Written by Matt Stokes
The home straight: What’s coming up for DSI4EU in 2019
27th February 2019
We regret to inform you that, due to a technical issue, we can't currently accept new projects and organisations. We're working as quickly as we can to get this fixed and look forward to seeing your work on the platform soon!
In the meantime, please do sign up to our newsletter through the homepage, and if you have any questions drop us a line at [email protected].
We’ve now been working for over year on DSI4EU, supporting the growth and scale of digital social innovation (DSI) across Europe through a mixture of research, policy and practical support. Over the course of 2018, our consortium of seven partners were involved in or attended over 60 events, and we organised over 30 peer-learning activities for practitioners across the continent. In April we published research exploring how “super node” organisations can support DSI to grow, and in October we published a set of reports mapping DSI in six social areas. Our futures research has looked at big trends for technology including the open movement and digital wellbeing. We’ve also made great progress developing our experimental DSI Index, which is now in the final stages of development.
As we enter the final months of DSI4EU, our calendar is as busy as ever, so we thought we’d round up what’s coming up and let you know how to get involved and help our work.
We're also currently on the lookout for a freelance researcher who can provide 30+ days' support across the activities below. Find out more on our website, and even if you don't apply please do share with your networks!
If you have any further questions, or if we can help you, drop us a line at [email protected], and don’t forget to follow us on Twitter @DSI4EU and sign up to our newsletter to keep updated with the project.
Since January 2018, we’ve been developing our experimental DSI Index, which aims to understand what factors support DSI in cities and to assess how different cities are currently performing.
We spent six months building a framework, which consists of seven themes: civil society, skills, funding, diversity and inclusion, support systems, infrastructure and collaboration. We spent the second half of the year sourcing and analysing data, we recently completed a first version of the Index, which threw up lots of really exciting findings. Over the coming months, we’re going to be refining our data, building user-friendly data visualisations and exploring the stories behind the scores. We’re also excited to be working on an Ideas Bank bringing together promising policies and initiatives from across and beyond Europe, which will provide city leaders with insight into how they can better encourage and support DSI. Look out for the final results in June!
We’re excited to announce that we’ll be holding our final event in Warsaw, Poland on 11th June, focusing on the role of cities in supporting DSI to grow and scale its impact. Bringing together city leaders, DSI practitioners, support organisations and researchers from across the continent, we’ll be exploring how leading cities are helping DSI to thrive, and how we can spread best practice. We’ll be using the event to launch the Index and our Futures research (see below), to celebrate the DSI4EU project, and, just as importantly, to set a path for a future in which DSI reaches its full potential to tackle some of our biggest challenges.
This is an exciting time for the field of DSI. More people than ever are talking about the positive potential of technology for individuals, communities and democratic societies - but also about the growing risks. Over the coming months, we’re going to be working to get the voice of DSI heard in the corridors of power, and make sure that using technology as a force for good is at the heart of digital policymaking.
Our consortium partners have already been working to help governments better support DSI, including the European Commission, the cities of Barcelona and Amsterdam, the UK’s Office for Civil Society, the Polish Ministry of Digital Affairs and the German Federal Government.
Over the coming months we’re going to be continuing our work, focusing mainly on policy recommendations for the European Commission and other institutions. We’re excited to be working with DG-CONNECT to hold an event in Brussels on 26th April, where we’ll be bringing together civil servants and other stakeholders interested in DSI to discuss and refine policy ideas.
Our futures research, which began in June, has been a really exciting opportunity for us to open our minds to a more positive future for society where technology is a force for good, not for ill. Alongside our two short reports on big trends related to DSI, we’ve held three participatory workshops in London, Berlin and Barcelona, through which over 70 participants have boldly and creatively explored the challenges we might be facing as societies in ten years’ time, and how emerging and existing technologies might be used to tackle them.
Between now and June, we’ll be building upon these ideas to construct a set of exploratory scenarios for the future of DSI. Through this research, we want to provide an alternative to some of the more dystopian stories we’re accustomed to, to understand what we need to do to shape a better future, and to engage a wider public in the field of DSI.
In addition, we’ll be publishing a third trend analysis in our series later this year, as well as producing a set of three short trend guides to help civil society organisations understand how they can take advantage of technological trends to deliver real world impact.
DSI4EU partners in Amsterdam, Barcelona, Berlin, Milan and Warsaw have been engaging closely with practitioners over the past year to encourage collaboration and peer learning within different social areas. We’ve already shared some of the learning from our clusters through our reports on growing DSI through “super nodes” and Mapping DSI. Over the next few months, we’ll bring together more of what we’ve learned in these fields so that the lessons can be spread even further around and beyond the DSI community. Keep your eyes peeled!