Why Labs? workshop report
Why Labs? workshop report: Empowering citizens as drivers of innovation in Smart Cities
Why Labs? workshop report: Empowering citizens as drivers of innovation in Smart Cities
In the context of the EIP SCC ‘Citizen Focus’ action cluster, the city of Barcelona and the European Network of Living Labs co-organized on April 15th in Brussels a workshop called “Why Labs? Empowering citizens as drivers of innovation in Smart Cities”.
The workshop, moderated by Mr. Jarmo Eskelinen (CEO of Forum Virium Helsinki and Chair of ENoLL), brought together around 60 attendees cities and city stakeholders that had implemented or planned actions to empower and involve citizens in urban innovation large scale projects.
The European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities is one of the Europe’s key initiatives to foster economic growth in line with the Europe2020 goals and Horizon 2020 strategy. The three pillars of the EIP SCC initiative are Mobility, Energy and ICT. The EIP is structured in two different bodies: 1) the High Level Group (HLG) consisting of high-level representatives from industry, research activities and cities; and, 2) the Market Place, joining about 3.000 members, and grouped into 6 Action Clusters: Business models, Integrated Infrastructures & Processes (including Open Data), Policy & Regulations / Integrated Planning, Sustainable Districts and Built Environment, Sustainable Urban Transport and Citizen Focus.
The Action Cluster on Citizen Focus aims at engaging citizens in the deployment of smart cities around Europe. It entails their empowerment, fostering cooperation to evolve the concept of “city as a laboratory”. Its members include among other innovation centres, universities, industries (including SMEs), and entrepreneurs (start-ups). The Action Cluster Citizen group is divided into 2 subgroups: Living Labs and innovation spaces and Knowledge sharing on citizen engagement.
The welcome words from Maria Galindo (City of Barcelona and Sherpa of the European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities and Communities) opened the workshop describing the context of the workshop (the EIP SCC marketplace) and the current situation and position of Barcelona city.
Anne Deltour (DG Connect H5 Unit at the European Commission) provided an overview on the insight of the EC on the field of Smart Cities, emphasizing the need of Europe for a common Smart Cities framework to create market, thus taking advantage of the potential of this sector to create jobs and growth. As response to some of the audience’s questions in relation to inclusion, she highlighted that the scope of smart cities within the thinking of the European Commission is the EIP with focus on Energy, Mobility and ICT and with current targets linked to Energy and Climate goals. She explained that inclusion is not a priority focus, but it is important and it is considered as a horizontal building block.
Jarmo Eskelinen (CEO Forum Virium and Chair of ENoLL) introduced his speech highlighting the current vision of ENoLL as a network: “Empowering everyone to innovate”. According to his views the urban interfaces everywhere have radically changed the way we experiment cities and have created new ways of urbanism. In relation to the way we use technology in cities Jarmo compared Internet service design and the public service design, emphasizing the role of innovation communities. According to Mr. Eskelinen labs come into action in key aspects such as the combination of top-down with grassroots innovation, since digitalisation is not owned by anyone; the generation of a Smart City Roadmap requires brining all stakeholders together to identify needs and co-create solutions, turning into a permanent urban innovation hub = THE LAB that needs to be the entity negotiating interests among different stakeholders and connect city and citizens. Jarmo announced that urban living labs are joining forces (Connected Smart Cities), thus, they better support open data, processes and other tools for urban progress. The Living Labs build co-created services, educate people and connect people and stakeholders together. The labs are an important movement in Europe and are joining forces. Mr. Eskelinen closed his intervention presenting to the workshop participants the handbook “Citizen driven Innovation”, co-production of the World Bank and ENoLL, a production that targets city mayors and city officials and that provide a lot of insights about the role of labs in the city context.
The first panel discussion, called “promoting physical environments for citizen participation and engagement” brought together representatives from FabLabs (Barcelona). Makers Labs (Kwest Bristol), Smart Citizen Lab (Waag Society, Amsterdam) and CitiLabs (Cornellá). With different scope and activities all these labs focus on engaging and empowering citizens. According to Frank Kresin (Waag society, Amsterdam) technology is not neutral and needs to be open, fair and inclusive. Waag society has set up the Smart Citizen Lab for better informed and engaged citizens by empowering people e.g. to create their own sensor networks. Mr. Kresin introduced Waag Society as an organization that explores emerging technologies, and gives art and culture a central role in the designing of new applications for novel advances in science and technology. The organisation concerns itself not only with technologies related to the Internet, but also with those related to biotechnology and the cognitive sciences. Tomas Rodriguez introduced the concept of Fablabs, Fablab network and provided some examples based in Barcelona. With a future vision of bringing production back to people Fablabs work out the endless loop relationship in between technology and society. Mr. Rodriguez highlighted the role of Fablabs as a tool for citizens to produce what they need, bringing back the power of production. Carolyn Hassan, Director of KWEST Media Centre in Bristol, explained KWMC focuses on achieving cultural, social and economic regeneration by involving the community in media, arts, educational activities and action. Carolyn described some of their local projects in Bristol and emphasized the importance of the Ethical issues in personal data handling. Mr. Artur Serra closed the panel presentations introducing Citilab (Cornellá, Barcelona), a centre for social and digital innovation with a vision of developing an universal innovation system and democratizing innovation.
