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Civic Innovation: an opportunity for a changing world

Civic Innovation (CI) is key to collectively finding new, creative and exciting ways to constructively confront the transitions and challenges which lie ahead of us. However, in order to unlock CI’s full potential we need to heighten its role on public and institutional agendas, raise awareness and grow its support at the grassroots level.
To this end, Colaboratorio IC are putting forward a series of measures to promote Civic Innovation, and this is our call to action for you to join us. With your signature you can help us to put these measures into action and facilitate a wide range of meetings, gatherings and work groups.

We live in times of great change and uncertainty. Due to the scale, complexity and urgency of the challenges we have ahead of us, current institutional, technoscientific and market systems are being overwhelmed or falling short, and we are faced with unavoidable transformations and transitions in every aspect of our lives. These demand new ways of relating to one another, coexisting, and producing as a community which must go beyond traditional, established ways of organising. We need constructive and engaging solutions which are the fruits of a collective intelligence, of collaboration among various types of actors and sectors, and of melding knowledge, skills and diverse experiences.

In light of this, Civic Innovation offers a great opportunity. It springs from the active involvement of civil society – the people and communities directly affected by and invested in local issues – to co-produce meaningful, creative solutions adapted to their needs and realities, and those of every territory. This is innovation based in collectively seeking solutions in every possible form (services, products, processes, policies etc) which improve lives and the environment. Those proposals which work well can be scaled up, or even transferred into other environments. In addition, CI is enriched and strengthened by open and transversal democratic participation, much like other forms of innovation in fields as wide-ranging as social action, the environment, health, education, culture, economy or technology.

Civic Innovation has grown and matured over time, and continues to demonstrate through its myriad forms an effective capacity to identify and overcome obstacles. However, CI must shed its outdated perception as merely an exceptional or emergency response, and gain widespread acceptance as an integrated, everyday practice both within and outside of institutions.

We are at a turning point in which Civic Innovation must unlock its full potential by becoming more visible and recognised, as well as growing its grassroots support. CI needs to have a stronger presence on both public and institutional agendas while, at the same time, keeping touch with civil society’s concerns, needs and life plans.

To this end we are sending out a MANIFIESTO! proposing the following urgent measures:

  1. Boost interconnection and support for the Civic Innovation ecosystem. Promote cooperation among organisations and individuals, appropriately scaled to their territories and skill sets. Set up collaborative and distributed governance for the ecosystem, which will pave the way for different forms of participation and levels of involvement.
    Manifiesto IC — 1
  2. Connect, mobilise and raise awareness of the abundance of agents within the ecosystem, valuing and nurturing the value which diversity of experiences and backgrounds brings to the table (formally organised and non-organised civic movements / public administration / education and research centres / businesses and professionals). Cultivate dialogue, meaningful relationships, transversal alliances and collaborative processes from a place of mutual trust and acknowledgement.
    Manifiesto IC — 2
  3. Bring Civic Innovation closer to society as a whole, seeking out groups of interest and targeting specific audiences. Highlight CI´s socially transformative and cohesive potential by involving the media, institutions, prominent social figures, businesses etc in its promotion. Publish practical, illustrative and motivational examples which foreground the involvement of people and groups who may not typically be associated with frameworks such as CI.
    Manifiesto IC — 3
  4. Bring Civic Innovation into all realms of the public and political sphere via strategies, plans, and specific measures. Combine it with other forms of innovation such as Social, Open, Public, Cultural and Digital. Achieve recognition of its uniqueness within current Science, Technology and Innovation Systems as a much broader principle than Citizen Science.
    Manifiesto IC — 4
  5. Foster the growth and implementation of laboratories as a flexible, foundational framework to underpin the development and coordination of Civic Innovation. Strengthen their role as focal points in research and innovation in order to encourage participation, experimentation and co-production. Draw attention to their value as flagship meeting spaces which catalyse the development and mediation of relationships and processes, as well as facilitating and sharing the new practices and methodologies they create.
    Manifiesto IC — 5
  6. Create a distributed, federated network of associated laboratories and intermediaries which act as connecting nodes within the ecosystem, developing joint action and intertwining relations, locally (in neighbourhoods, towns, villages and cities), and on regional, national and international levels. This will combine specialised, high-profile laboratories and agents with other, more local and community-oriented laboratories, such as libraries, cultural or community centres, schools and universities, health clinics, media offices, employment offices, sports centres, and so on.
    Manifiesto IC — 6
  7. Foster co-production and the shared use of infrastructure, tools, methodologies and common resources, following the logic and principles of free, open access to knowledge and technology. Carry out training and stewardship programmes which promote the sovereignty of individuals and communities while enabling collaborative networking.
    Manifiesto IC — 7
  8. Provide collaborative support for specific projects which can be co-produced by a variety of individuals and adapted to different contexts. Work towards common goals by responding to specific needs and urgent projects, joining local issues and objectives up to higher, macro-level institutional frameworks, such as the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN Agenda 2030.
    Manifiesto IC — 8
  9. Incorporate Civic Innovation into the educational system, from primary school all the way up to university level and beyond, in order to develop transferable, universal skills and to train new change agents. Create educational programs and school subjects which combine learning and practice by carrying out research and projects connected to the challenges faced by specific communities.
    Manifiesto IC — 9
  10. Develop a professional framework built around Civic Innovation, rooted in skillsets which facilitate relationships, processes and projects. Identify working profiles, and use them to develop training programmes and materials which will allow people to gain the required technical, personal and professional skills.
    Manifiesto IC — 10
  11. Make a commitment to renew, transform and empower the public system. Move towards a more open, supportive and empathetic network of institutions. Uphold and support experimentation with regards to new modes of governance, participation and public-social collaboration, and involve civil servants as key players within the innovation ecosystem.
    Manifiesto IC — 11
  12. Set out an assessment and reporting system in compliance with the principles and indicators of Civic Innovation. This will not only allow for the measurement of impact and accountability, but also for comparative analyses which contribute to the ongoing, wider progress of the ecosystem itself and those involved in it, as well as any future proposals. Such a system could also be incorporated into, or be used alongside, assessment tools in other fields.
    Manifiesto IC — 12

