Exploring ‘Citizen innovation’ — upcoming opportunities and questions for you

I’ve been involved with a European Commission funded project called EU InnovatE for the last 2 years. The crux of the project has been about exploring what roles individuals — as citizens, consumers, users and communities of interest — can play in accelerating the fundamental transitions we need for a sustainable Europe? EU-InnovatE is a project exploring how the ‘users’ of products and services can help drive innovation to make sustainable lifestyles normal in Europe. (you can read more about the project here)

Illustration from our event on the topic of citizen innovation, Feb 2016. Credit: David Jesus Vignolli, www.visualscribing.com

Not only has the project inspired me to get involved in innovating within my own community –but as we enter the final year of the project, it’s also opening up some big questions, for which we need your help to explore. Over the coming weeks and months there will be some opportunities for you to get involved, so we wanted to share a few upcoming events we thought you might be interested in.

So, in the next month we’ll be investigating:

  • What role are you playing in creating system change? And what role should citizen innovators be playing in enabling systems to change? We’ll be running a session as part of the OuiShare Festival in Paris on the 18th May to explore these questions, and you can find out more here.
  • Ever wanted to have your say about what policies would support you do to do more? We’ll now’s your chance. On the 25th May join the Sustainability Innovation Exchange, a dynamic online workshop to draft recommendations for policy makers on ways in which they can better promote innovation and entrepreneurship towards more sustainable lifestyles across Europe. Sign up to attend this virtual session here.

Then looking ahead to the autumn (I know, the summer has barely started), here are some of the questions we’ll likely be exploring:

  • Do you feel like you’re doing alot to create a sustainable future, but feel like it’s still not enough compared to the scale of the challenge? Do you feel like something even bigger needs to change, but you don’t know how to grasp it or where to start? 
    At Forum we plan to start piloting flexible content, modules and learning experiences with our Network and Partners to build their capacity to think and act as system change agents. We’re hoping to beta test a module in the autumn, based on the EU InnovatE content, which invites you to explore and understand your own assumptions and worldviews and explore how this can open up new routes to change. It will be a mix of online and in person learning, and we’ll be asking for a commitment of 3–4 hours a month for 3 months, plus one in person session (tbc). If this perks your interest, then let us know and we’ll be the first to share the details with you.
  • How can a community of pan-European citizen innovators and entrepreneurs support each other to create more change? On the 22nd November, in Brussels, we hope to bring together some of Europe’s most pioneering people who are making waves and supporting the transition to a more sustainable Europe. We want to cultivate this emerging community of people, support you on your journey and hope to share some of the insights from the EU InnovatE project too. So do pencil in the date and we’ll share more details with you soon.

If you can’t make these sessions but would like to share your ideas and perspectives, then do drop us an email, suggest a time for a skype chat or tweet your thoughts. I’d love to hear from you.