Public Sector Hackathons


A primary challenge is the often-observed disconnection between public sector entities and the citizens they are meant to serve. This gap leads to a lack of understanding of citizens’ needs and aspirations, resulting in policies and services that may not effectively address the real issues faced by the community. Another significant challenge is the tendency within the public sector to work in silos. Different departments and agencies often operate independently, without sufficient collaboration or communication. This approach hinders the development of comprehensive, creative solutions to societal challenges, as it fails to leverage the diverse perspectives and expertise available within the public sector and reduces the servants’ capacity to feel empowered within their role.

Furthermore, there is an underutilization of the knowledge and experience of public servants. The civil servants, who are often acutely aware of the system’s shortcomings, are not systematically engaged in reforming or improving political processes. Their insights could be invaluable in developing more effective, citizen-centric policies and services, and embody their double role as civil servants and conscious citizens who have enhanced access to the knowledge related to the government systems and how it operates and serves the society. However, the bureaucrats frequently encounter resistance as to proposing novel solutions and implementing individual ideas or suggestions.


Co-creation is a method to think about challenges and their respective potential solutions by ascertaining the collective intelligence to get creative ideas and enable dealing with complex issues. Implementing co-creation among civil servants can significantly enhance the performance and consensus in public administrations. This approach involves engaging workers at various levels in third-party facilitated workshops to actively participate in the development of policies, processes, and services in structured but creative approaches. By doing so, it harnesses their diverse expertise, experiences, and perspectives, leading to potentially more innovative and effective solutions. Co-creation encourages a culture of teamwork and open communication, breaking down silos within departments and fostering a more collaborative environment, while optimising efforts. This not only improves internal operations but also boosts morale and job satisfaction among employees. Additionally, involving civil servants in co-creation processes helps align public services more closely with the needs and expectations of citizens, leading to greater public trust and satisfaction. Through regular feedback loops and participatory decision-making, administrations can become more responsive and adaptive, effectively addressing the evolving challenges of public governance.

We propose to hold a third-party facilitated workshops within the public administration context where public servants from the different departments come to discuss and generate ideas for a societal issue or challenge. This exercise is meant as a break from the “routine” in favour of more creative dynamics where new forms of collaborations and novel proposals can be made. Such events would happen on a periodic basis (i.e. once or twice a year), and could potentially involve various stakeholders. Having multiple stakeholders is essential to ensure potential collaborations and binding agreements can be made among parties. While this can reduce tokenism, it is also necessary for facilitations to establish clear boundaries of possibility (which might be discussed and pushed) to safeguard the risk of unmet expectations and demands both by the administration structure (politicians, servants, legislation or budgeting) and other involved stakeholders.

Our primary focus is on engaging public sector employees, including civil servants and bureaucrats. By directing our efforts toward this group, often perceived as somewhat detached from the general citizenry, we aim to stimulate political engagement in a segment of society and public administration that has been historically underrepresented. However, our outreach extends to other essential stakeholders, such as representatives from the private sector or NGOs, who facilitate and moderate discussions, contributing diverse perspectives and ideas. In addition, labour unions play a crucial role in deliberating on solutions and their practical implementation. Lastly, political structures within the jurisdiction are key stakeholders, as the proposals ultimately intend to influence and shape their decision-making processes.


The proposed approach to implementing co-creation within public administration holds the potential for a profound impact on fostering a democratic culture. It targets both bureaucrats and citizens, showcasing how the public sector collaborates to address societal issues. Involving civil servants in facilitated workshops encourages collaboration, creativity, and active participation in policy and service development. This not only boosts efficiency and consensus within administrations but also nurtures a culture of teamwork and open communication. The initiative also seeks to inspire citizens to engage more actively in public sector processes. By establishing an accessible collaborative workstream among civil servants and engaging citizens simultaneously, it encourages public involvement. Breaking down departmental silos and incorporating diverse perspectives results in more innovative solutions, enhancing internal operations and boosting employee morale.

Inclusivity is further emphasised by involving various stakeholders, such as private sector representatives, NGOs, labour unions, and political structures. This ensures a comprehensive discussion and the formulation of proposals closely aligned with citizens’ needs. Through periodic events and participatory decision-making, the proposal aims to create a more responsive and adaptive public governance system, ultimately fostering greater public trust and enhancing citizen satisfaction.