Societal Interface Lab

Encouraging citizens to actively participate in sustainable policy formation

What is the goal of the project?

A new Dutch coalition is developing a broad public engagement program aimed at citizens and a full spectrum of stakeholders involved in (urban) innovation regarding topics such as energy, health, waste, circular economy, mobility and water.
Underlying theme is Smart Cities. We focus on citizens. Our main purpose is contribute to a more sustainable urban innovation process by increasing the number of active citizens.

Our program goals:

• increase the number of citizens activeley involved in urban innovation, contributing to a faster proces of realizing urban sustainability (form early adoptors to early majority);
• understand the proces of multi actor dialogue better and implement this knowledge in our program and make it available to others;
• use the program events as a research environment (how to engage in dialogue) but also position the program as a platform that connects stakeholders, facilitates mutual learning and formulates opinions (policy agenda).

What is the result of the project?

  • Research and development (playful dialogue tools and open delibaration)
  • Production and events in NEMO Science Museum (activities program including 5 – 7 types of activities) and other locations;
  • Analysis and reports of dialogue events and publication of results. Including suitable formats for citizens and other stakeholders.

Who initiated the project and which organizations are involved?

NEMO Kennislink in collaboration with NEMO Science Museum, Pakhuis de Zwijger, De Waag Society, VU Athena Instituut, AMS research instituut, IXA Innovation Exchange Amsterdam and StartupAmsterdam.

What is the next step?

  • Defining the program concepts (activities)
  • Fundraising

What can other cities learn from your project?

  • defining critical and success factors for citizen participation in innovation processes;
  • experimenting with the role of art and design to stimulate reflection, imagination and dialogue
  • designing functional interaction models (creative tools) in a co-design trajectory involving designers, artists, citizens and stakeholders;