Integrating the millennial generation into the process of governance offers new opportunities for public agencies and managers. For example, millennials have brought the power of crowdsourcing to local governments. This article in the Huffington Post explains how, using Jersey City as the example:
The opportunity for the cities of the 21st century to thrive lies in moving from antiquated ways of communication and engagement to using emerging technologies as a resource to escalate feedback. It is more than just tweeting or Facebook posts, especially among young adults. Millennials are different. They are eager to serve their communities through technology that at the same time is individually empowering. Millennials are pretty much the opposite of their parents in that they are less ideological and socially more tolerant. They also are technologically advanced enough to find ways to bring about change far more rapidly than generations past.
In Jersey City, we tried to capitalize on the increasing number of millennials becoming residents by using crowdsourcing to fund for a public project, and it actually worked. Working with a local community organization, Sustainable Jersey City, and the Jersey City Art School, BikeJC used the crowdsourcing site ioby.org to raise tens of thousands of dollars in just six weeks for the installation of hundreds of bike racks throughout the city. The crowdsourcing surpassed the initial goal and illustrated the demand for creating better neighborhoods for biking. Residents were able to drop a pin on a Google map precisely where they wanted a rack and then donate with the result being exactly what they envisioned.
As importantly, it showed city residents, who previously might not have been involved much in civic affairs, they have a voice that can bring about change. In Jersey City, we will be using crowdsourcing not just to raise funds for future needs but also to learn where and how government resources should best be used—community petitions for stop signs, for resources, for traffic changes. To help build strong cities, residents must feel they have a voice. Crowdsourcing is the next valuable tool government leaders should encourage.