Barcelona takes on the leadership of the European DECODE programme on collaborative platforms for the public control of data
Barcelona City Council, with the support of the European Commission, is holding a two-day debate today and tomorrow on Digital Social Innovation (DSI), looking at existing initiatives at a European level. The meeting sees the start of DECODE, a project for managing people’s digital identity via collaborative platforms, which the city will lead and coordinate with a dozen European partners including Amsterdam, Eurecat, UOC/IN3 and University College London.
Speaking at the opening of the meeting, the First Deputy Mayor, Gerardo Pisarello, stressed that “cities can be crucial in backing digital social innovation projects with a public impact from a grass roots level upwards, integrating them into the provision of public services and in public procurement processes”.
“Innovation projects have mainly been driven by social movements, hackers, geeks and groups from the civil society. It’s true that huge sums of public money have been invested to support digital innovation in business, from military camps to espionage, but it’s also true that there has been a lot less support for innovation that uses digital technology to tackle social challenges. The balance between the interests of one and the other will determine the success of the digital transition”, noted Pisarello.
“The public sector has to invest much more in digital social innovation. In Barcelona we’re doing that, and we’re helping towards the growth of a digital innovation ecosystem which can benefit citizens and drive a more collaborative circular economy”, he underlined.
DECODE will be coordinated by the Commissioner’s Office for Technology and Digital Innovation, headed by Francesca Bria, and has a budget of five million euros. The project aims to develop an open infrastructure for citizens to manage their internet privacy and be aware of their digital rights.
Partners for the project include the city of Amsterdam, the UK innovation agency Nesta, UOC/IN3, Eurecat, University College London, Arduino Verkstad and CNRS-Centre d’Economie de la Sorbonne.
The goal is to promote digital sovereignty for citizens, in other words the possibility for individuals or collectives to take their own decisions about their data and the way they use technology, in search of greater independence from the commercial muscle of multinationals and states.
This architecture must also provide access to the opportunities offered by cooperation platforms to explore alternatives in the spheres of housing, tourism and democratic participation.
DECODE is part of a broader and more ambitious programme launched in 2014, with a budget of 60 million euros, known as CAPS (Collective Awareness Platforms for Sustainability and Social Innovations). Its goal is to develop projects on open democracy, internet, collaborative consumption and more.
The CAPS programme is intended to create online platforms for sharing collaborative solutions, allowing for ideas and technologies to be generated which enable new forms of social innovation.
Launch of the DSI4BCN platform
Barcelona also made the most of the meeting to launch the DSI4BCN platform, within the framework of Europe’s DSI4EU. The platform is intended to create a virtual network bringing together and highlighting the city’s existing collaborative innovation projects, which use digital technology to tackle social challenges.
The platform will promote collaborative innovation, where innovators, users and communities collaborate on the use of digital technology to jointly create knowledge and solutions for a broad range of social needs, on a scale impossible to imagine before the advent of the internet.
Digital social innovation (DSI) involves multiple players, from governments to the world of research, as well as business and social foundations, companies, social organisations and local entities.
DSI acts in fields such as digital training, open democracy, new manufacturing methods, collaborative consumption and production, as well as fostering new sustainable lifestyles (energy and food sovereignty, smart recycling etc).
This helps towards a more sustainable and collaborative economy, which includes appropriate political policies to help reduce social and economic inequalities.
The DSI community is made up of 1,196 organisations and 792 projects at a European level.