This MANIFIESTO! is being launched by Colaboratorio IC, a collective space dedicated to facilitating connection and action, which is made up of a diverse plurality of actors committed to placing Civic Innovation on public and institutional agendas, as well as constructing its ecosystem from a transversal and multidisciplinary perspective.

In order to achieve this, we are looking to involve more people and organisations in Civic Innovation who can contribute in different ways, along with institutions and entities whose responsibilities and skills relate directly to innovation.

We invite you to support this movement by signing the MANIFIESTO! We also ask you to share it among your own network of trusted friends and, if you want to go even further, join a meeting or a working group and help to make a real, lasting impact.





Civic Innovation is important for solving our day-to-day problems.

The world is changing fast.
There are more and more challenges for us to overcome.
And often, the solutions that institutions and the market offer
are not enough and do not solve anything.
To get used to to these changes,
we must look for new and creative solutions to the problems we face.
New ideas and projects which can make our lives better,
ideas and projects created by the people who are involved, by people like you.
This is called Civic Innovation (CI).


No one knows your problems better than you,
but you cannot solve them on your own.
This is why we need to work with other people.
We all need to organise and think together.
In this way we can take better care of nature, health,
education, culture and the economy.

We know that when people organise
they get better results:
Do you remember when people made face masks at home
at the beginning of COVID-19?
And when young people went out to buy food
so their older neighbours did not have to?
This is Civic Innovation.
However, Civic Innovation should not just happen in times of crisis.
We should work to make it part
of all of our everyday lives.

To make this happen, we need people to learn about Civic Innovation,
we need the government to support it,
we need it to provide real solutions to our problems.
This is why we have written this manifesto at Colaboratorio CI.
We want CI to grow and become more common
and so we propose the following:

  1. That more and more people learn about Civic Innovation and support it and that they find ways to take part in it.
    Manifiesto IC — 1
  2. That all people involved in Civic Innovation are able to talk with each other: people, governments, businesses, education and research centres.
    Manifiesto IC — 2
  3. That TV, radio, the press and social media are used to talk about Civic Innovation, so that all people can learn about it.
    Manifiesto IC — 3
  4. That institutions support Civic Innovation so that it can grow and develop.
    Manifiesto IC — 4
  5. That we create spaces for people to share ideas and projects, so they can learn more about Civic Innovation and work together on new ideas.
    Manifiesto IC — 5
  6. That all spaces like this can communicate and create networks that work in many places.
    Manifiesto IC — 6
  7. That everyone working in Civic Innovation share what they have and know freely.
    Manifiesto IC — 7
  8. That we make projects that address the biggest problems such as climate change, poverty or other Sustainable Development Goals (ways to make the world better for a long time).
    Manifiesto IC — 8
  9. That Civic Innovation – what it is and how it works – is taught in schools, colleges and universities.
    Manifiesto IC — 9
  10. That we create Civic Innovation training programs so people can learn how to work in Civic Innovation.
    Manifiesto IC — 10
  11. That Civic Innovation can build relationships with governments and help us to improve public services for everyone.
    Manifiesto IC — 11
  12. That we create an easy and honest way to decide if CI projects are working. This will look at how much people’s lives have gotten better.


