On November 14-15, OrganiCity partners from across Europe gathered in Barcelona for our second annual technical review by the European Commission. The yearly review provides an opportunity for partners to reflect on our work to date, identify successes and challenges, and chart a path forward for the coming year.
This year’s review covered a number of topics including stakeholder engagement and communication, the architecture of our digital platform, conversations about co-creation tools, ethics and privacy issues, and an open discussion about the long-term sustainability of the project.
An important point of discussion at this year’s review centred around the design and implementation of our open call process. The design of the open call, and its implementation through workshops and clinics over the last year, challenged us to put our principles of co-creation into practice. Reflecting on this process, Marita Holst, based at the Luleå University of Technology (Sweden), commented:
After the review [last year], we made a total redesign of the open call and then again a smaller adjustment before going live. This had a positive impact on the project as a whole. As a result, the first open call was a large success. We received far more proposals than expected and they were of a very high quality.
In the end, the open call attracted proposals from experimenters in 20 countries who wanted to co-create projects in Aarhus, London and Santander, and beyond. The reviewers were complimentary about our ability to attract high quality proposals and applauded our commitment to improve the Experimentation as a Service model by seeking out critical feedback from users and experimenters.
The reviewer’s main recommendation moving forward was to focus on the most valuable aspects of offering Experimentation as a Service; understanding who the service is for and capturing and communicating the value of our experiments. Documenting our process–both as experimenters working in the partner cities, and as project coordinators–is a critical aspect of implementing Experimentation as a Service because it provides a basis for iterative development and captures valuable lessons that can be shared with the wider community.
The value of capturing and sharing the learnings coming out of the OrganiCity experiment are already having an impact for project partners such as Duncan Wilson at the Intel Collaborative Research Institute for Sustainable Connected Cities.
An Experimentation as a Service model such as that being developed through Organicity would have significantly reduced our time to run experiments and removed some of the friction currently experienced in running living labs with citizens. In addition to these technical learnings, Intel are learning about the “co-creation” challenges that exist when deploying smart city infrastructure for citizens that is both inclusive and has social benefit.
As we prepare our plans for the future open calls and the sustainability of the platform, we will host a series of co-creation workshops to understand how different citizens, activists, organisations, businesses and service providers might experiment with digital tools to improve their cities. If you would like to be an active citizen and define the digitalisation of your city, please get in touch at email@example.com so we can include you in our workshops.