Print Friendly and PDF
only search openDemocracy.net

A new wave of applied innovation in our cities

Citizen producers take advantage of networked knowledge and benefit from new available production spaces. New skills and know-how are required, however, for the inclusion of all social sectors. Español, Português

Citizens of Barcelona assemble a Smart Citizen Kit to access open data. Photo: Gui Seiz, All Rights Reserved.

This piece is an excerpt from an original article published as part of the eBook El ecosistema de la Democracia Abierta series, which can be found here.

Throughout the previous years, innovation processes have undergone a constant evolution in relation to the focus which they give to problems and their solutions, going through different stages that start with producer innovation to user innovation, and finally to consumer innovation.

However, and given the fast-paced advances in technology of our times, it could be said that we have arrived at a stage of open innovation or even free innovation, where thanks to open sharing of knowledge, insights that play a key role in conflict resolution can be detected.

However, having arrived up until this point has not been due to chance or passing of time. The combination of participation and citizen capacities with digital technology and open and collaborative strategies are transforming innovation in every environment. Aspects such as housing, food and health care are spheres that have been dealt with during this process of change.

With different examples of applied innovation, the article explains the diverse solutions by means of citizen participation that could be created for issues of a social nature. It also deals with contributory production, citizen labour, citizen health and citizen nutrition and the political and public implications that these initiatives have.

Ultimately, it highlights the importance of establishing collaborative principles between cities and their citizens, in such a way that ideas can be valued and recognised in processes of co-creation of physical and digital spaces within a territory.

Additionally, it draws attention to the importance of promoting and encouraging participation in these initiatives though various types of incentives whilst emphasising the necessity of deontological code and commitment that becomes the roadmap of open and collaborative citizen based innovation.

About the authors

Mara Balestrini (@marabales) es socia y directora de investigación en Ideas for Change. Se especializa en temas de innovación y diseño de intervenciones tecnológicas participativas para ciudades. Es doctora en Human-Computer Interaction por el University College London (UCL), miembro de la red UCL Engineering Exchange y gerente de proyectos del Fab Lab Barcelona. 

Valeria Righi (@valesbriz) es investigadora senior de Ideas for Change y doctora en Human-Computer Interaction por la Universitat Pompeu Fabra de Barcelona. Se especializa en la inclusión social de colectivos más desfavorecidos mediante Tecnologías de la información y la Comunicación. 


We encourage anyone to comment, please consult the
oD commenting guidelines if you have any questions.