At Colaboratorio IC we believe all this matters in creating a better world together.
For this reason, we are asking you to sign this manifesto, and that you share it with people who think like you.
If you want to do more, you can sign up for our newsletter and join the Colaboratorio IC community.

Will you help us by signing?

This Easy Read version of the manifesto was made possible thanks to the collaboration of Lectura Fácil Euskadi and ComunicaTech.

Nombre y apellidosEntidad
Adolfo Chautón Pérez
Adrià Prats Romeu
Adrian Smith
Science Policy Research Unit, University of Sussex
Ainoa Boyd Arregui
Alberto Flores
Makea tu vida
Alexandra Libânio
Estação Cooperativa
Ana Viñals Blanco
Podemos Bilbao
Angel Navarro
Las Naves
Arantza Mariskal Balerdi
Medialab Tabakalera
Artur Serra
Asier Amezaga
Asier Gallastegi Fullaondo
Beatriz Fadón Junyent
Ecocomedores Extremadura. Alianza para una alimentación escolar saludable y sostenible
Bernardino David Rodríguez Espino
Gabinete de Asistencia Técnica en materia de Participación Ciudadana a gobiernos municipales de Gran Canaria (GAT), un proyecto de colaboración entre el Colegio Oficial del Trabajo Social de Las Palmas y la Dirección General de Participación Ciudadana del Cabildo de Gran Canaria
PlanetaAlecrim Associação
Carlos Oliván Villobas
Laboratorio de Aragón Gobierno Abierto - LAAAB
Carmen Oviedo Cueva
Pedagogías Invisibles
Daniel Llamas
David Gateu Valls
David Mingorance Puga
David Pello Gonzalez
Diego Gracia
Subdirección General de Coordinación Bibliotecaria (Ministerio de Cultura y Deporte, España)
Diego López-de-Ipiña González-de-Artaza
Universidad de Deusto
Empar Polo
Eva Gómez
Florencia De Los Santos
Francisco Paredes
Asociación Civil Espacio Paternal Arte y Cultura
Gorka Rodríguez Olea
Gynna Millan
Universidad del Valle
Ibai Zabaleta
Inaki Lazaro
Iranzu Guijarro Plaza
Irene Reig Alberola
Ixone Artetxe
Javier Arteaga
Javier Ibáñez Martínez
Las Naves
Javier Ratonlab
Javier Roche Martínez
Harinera ZGZ
Jordi Colobrans Delgado
Fundació i2CAT
Jorge Benet
Josep Marés i Subirà
adhoc cultura
Artefacto diseño
Juan García Única
Uguburú. Seminario de Literatura Infantil y Juvenil en la UGR / Universidad de Granada
Kani Cubo
Karina Rocha Currás
lareira social
Klaudia Alvarez Nogales
Laia Sánchez
Laura Peredo
Espacio Odisea
Laurita Siles
Mutur Beltz
Leire Cano
Medialab-Tabakalera (Ereiten)
Liliana Arroyo Moliner
Lola Montejo Cunilleras
Tésera Mediació
Lourdes Mirón
luis Pradilla
Maje Reig
Marcos García
María Campos
María Lozano
Mariana Salgado
Diseño y diáspora podcast
Marianna Martinez Alfaro
Circular Society Labs
Marianna Martinez Alfaro
circular society labs
Matías Verderau del Río
Lichen Innovación Social
Mauro Gil-Fournier
Arquitecturas Afectivas
Montse Lara Suriol
Biblioteca Municipal de Cervelló
Natascha Wahlberg Macías
Social Climate S.COOP.AND
Òscar Martínez Ciuró
Patricia Horrillo Guerra
Ricardo Antón Troyas
Rubén Domínguez
Sara Anes Sanz
Serafín Huertas Alcalá
eCivis, asociación para la promoción de la ciudadanía activa
Stephanie García
Papelería urbana
Susana Moliner
Teresa Jular Pérez-Alfaro
xli design+thinking
Tomas Guido
#plantauno-transit projectes
Toñi Caro González
Toñi Caro González
Victoria Pellicer Sifres
Las Naves

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