OrganiCity is challenging Brussels

Posted by Linda van de Ven | 7 September 2017

On August 10 some 130 entrepreneurs, hackers, data scientists, civil servants, geeks and other interested citizens gathered in the DigitYser building in Brussels to participate in an OrganiCity clinic to discuss and co-create experimental solutions for urban innovation by using technologies and data. The clinic was organized by Brussels Creative, the Brussels Hub of the Creative Ring, in cooperation with Civic Innovation Network and DigitYser.

“Brussels is a complex city”, says Pierre-Alexander Klein of Civic Innovation Network . It faces so many challenges related to waste management, housing, social inclusion and pollution. Basically, all these challenges could be solved by people who are developing solutions.”
To help generate these solutions OrganiCity facilitates a service for everyone in Brussels to experiment with data. This service, called Experimentation as a Service, is a model in which cities provide citizens, small companies, corporations and city authorities with the resources to test their new ideas on a small scale.

The clinic on August 10 was part of this model. All participants experimented with Lego and joint a group meditation practice to imagine Brussels in 2030. Finally, all proposed ideas and projects were clustered into several themes, such as urban mobility, waste management, political transparency, digital crafters and education and inclusion, to foster collaboration and co-creation. The video below gives a small impression of the day.

At the end of the clinic, 15 very diverse projects were identified and selected, ranging from food waste and sanitary for women to parking issues and sound pollution. The associated project leaders were invited to join a second clinic on August 22 to finalize their project and to help them submit the idea to OrganiCity in order to get support from the Brussels’ Authorities.

“I am amazed about the citizen engagement and the smart innovative ideas that those creative brains developed in just one day!”, says Alain Heureux, of Brussels Creative. “The Organic clinic was more of a local experiment to activate our eco system. That was our goal, but we also wanted to put our vision into practice. Eventually, the networks in all of our cities must act upon such calls and engage in cross-over innovation, cross-border co-creation and open innovation.”

OrganiCity is part of Horizon 2020, the biggest EU research and innovation program ever with nearly 80 billion euros of funding available over seven years (2014 – 2020). It offers an investment program of several million euros to finance urban projects which make use of technologies or data to develop new groundbreaking ideas.

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