ABOUT CIVIC INNOVATION NETWORK
Civic Innovation Network (CIN) is a coalition of organisations and individuals who want to transform the way cities work around the common values of openness, collaboration and transparency. At its heart are the core members, individuals who govern and drive the vision of the network. They are supported by the main contributing networks of Hackistan, OuiShare, MakeSense and BIDs Belgium. The circles revolving around the core of CIN are the groups of individuals and communities supporting the project with goodwill, and the group of Public & Private stakeholders contributing to the structural strengths of this dynamic network. CIN was conceived to promote citizen-led changes enabled by technological innovations, that can build sustainable and equitable cities in a collaborative framework.
In the last few years several bottom-up organisations rose to address the challenges our societies face today: environmental degradation, instability in national and international political scenes and the widening gap of inequality, to name but a few. These organisations run projects and set-up active movements contributing to a positive change, both in a city and in a global context. However, if these initiatives have served so far as individual trees, now circumstances require us to think in the context of a forest. The challenges mentioned above will require unprecedented collaboration and innovative solutions. Therefore, instead of existing in a niche, we propose a coalition of individuals and bottom-up organisations in Belgium, to work together on building a better civic society for tomorrow.
The use of the forest metaphor does not imply a large-scale globalised plan, it rather reflects the uniqueness and locality of the network. Hence, we have started boosting the civic innovation in the city of Brussels; we, then, intend to make this framework available in an open-source format that can be adapted and enhanced in other cities.
Our vision is to boost the emergence of a bold technological innovation that can empower citizens to alter the way cities are run. To tackle the challenges of our times we have to propel every actor of society to become an active stakeholder in the implementation of impactful solutions. So far it has been only governments and civic organisations actively debating the challenges of our times and the need to find solutions. However, we must address the systemic nature of the social, economic and environmental challenges we face. Therefore, we propose a multi-stakeholder engagement, aligning citizens and business too, within a framework that recognises the need for deep social and ecological transformation over the long term.
Future of Consumption, Production, Economics, Work, Politics, Education, Healthcare, Culture and Urbanism, all depend on how the people living in Belgium organise themselves in the coming years. We propose a multistakeholder engagement strategy to lead Civic Innovations: we are designing new communication tracks to align citizens, innovators, companies, public institutions, local and national governments. The strategy goes as follows:
- A crowdsourcing phase – a digital platform called ‘Open Wall’ in which citizens can raise issues within each of the aforementioned topics, combined with offline weekly events with community partners and public institutions.
- A call for civic projects/innovators who can tackle the issues raised and prioritised by citizens.
- Pre-screening needs sessions to understand the needs and resources of the civic innovators and of the partners to enable a strategic matchmaking.
- Civic Tech Summit will take place in Brussels. It will be an occasion where citizens, entrepreneurs, cutting-edge innovators, corporate actors and public officials gather for three days of deep immersion, co-creation and formal collaborations. It will be organised as an action lab focusing on the building of formal collaborations between public & private organisations and civic innovators, along with sessions of international speakers.
- Follow-up sessions to sustain the fruitful collaborations which lead organically into the implementation phase.
Our final goal is, indeed, to build a resilient dynamic between companies and institutions with impactful projects, within an open, collaborative and win-win multistakeholder framework.