The Bit Lab Cultural Association / Associació Cultural Bit Lab (www.bitlab.cat) is a non-profit organization located in the Sant Andreu del Palomar district of Barcelona. The association is oriented towards the realization of projects of cultural innovation in the territory and with social return. The association was born in the beginning of 2017 but is composed by professionals with more than 10 years of experience in the cultural, social and audiovisual sector.
The main objectives of the association are:
- To bring transformative cultural practices closer to the basic social fabric, by articulating innovation projects to democratize innovation skills and capacities.
- To implement interdisciplinary cultural projects with citizen participation.
- To encourage collaboration between social, cultural, public-private entities, the university and artistic collectives.
- To bring innovation projects closer to the local creative communities, paying special attention to the connection with the social base groups.
- To take advantage of digital technology and the Internet to establish new mechanisms of empowerment of local creative communities.
Bit Lab is made up of professionals from the world of cultural and social innovation, audiovisual and cinema, music industry, technology, design and communication.
The values of Bit Lab are:
- Democratizing access to local culture.
- Unveiling local creative culture as a complementary and alternative reality to the culture of mass media.
- Establishing collaborative environments between the agents of the territory through the realization of projects of cultural and social innovation.
- Working on the generation of local culture from an intercultural and feminist perspective.
- Promoting the access of schools and communities to neighborhood-level cultural facilities.
Bit Lab’s methodological outlook is based on three key concepts:
Cities as Laboratories: The Laboratory Cities are committed to open-ended, transformative and system-based innovation, an innovation which is carried out with the active participation of the citizenry. The Laboratory Cities intend to open the new digital innovation system to each and every citizen, to transform the whole city into an open and universal system of innovation.
Citizen-Driven Innovation: The design and implementation of innovative projects directed by the user must be understood as complex processes of research and development to detect, devise, experiment and validate new systems of relationship and interaction between civil society agents. At all stages it is necessary to understand the citizen as an active subject present in all phases of the execution of the project (not only in the validation of the same, as traditionally conceived in technology-focused projects), and that it is the citizens’ perspective which directs, participates and leads the decision making from the very beginning of the project.
Open and Participatory Innovation: In order to be able to effectively implement citizen-centered innovation processes, it is often required to adopt and design ad hoc hybrid methodologies from the world of design thinking, living labs and user-centered design. The methodologies we have used in our work can be structured into 3 large groups according to the phase of deployment (Contextualize / Prototype / Validate) to be able to characterize and dynamize the communities of innovation according to their idiosyncrasy and the specificities of the territory.