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Citizen Led Co-Innovation Drives Better Outcomes In Cities

Updated: May 13

Inclusion of innovative practices in public policy formulation and implementation has been gaining momentum in recent years. Involving citizens in the transformation of public services has become a major pillar for local and national authorities in their efforts to promote transparency, good governance, as well as to increase trust. Participatory policy making has many benefits, among them a better understanding of citizens' concerns and a more targeted means of addressing them. Citizen engagement has been a key pillar of COMPAIR, with volunteers actively contributing to different stages of citizen science, from problem formulation to data collection and interpretation of findings. Our recent D5.5 Co-Innovation Report gives an overview of co-innovation activities undertaken by local teams in the five citizen science labs to drive better outcomes for cities and citizens.


Co-innovation in citizen science


5 dimensions of co-innovation in COMPAIR

Collaboration is the interdisciplinary approach used by the COMPAIR team - a team that consists of multinational partners which share ideas, knowledge, resources and which communicate with different stakeholders in order to achieve the set goals. As explained in D1.1 Project Vision, the multi-stakeholder collaboration exhibits high levels of trust and inclusivity, with grassroot communities, researchers, industry experts and policy actors working side by side to make the vision of zero pollution a reality. The already conducted workshops and focused discussions proved their essential role as co-creation tools in COMPAIR at this stage as they gave initial start and fostered collaboration process, knowledge exchange and co-innovation among project participants. All the project development relies on the basics of feedback from the stakeholders. 


Coordination is a key factor for the COMPAIR project in order to achieve effective collaboration. As it involves international partners, coordination is set first on a high level as a consortium and then on WP level and pilot level. Common values, vision and pre-set goals of COMPAIR helps all partners to have a similar perspective and to refract their activities through the same prism - using the co-innovation and co-creation resource of citizen science to help solving the air pollution problem in cities. Planning is a key here and COMPAIR proved that the team can be strict to the planned timeline and meet deadlines. Here also comes the importance of adaptive planning and matching again the schedules between partners, as always can emerge some delays in one partner e.g. due to supply issues and that causes the need of reconfiguration and new alignment with the goals.  


Convergence in the COMPAIR project means integrating diverse elements and combining all aspects of a problem-solving, with the goal of achieving a unified outcome. This is possible to happen with the help of integrating multidisciplinary expertise of the consortium partners and also the already mentioned interdisciplinary and cross-section collaboration. In D1.1 Project Vision it is stated that COMPAIR brings together members of the quadruple helix community to co-create effective place-based solutions to mitigate air pollution and other related urban challenges. 


Complementarity is putting focus on how different elements, each of them having its own characteristics, weaknesses and strengths, can work in a harmonious way, each contributing with its own uniqueness to enhance the overall effectiveness and synergy of the project. In the COMPAIR project this can be seen in the integration of different tools and technologies in order to create novel solutions. The innovative approach of combining the newest technical means and to put them in the hands of citizens could be and happened to be the missing part in dialogue with the policy makers and the starting point for creating urban policy making by empowered citizens.


Co-creation is the last but not least pillar of the co-innovation that implements in itself the understanding of inclusive stakeholders’ involvement and participatory decision making. COMPAIR uses a human-centric design and agile approach with constant iterative feedback loops that can provide alignment with user needs and requirements. This can be seen best during the workshops that were held and based on their outcomes the whole technical requirements instrumentarium was built that helped develop the innovative tools of COMPAIR - PMD, DEVA, DEV-D, CO2 Calculator.



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