Creativity management of the Seoul Metropolitan Government drew attention in the June issue of ‘Public Performance & Management Review’
The Banpo bridge fountain, Cheonggyecheon’s wall of marriage proposal, a culture program named ‘happiness of 1000 won’ and the recent designation as World Design Capital are some of the examples of suggestions that citizens and public officials turned into policies.
The creativity management of the Seoul Metropolitan Government is attracting the attention of the world as a new model of administration. Seoul city has continued to provide citizens and officials with the opportunities to participate in governmental processes by submitting their ideas and suggestions. An article titled, “Creativity Management in public Organizations” was published in the June issue of Public Performance & Management Review, a renowned academic journal in the United States. This paper covers the management model of the Seoul Metropolitan Government. The creativity management of Seoul was introduced as a new administration model in the article. And this is very meaningful in that public officials and scholars around the world are learning new administrative practices through this journal. It is expected to spread further, because the journal’s credibility is high, ranking 6th out of 39 international academic journals in this field.
Public Performance & Management Review started its publication in 1975, addresses abroad range of factors influencing the performance of public organizations and agencies. Every paper submitted to the journal should pass strict judgement procedures for months, receiving harsh criticism and questions from the chief editor and renowned scholars. Because of the strict judgement procedures, only 20% of the articles submitted pass the screening.
Established a process putting ideas into practice … 13% of the suggestions have been implemented as policies.
Evan M. Berman, National Chengchi University and Kim Chan-Gon, vice chief of Songpa-Gu, Seoul collaborated in writing the article last year.
The authors said that creativity management is an effective approach for encouraging new ideas and solutions and broadening innovation practices in public organizations. And it can be applied to local governments in the U.S. and around the world.
They also said that the creativity management of Seoul is outstanding in that an effective process putting a huge amount of ideas and suggestions into practice has been established, and that is actually stimulating the creativity of public officials.
The article found that during a two-year period from June, 2006 to May, 2008, public officials of the metropolitan government proposed 62,666 ideas, and citizens 11,846 ideas, which is a whopping 45 times increase compared with the annual average from 1997 to 2006. Surprisingly, as many as 13 percent of the suggestions were selected for implementation.
Over the last 4 years, 4,639 ideas have been implemented. The Banpo Bridge Fountain and the Happiness of 1000 won event are successful examples.
The authors surveyed 1,194 managers and employees of the metropolitan government, and the results show that the percentage of officials who now view their divisions as innovative doubled in a two-year period, from 16 percent to 33 percent, thus providing further evidence of jump-starting innovation.
According to the analysis of the authors, thanks to the strong will of the metropolitan government such a successful innovation has been possible. Seoul city has provided various incentives and implemented education and training programs to stimulate the creativity of government officials.
Since it’s inauguration, the metropolitan government has encouraged its employees to consider administration from a citizens’ point of view. This philosophy has become the foundation of the city’s various policies such as ‘the Imagination Bank’ which is a channel to make suggestions, education and training to enhance creativity, various incentives for more suggestions and ‘the creativity presentation’ to implement ideas as policies.
The creative management of the city has contributed greatly to the realization of citizen governance. Seoul city has run a portal website, ‘Seoul Oasis’ (www.seouloasis.net) which allows citizens to freely exchange their ideas and suggestions on municipal policies. The city government also holds a meeting every other month to implement some outstanding ideas from citizens.
210,324 ideas have been registered at the Imagination Bank which is a channel to collect suggestions of employees, and 4,464 of those have been implemented. 175 out of 98,480 ideas registered at Seoul Oasis, which is a channel for citizens have been implemented.