3rd Ibero-American Civic Innovation Lab – LABICCO


Venue and date: Cartagena de Indias, Colombia,  October 9-23, 2016

Context: LABICCO is an open, civic event that will take place at the 25th Iberoamerican Summit of Heads of State and Government at Cartagena.

Goal: To prototype 11 Iberoamerican Civic Innovation projects, each with 10 partners from various Iberoamerican countries, who will engage in collaborative and continued efforts during 2 weeks. The 2016 projects will focus on inclusion and accessibility of vulnerable populations.

Civic innovation: The process by which social problems are solved using technologies (digital, social, and/or ancestral) and innovative methodologies with the involvement of the affected community. It differs from social innovation in that solutions in CI are driven by citizens, promoting a sense of citizenship -community spirit- and democratic consciousness.

Civic laboratories: Spaces in which civic innovation can occur. It seeks to systematize and speed-up the take up of the spontaneous and transformative innovations originating from the neighborhoods, with the potential for replication in other cities. These spaces allow for simultaneous experimentation, learning, and prototyping of solutions. A new type of institution for the 21st century driven by direct citizen engagement, where the boundary between inside and outside the institution is blurred to the point that they could be denominated extitutions.

Background and evolution: Civic Innovation is the first (and so far only) project fostered by an international organization that is truly open, collaborative and citizen-driven (similar to the way Internet operates). LABICs are one of the lines of action of this project. This will be the third edition of a LABIC (Veracruz, 2014; Rio de Janeiro, 2015; and Cartagena, 2016). LABICCO has received over 300 eligible projects, a significant increase over 2015 (192 projects) and 2014 (120), and 1,000 individuals have applied to participate in the event (500 in 2015 and 200 in 2014). This year’s participants, of which 53% are women, hail from 60 cities in 15 countries. There is also a significant number of Afro-descendants and indigenous peoples, as well as people with disabilities. Participants come from different walks of life: academia, government, international bodies and, primarily, social groups, many of them vulnerable.

Methodology: Two international, open calls were launched, the first to select the projects, and the second to select 100 partners. The selection committee is composed of the local partner (Ministry of Culture), Medialab-Prado and Civic Innovation Project (SEGIB). The laboratory follows a horizontal, collaborative approach, guided by mentors and the civic innovation team.

Projects in 2016:

  1. Agrega.la: It seeks to create a news aggregation platform for Iberoamerican independent media outlets. It will initially focus on topics of interest to vulnerable populations.
  2. KITUM. There is still no “toolkit” for organizing the engagement of citizens in disaster response. This project is geared to citizens, media and risk and assistance managers.
  3. Co.Madre: Saberes en Red, Memoria y Cultura Viva (Networking Wisdom, Memory and Living Culture). It seeks to build an audiovisual transmedia platform to bring together the traditional knowledge and experiences of Afro-descendent women in Colombia. The platform will narrate their experiences, feelings, knowledge and expectations on issues that they consider to be of the utmost importance. The project was submitted by Etinêrancias, a Brazilian group that seeks to draw together the ancestral knowledge of different Brazilian communities to enable exchange of knowledge through new technologies.
  4. Ecuador Solidario (guest project): It aims to develop a crowd donation system to help the areas affected by the Ecuador earthquake. It focuses on an innovative use of crowd funding platforms to organize and deliver material donations to victims (individuals and/or groups) of the Ecuador earthquake.
  5. Develando la humanidad en la liberación del opresor (Revealing humanity through the liberation from the oppressor): They will work with Afro-descendent women (and girl) inmates at Cartagena’s San Diego and Crea correctional institutions. They seek to provide artistic, emotional, human and creative training to enable their social rehabilitation and reintegration, and boost their sense of self-worth as human beings, women, and political actors essential for rebuilding society. A project proposed by Nemesio Berrio, one of the most important figures in contemporary Colombian dance.
  6. Gente, a digital text font for the Wounaan community: The Wounaan indigenous culture is at risk of cultural extinction, partly due to the lack of a digital text font. Children cannot use digital media to write in their own language, forcing them do so in Spanish. The project will develop a digital text font, which will be initially distributed to schools, and included in Wikipedia.
  7. Somos de Aquí (We are from here): Through their work with Colombian indigenous communities, and the combination of digital technologies and ancestral wisdom, this project seeks to systematize agroecological cropping calendars, adapting them to new conditions under climate change. Proposed by an indigenous community.
  8. Ciudad Mia (My City): It seeks to build urban devices for collective use to identify individuals with disabilities, and thus understand their specific needs. The information is transferred to a management system capable of implementing actions that meet the specific needs of each person, making their daily urban life easier.
  9. Inclusive Marimba: A device for teaching music to hearing-impaired people using electronic and digital technologies to expand the marimba.
  10. Traveling Museum: A Colombia National Museum project to create a portable educational device to disseminate and highlight the cultural and natural heritage of the country. Fully accessible for disabled people.
  11. Tropico. Local vulnerable groups will be trained to manufacture objects using scrapped resources and set up microenterprises.

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