological support for complex collaboration should not be leaner, more rational case processes, but improved citizen involvement in the configuration of service provision and the alignment of actor motives. Lastly, we exemplify how these design challenges can be met by discussing how a concrete exploratory prototype in the form of a web-based timeline addresses collaboration within a complex service provision setting.