Cities as a platform for citizen-driven innovation

Public institutions in Europe are increasingly challenged to find new ways to provide public value in an open, transparent way. In a growing number of small and large cities across Europe, citizens are engaged and mobilised to demonstrate their ability in creating innovative solutions for important social issues. The challenge is to capture the creativity of these local solutions and their potential opportunities, both from a social and a market perspective, including the potential for sustaining diverse and alternative economies, slow economies among them.


Proposals should capture successful innovative practices that are emerging in Europe particularly from those urban areas that effectively absorb, develop and create new knowledge and ideas, and turn this knowledge into social and economic development. In particular, they should take stock of how citizens are increasingly engaging in the experimentation and the development of new solutions blending technological, non-tech, cultural and social practices, e.g., frugal technologies. The issue is how to scale up these community-driven approaches without compromising their participatory character. Citizen-driven innovation also increases the possibilities for a broader range of people to become directly involved in all stages of social action and innovation, thus enhancing co-creation while boosting equal opportunities and promoting social integration. Proposals should also asses how citizen-driven collaborative innovation can help overcome the lack of equity as regards both the access to ICT solutions and the concrete involvement in the innovation process of traditionally underrepresented social groups, particularly in those contexts affected by socio-economic and ethnic differences and by gender disparities. Proposals should also deal with approaches able to attract different types of stakeholders involved in the innovation value chain, starting from schools and universities, public administrations, and private organizations as well.

The Commission considers that a platform bringing together hubs, incubators, co-creation spaces etc. and requesting a contribution of EUR 1 million would allow this specific challenge to be addressed appropriately. Nonetheless, this does not preclude submission and selection of proposals requesting other amounts.

Expected Impact

The action will enhance scaling-up and expand opportunities for innovations created by citizens across Europe. It will provide a wider European scale to innovative practices based on experimentation, particularly testing and engaging in local co-creation, in living labs, in designing city experimental areas bringing new opportunities to light. It will provide policy-relevant solutions to local governments on how to enable citizen-driven innovation to develop and strengthen common welfare. It will allow for a smoother sharing of best practices between European urban areas, thus also enhancing community building, and move beyond traditional innovation processes that often exclude the end-user perspective, and thereby contribute to sustainable growth and employment.

Cross-cutting Priorities

  • Gender
  • Socio-economic science and humanities
  • Open Innovation
Date de candidature
Sciences sociales : Identités, genre et sexualités, Psychologie et sciences cognitives, Sociologie
Humanités : Anthropologie & Ethnologie