This panel was followed by a presentation linked to the importance of Open technologies and open platforms to develop Smart Cities while highly stimulating entrepreneurship and creating an ecosystem with strong citizen engagement component. Pieter Ballon (Director Living Lab iMinds, Secretary of ENoLL), presented FIWARE, European programme going on for +4 years. FIWARE is developing an ecosystem that will work as catalyst for capturing the opportunities derived from the new wave of digitalization of life and businesses. Pieter explained FIWARE has developed Generic Enablers built for developers to create future Internet ware and now it is heading toward the end of the programme (last phase) where a large amount of European Commission budget has been made available for start-ups and SMEs to develop services and APPs through the platform. Mr. Ballon added that 16 accelerators have been launched each of them focusing in a specific domain: media, smart cities, health, ICT and manufacturing. He provided some examples of the CreatiFI FIWARE accelerator, focused to Creative Industries and linked to the Smart Cities. FIWARE and cities are joining efforts through the OASC initiative, where 31 cities are already committed to publish open real time data using FIWARE.
Giuseppe Ruotolo (DG Research, European Commission) closed the morning session presenting the iCapital (the EU Capital of innovation) award. Mr. Ruotolo anticipated that the second edition of the iCapital award would have stronger focus on experimentation, open co-creation models (labs), Citizens’ engagement to increase uptake of innovation increasing outreach and capability to scale up. Opening on July 2015 and a 1st prize of 950.000 euros, the iCapital award is a great opportunity for cities integrating Living Labs in their Smart City Strategy.
The afternoon session opened with a presentation by Daniel Marco, Director iDigital at Government of Catalonia), who introduced the Catalonian Network of Urban Labs. Mr. Marco provided an overview of the SmartCAT strategy (from Smart city to Smart Region), were cities work together at a Regional level to face problems reaching a critical mass and addressing citizen’s needs. Daniel explained SmartCAT tackles mobility, environment, security, industry, health and tourism and that the technologic framework would allow developing technology while allowing the citizens and companies and city councils to work together. He ended up by presenting the plans for the Catalonian network of urban labs, inspired in the Barcelona Urban Lab, and that will act as a single point of contact for companies and councils, to access to public facilities, meet needs of cities, test in real environment, foster open innovation, foster urban impact of solutions, reduce time to market, and exchange best practices.
A second panel called “City as a Lab, Open Government and Citizen Engagement” followed, aiming at exploring large-scale living labs and the concept of “City as a lab”. Representatives from Helsinki, Flanders and Barcelona provided some examples, approaches and visions. Veera Mustonen (Forum Virium Helsinki) presented the Kalasatama living lab, a new district to drive Helsinki smart city innovation, Ms Mustonen explained that the role of the lab is to find system integrators to develop services so that projects do not rest in pilot, but they could scale up and replicate. Kalasatama living lab focuses on smart urban services and enabling piloting (health care, school, smart grids, mobility information, real estate and empty space). Veera emphasized the role of the Living Lab as facilitator and orchestrator, delivering new ways of engaging people, and offering spaces for collaboration. Pieter Ballon, iMinds, presented the case of some Flemish cities, and actually focusing his presentation in the iMinds vision and approach. He introduced Smart Cities as “the battle for the streets” with very big needs to move ahead but danger to become locked in to certain solutions. Pieter highlighted the readiness issue and identifying 4 different dilemmas/solutions (infrastructure/open platforms, information/open data, Innovation/local ecosystem activations and Integration syncronising technology, market and policy/Permanent living lab), providing some examples in Flemish cities. He ended his intervention by emphasizing the role of Innovation Intermediaries (Living Lab host organisations), as innovation drivers in a systematic innovation ecosystem such a city and the need to link this innovation intermediaries at European level. Barcelona Laboratori, presented by Fran Iglesias, closed the panel presentations. Mr. Iglesias introduced the vision of Barcelona Laboratori as complementary to the Energy and mobility part: Creativity and Innovation – Fostering Creative Industries. Fran explained that Barcelona Laboratori is a living lab focused mainly on the cultural and creative industries sector gathering all stakeholders in an ecosystem for experimentation. According to Mr. Iglesias the City as a Lab approach involves the city as a laboratory for experimentation, promoting co-creation at a city level and empowering the communities that already exist in the city. Main city resources for Barcelona Lab infrastructure: Creative Technologies Office, Citizen Science Office and City Festivals. Mr. Iglesias provided multiple examples of activities and impact created.
The final part of the workshop focused on Experiences in citizen engagement in the running Lighthouse projects. Mercè Griera, European Commission, summarised the experiences from the previous call and expectations for the 2015 projects. After introducing the policy context, Ms Griera highlighted the need of the EC to tackle Smart Cities to create new markets, joining efforts to Tackle common challenges and bottlenecks, Develop innovative and replicable solutions, Bundle demand from cities and regions, Attract and involve business and banks. She explained that this policy context materializes on the Horizon 2020 – SCC1 projects (Smart Cities and Communities solutions integrating energy, transport, ICT sectors through lighthouse (large scale demonstration – first of the kind), aimed at triggering large economic investments and addressing the following areas: Sustainable Urban Mobility, nearly 0 or low energy districts, Integrated infrastructures, Cross-cutting ICT solutions for the design & management of energy/transport systems.
After Ms. Griera’s intervention, the 3 running Lighthouse projects (GrowSmarter, Triangulum, and Remourban) briefly presented their plans and experiences so far.
Jarmo Eskelinen wrapped up the day with the sentence: “Why labs? We need to consider the integrator function for different parts of the innovation chain in cities”. Mr. Eskelinen closed the workshop thanking Barcelona, the Region of Catalonia, ENoLL, and all the speakers and participants for their contributions.
A number of ENoLL members attended the event and actively contributed to the discussion with case studies and presentations. Look at the pictures, watch Jarmo Eskelinen and Pieter Ballon’s presentations and access presentations here to be updated on workshop topics and outcomes.
This summary report is an extract of the official report. You can find the official “Citizen Focus” action cluster report here (Repporteurs: Anna Domènech (Zabala), Gustavo Orozco (Barcelona City Council), Ana García (ENoLL)). This summary report has been curated by Ana Garcia (ENoLL).