The summer school of the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL) network discussed smart and creative cities. Forum Virium Helsinki was involved in activating the open data ambassadors. We also presented the Open311 feedback interface to be advocated in the CitySDK project, which is a fine example of a participation channel for citizens.

             
Picture: ENoLL
 
The four-day-long event attracted 150 participants to Manchester, England, from all over the world. Forum Virium Helsinki was involved in two sessions: Shaping Innovation for Smart Cities and Living Lab tools and methodologies.
 
The first workshop for smart city services handled the practical issues related to making open data accessible and utilizing it: what is open data and compatible interfaces, what kind of actors does the ecosystem around them need. CitySDK and Code4Europe projects are examples of examining and advocating these matters in practice. 
 
“Our goal was that after the meeting, the participants would know exactly which things to tackle so that utilizing open data would become more common in their hometown. We went through practical examples, tools and means to alert the central actors in each person’s town”, says Project Manager Hanna Niemi-Hugaerts from Forum Virium Helsinki.
 
Picture: ENoLL
 
Getting feedback 
 
The second workshop of the seminar focused on examining more closely the world of open interfaces. It discussed Open311, a feedback interface made available in Helsinki and six other cities. It is a channel which also the living labs could utilize in their work. 
 
Open311 enables an ever closer cooperation with the city. It allows the living labs to collect the citizens’ views using the same application that the city uses to collect direct feedback from its inhabitants. On the other hand, in their own research and development projects, the living labs could benefit from the mass of information that is now made openly available through the Open311 interface. 
 
“Like Helsinki, several cities are now interested in offering an open data interface so that application developers can utilize the data generated by the city to build new innovative applications. In the future, the citizens can choose which interface they want to use to give feedback, and thanks to the interface, the feedback always ends up in the city’s systems”, Hanna notes.
 
New members into the network
 
The European Network of Living Labs is a network founded in 2006 and gathering the innovation communities of different countries under one roof. In this year’s summer school, the network grew by 25 new members. Among them, there were also several organizations from outside of Europe. 
 
Already 345 living labs from around the world are involved in ENoLL. Forum Virium Helsinki is one of the founding members of the network. Managing Director Jarmo Eskelinen is the president of the network and chairman of the association.
 
This year’s ENoLL Summer School was the fourth one organized. 
 
 
 
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Picture: ENoLL