Ben Berkowitz is the Chief Executive Officer of SeeClickFix, a request and work management technology for local governments.  His inspiration for SeeClickFix came from a desire to improve his own community with his neighbors and his government.

Jennifer Bradley:  What does co-creation mean to you?

Ben Berkowitz:  In the context of SeeClickFix, co-creation means empowering residents to decide what the future of their neighborhood looks like in conjunction and collaboration with their governments, their local officials, and their neighbors.

JB: What would you tell an organization or a person that says, “I want to create something with the people that I’m trying to serve”?

BB:  If I’m giving advice to other software developers who are trying to facilitate co-creation amongst organizations, I would say you definitely have to bake in certain mechanisms into the software and be rather opinionated about them.  The platform will be social.  The platform will be transparent.  The platform will be open.  From this openness and transparency, we expect accountability and we expect empowerment.

It really comes down to trusting the fact that the people that you’re inviting into the process want to help, and, even if you had a particular relationship under the old way of doing business with that constituency, that relationship can change. People grow.  A lot of times it’s not about the people, it’s about the system itself.

JB:  What are the values that underlie co-creation for you?

BB:  Transparency is a huge one.  Transparency creates trust.  Transparency creates efficiency by reducing redundancy because you can speak one-to-many, and you can also see when something has already been documented.

Read the rest of the interview with Ben Berkowitz on co-creation at The Aspen Institute.