Oasis of 10 Million Imagination

Date 2017-03-17 Category E-Government Updater hyelyn
Last Update

Policy Background and Goals

Before the introduction of Oasis Policy, citizens of Seoul had to visit City Hall in person and had to wait in a long line to make policy suggestions. In addition, the policy determination process was not opened to the public; therefore, there were no incentives or advantages to making policy suggestions. For this reason, it was difficult for citizens to get involved in the policy decision-making process. More importantly, citizens’ participation in the decision-making process was still a novel concept, and the only way citizens could participate was through filing civil complaints. However, due to the nature of making complaints, both citizens and the City Government were missing out on a huge opportunity to draw positive and creative energy from having citizens participate in the policy decision-making process.

In order to solve this intrinsic problem of citizen participation, the SMG introduced the Oasis of 10 Million Imagination policy that enables citizens express their opinions of policy suggestions and ideas to the city government. After introducing the policy, citizens of Seoul can now make suggestions and recommendations regarding a wide range of city policies, and they are assured that their opinions and suggestions will be seriously considered during the decision-making process.

Figure 2-31. Oasis of 10 Million Imagination: An Overview

Source. Seoul Metropolitan Government. (2014). Digital Seoul e-Government

The most distinctive feature of Oasis 10 Million Imagination Policy is that the new system allows citizens to express their opinions as policy suggestions and public management concerns to the SMG. Previously, citizens can make policy suggestions, but this was no more than a formality due to the high cost of submitting the suggestions and the complicated and undisclosed policy decision-making process that thwarted citizens from active participation. As a result, the Oasis 10 Million Imagination Policy offered a chance for Seoul citizens to be creative and participate in the policy decision-making process of the SMG.
1. Promoting Citizens’ Participation with respect to the Policy Decision Making Process
  • Reduced Policy Suggestion Cost for Anyone
  • Active Utilization of Citizens’ Policy Creativity
2. Reducing Barriers of Policy Suggestion from Seoul Citizen
  • A More Convenient Platform With Respect To Policy Suggestions From the Citizens’ Point of View
3. Enhancing Efficacy and Feasibility of Seoul’s Policy from Citizens’ Points of View
  • To promote Increased Mutual Understanding of Public Policy Between Citizens and Government
  • To produce Citizen-centered Public Policy
4. Promoting a Creative and Casual Atmosphere for the Policy Suggestions from the Citizen 


Seoul City Special Operations Strategy

• User Interface design for enhanced usability

UI has been designed to maximize user-friendliness by reducing any inherent weakness and degradation in service due to the high risk of falling into a text-based board type website. It mainly focused on improving readability of the suggestion and status search list, and the page was designed for easy supplemental functions, such as suggestion adding and voting.

 • Strengthen response level through use of experts and administration evaluations.

The level of the answers for selected opinions was improved due to the opinion and consulting on the suggestions by the administration experts and civilian administrative assessors. If the department staff have time constraints and are unable to answer, assessors can perform an ancillary role to complement the response.

 • Ensure citizen participation through the operation of mileage membership

As it is a service that cannot be operated without being based on the participation of citizens, the main focus is to derive continuous, active citizen participation. Through the use of the existing Seoul mileage system, mileage is paid to users who login and use ‘Oasis of 10 Million Imagination’. Since objective incentive is paid according to the activity, the service will be established as a place for regular visits and activities instead of just a one-off visit.

 Major Expectations

• Administration built together by citizens and city.

• Reduction of citizen complaints and dissatisfaction through the active collection of citizen opinions.

• Open administration achieved through making public the proposal, review, and adoption of policies.

• No more suspension or difficulty in finding information on a certain policy when the person in charge is absent or changed.

Law Provisions

• National Proposal Regulation (Presidential Decree)

Performance and Outcome

1. High Rate of Use by the Citizens    

  • Total Number of Proposals Accepted: 165,824 (As of Dec. 2016)
  • Number of Selected Proposals: 841 cases (0.50%)

Table 2-4. Oasis of 10 Million Imagination: Proposals from the Citizen

  TOTAL 2006-2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016
RECEIVED 165,824 136,379 7,610 8,031 6,650 4,742 2,659
ACCEPTED 841 324 125 116 119 97 60
RATE (%) 0.50 0.23 1.64 1.43 1.78 2.04 2.25

Source. Seoul Metropolitan Government. (2014). Digital Seoul e-Government 

2. Considerable Citizen Participation in Terms of Policy Suggestion

  • Number of Subscribers → Approximately 71,000 citizens
  • Average Daily Visits → Approximately 227 citizens 
  • Number of Received Policy Proposals from Citizens → Approximately 166,000 cases
  • Number of Accepted Policies in Actual Policy Process → Total 841 policies

Table 2-5. Oasis of 10 Million Imagination: Cases

Source. Seoul Metropolitan Government. (2016). Oasis Operation Report


• High Citizen Usage Rate

+ Number of members: 70,379 people
+ Number of users: Monthly average number of suggestions, 669 cases (Average daily visits – 227 people)

• High number of adoptions - Administration management to actively reflect citizen opinion

Total 152,000 opinions received, monthly average of 669 cases proposed, number of cases adopted – 565 cases

• Received 2009 UN Public Service Awards

Policy Details

Unlike other e-Communication policies such as Eung-Dap-So, 120 Dasan Call Center or the mVoting, the Oasis of 10 Million Imagination places more emphasis on Public Policy Suggestions through active citizen participation.

