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Periodic Reporting for period 1 - CitizenLab (CitizenLab)

Reporting period: 2017-03-01 to 2017-08-31

CitizenLab is a cloud-based Software as a Service platform on which citizens co-create their city. The platform facilitates a two-way communication between the city and its citizens by matching the right urban challenges with the right citizens based on their expertise and/or interests. By automatically analysing citizens’ feedback and opinions, the platform helps cities tap into the collective intelligence of citizens, whilst enabling them to reach out to more citizens and saving them resources.

Whilst the facilitation of digital interactions between governments and citizens has been identified as a clear priority at the highest level, today there are very limited digital means to do so, in an easy accessible way. This is reflected in the fact that today, over 78% of citizens reports that current communication channels used by government deemed are deemed unfit.

Consequently, 83% of citizens amongst millennials feeling that municipal governments are not responsive to their citizens' needs, as they cannot easily reach them effectively. City governments are on a tight budget, and need ready- to-use and customizable solutions to bridge this communication gap with their citizens. CitizenLab enables its government to reach out to more and younger citizens, faster, with minimal efforts and at low ‘cost per engaged citizen’.

CitizenLab relates the topic “ODI Scheme” offering its disruptive solution to governmental authorities. The preliminary pilots conducted with its current customers demonstrate that CitizenLab will impact European and
global public authorities and citizens alike, as significant demonstrated traction in only 2 year of operations with 45 deployments in 4 countries, and with high international growth potential as demonstrated by the interest from cities from all across the world.
The feasibility study helped CitizenLab validate the business model and test real world conditions while helping assess prospects for wider deployment and market uptake. In six month’s time, CitizenLab has successfully grown its customer base from 15 cities in Belgium to 45 cities across three European countries. Some of these customers include the Dutch city of The Hague, the Belgian cities of Liège, Mons and Ostend, the Flemish and Waloon Governments, Brussels Region, and the Danish Government.

Next to the commercial validation, CitizenLab used four of its paying cities as test beds for renewed civic engagement. CitizenLab organised a Living Lab research during which it co-created its product by incorporating the feedback from all stakeholders, including citizens, civil servants, and policy-makers. The key findings were that citizens want to engage on an open e-democracy, one on which there is sufficient transparency about the decision-making process, and that is made relevant for the user through personalisation of the interface. City administrators, on the other hand, explained that the processing of citizen feedback is their biggest pain today, as it is a recurring task that takes a significant amount of time.
CitizenLab plans to move beyond the state of the art with an automated workflow to process all citizen input, thereby liberating resources for governments, which are under fierce budget pressure today. Besides, CitizenLab aims to deploy its solution in all North-western European countries in the coming five years, in order to realise its mission to build the digital infrastructure on which local democracies can thrive. By doing so, it will reconnect local governments to their community of citizens and increase citizen engagement by tearing down all barriers for citizens to easily participate in local decision-making processes.
CitizenLab Mobile in street
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