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Toolkit aims to unlock people-led innovation in cities

The two organisations are actively seeking collaborations with city governments to implement and assess People-Led Innovation

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GovLab and the Bertelsmann Foundation want to help cities draw on public knowledge
GovLab and the Bertelsmann Foundation want to help cities draw on public knowledge

A new online tool aims to help public officials and government stakeholders in the US make better use of people and their expertise to innovate and address public challenges.

 

Peopleledinnovation.org is designed to support the People-Led Innovation initiative launched by the Governance Lab (GovLab), based at New York University Tandon School of Engineering, and the Washington DC-based Bertelsmann Foundation think-tank.

 

People: the often overlooked asset

 

The toolkit provides city officials with targeted guidance and methodologies for making better use of policymakers’ most valuable, but what GovLab refers to as the “often overlooked, asset” of people. Tools and resources also aim to better inform citizen engagement efforts.

 

“In the modern era of governance where municipalities increasingly face incredibly complex challenges, the need for innovation is clear,” said Jeffrey Brown, manager of future of work and artificial intelligence at the Bertelsmann Foundation. “Cities need to go beyond providing innovative solutions – they also need to transform and modernise the way those solutions are developed.”

 

The methodology is built on previous work undertaken at The GovLab, including Civic Challenges and Smarter Crowdsourcing, and through the Bertelsmann Foundation’s Transatlantic Policy Lab project. People-Led Innovation was also chosen as one of the winning projects showcased at the 2018 Paris Peace Forum, convened by Emmanuel Macron and Angela Merkel.

"Cities need to go beyond providing innovative solutions – they also need to transform and modernise the way those solutions are developed”

It is rooted in the idea that unlocking and applying the expertise of people requires city government decision-makers to design engagements “with a focus on curation”: “ensuring that the problems, solutions, inputs, and approaches remain targeted and implementable rather than ill-defined and un-actionable”. The methodology comprises four key phases: define and curate problems; ideate and curate solutions; experiment and curate capacity; and expand and curate feedback.

 

GovLab and the Bertelsmann Foundation are now actively seeking collaborations with city governments to implement and assess the effectiveness of People-Led Innovation.

 

“The People-Led Innovation initiative is built on the idea that, as governments increasingly experiment with new means for drawing on the public’s knowledge and skills to address common challenges, one-size-fits-all citizen engagement efforts are often too broad and unwieldy to surface useful insights for city governments,” said Stefaan Verhulst, co-founder and chief research and development officer of GovLab.

 

“This new initiative provides city officials with a more strategic and actionable consideration of the most effective ways to engage the right people for the right task at the right time.”

 

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