Figure 2-32. Oasis of 10 Million Imagination: A Summary of Performance

Source. Seoul Metropolitan Government. (2014). Digital Seoul e-Government

More specifically, in terms of the policy suggestion process, Oasis is basically dependent upon citizens’ imaginative policy ideas on Seoul’s public policy. Once the ideas and policy suggestions have been submitted to Oasis, other citizens can also participate by voting on which suggestions are the best ideas and which are worthy of serious consideration. Once this is complete, SMG officials can review the few selected ideas and decide whether they will translate a suggested idea into an actual administration policy.

Major Functions 

Submitting Policy Ideas & Proposals

General Policy Proposal: Citizens can submit any idea if it is related to Seoul. Regardless of any topic and field, citizens can present any suggestion and other citizens can vote on the “best idea.”
Policy Proposals on fixed themes from each department of SMG: Citizens can subscribe to a proposal from a set of policy subjects designated by different departments in a specific period.  

Developing Suggested Proposals for Policy Implementation through the Citizen Evaluator and the Policy Professional

Since Oasis aims to produce an actual policy, the proposals from the citizens are reviewed and revised by a policy specialist. To realize citizens’ creative ideas and policy needs, Oasis includes a suggestion evaluation process for policy implementation feasibility.

Sharing Status and detailed Contents of the Selected Proposals through Social Media

If the suggested policy can actually be realized, the SMG officers provide the government’s opinion about the neccesity, effectiveness, feasibility and the required budget for the policy.
If it is either an unrealistic or impracticable policy, the SMG officers in charge would provide explanations as to why it was not accepted based on reasonable criteria of validity, effectiveness, budget and regulating ordinances.  

Citizens’ Vote for Best Proposal

Fellow citizens can express their opinions and let the authorities know which policies are their favorites through e-voting. In this case, any suggestion that earns more than 10 votes from the citizens can be reviewed by public officers and the department in charge to consider whether to adopt the suggestion or not. The government’s review decisions are soon posted as a form of notice.

Details and Composition

Proposal Evaluation Teams

Table 2-6. Oasis of 10 Million Imagination: Proposals from the Citizen

Source. Seoul Metropolitan Government. (2016). Oasis 10 Million Imagination Operation Report.

The most important goal and mission of Oasis 10 Million Imagination is to produce actual policies based on citizens’ points of view. In order to develop citizens’ policy needs and creativity, professional experts are involved in the support and review process. How the SMG will go about realizing the dreams of the citizens into an actual policy is the key success factor of Oasis. Therefore, Oasis provides professional policy supports to citizens’ proposals. Specifically, there are two teams of evaluators, which are made up of Internal Experts (retired public officers) and External Policy Experts from various related fields. Determining whether to accept the proposal or not depends on these professional teams’ evaluation responses.


Oasis: Policy Proposal Process

Figure 2-33. illustrates the detailed adoption process for the Citizens’ policy proposal through the Oasis. User Interface Design is emphasized to enhance usability in order to encourage citizens’ active participation. Policy evaluation plays a critical part in this process, as this is the part where the SMG provides professional responses to the suggestions. Since the service cannot be operated without citizens’ interest and enthusiasm, the policy additionally ensures citizen participation through the operation of membership.

Figure 2-33.  Oasis of 10 Million Imagination: Proposals Adoption Process

Oasis Web Site Composition

Figure. 2-34. Oasis of 10 Million Imagination: Web Site Composition


Case of Tokyo, Japan

Figure 2-35. Tokyo Metropolitan Government, Japan Website: The Main Page in English

Retrieved from http://www.metro.tokyo.jp/ENGLISH/index.htm

e-Government Profile: Tokyo Metropolitan Government (Source: Holzer & Manoharan, 2016)

One of the Top 20 Cities in Digital Governance from 2005 to 2009

  • 15th in 2015 Digital Gov. Ranking
  • 7th in 2005 and 2007
  • 5th in 2009 Digital Gov. Ranking of Asian Cities
  • 11th in Service Measurement (2009)
  • 19th in Citizen Participation Measurement (2009)
Figure 2-36 illustrates the Suggestion Page for the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. In this case, all information is provided in foreign languages, including English, Chinese and Korean. The site provides added convenience to non-natives as the Suggestion application forms are also in English.

Figure 2-36. Tokyo Metropolitan Government: Suggestion Page for Government

Retrieved from http://www.metro.tokyo.jp/ENGLISH/index.htm

This web page allows citizens of Tokyo to send opinions and policy suggestions. Once completed, all submissions are forwarded automatically to appropriate departments for review and consideration. All departments in the Tokyo Metropolitan Government are linked to this single web page, so citizens no longer need to go through the complicated organizational chart to figure out the responsible office and get the appropriate contact number. Nevertheless, in terms of the transparency and convenience, the Tokyo Metropolitan Government could provide notices in real-time, letting citizens know how their submitted suggestions are being processed to ensure transparency.

Figure 2-37. A List of Annual & Monthly Reports of Tokyo Citizens’ Voice

Retrieved from http://www.metro.tokyo.jp/ENGLISH/index.htm

One interesting feature of the Tokyo case is that the Tokyo Metropolitan Government uploads and provides the annual and monthly reports of Tokyo Citizens’ Voice on their web page. All monthly reports and recent annual reports are on the web page for citizens to view. The detailed annual report includes opinions, messages and suggestions from Tokyo citizens, and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government provides information about how the government handled the cases and what its positions were for each individual case.

Figure 2-38. Annual and Monthly Report of Tokyo Citizens’ Voice

Retrieved from http://www.metro.tokyo.jp/ENGLISH/index.htm