We promote civic innovation – helping activists devise new approaches for their specific environments and promoting the uptake of new technology.
Our technology and innovation labs cover everything from cybersecurity and drone journalism to ad campaigns and investigative reporting. At a time when tried-and-tested methods of campaigning are losing relevance, we believe creativity is crucial to helping civil society reconnect with their communities.
How does it work?
First, we identify a challenge or opportunity civic activists are facing across the region. Then, we search for new technologies or new campaigning methods which could help, and identify the leading experts and professionals to provide training and host workshops for the activists. This could mean taking approaches being used by campaigners in different parts of the world or ideas and initiatives from the private sector.
We bring the professionals and activists together for a multiday residential workshop, where the group will take a new tool, idea or technology and explore how it can be used for their particular field. In small teams, the participants will then work in partnership with professionals to design new project, product or campaign and pitch it to the group for feedback.
After the event, we provide support to all attendees and fund the most promising projects which have been devised as a result of the lab. We see the events as the first stage in forging a community of experts and practitioners, based in the region, who are experimenting with new campaigning techniques. As such, we help and encourage participants to spread their knowledge across civil society and with fellow organisations and individuals in their home countries.