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Civic Innovation Platform

The Civic Innovation Platform is committed to diverse partnerships

Published on 12 Jan 2021

With the Civic Innovation Platform, the Policy Lab is promoting the shared and partnership-based development of applications based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) for the benefit of the common good. Partners from a variety of different areas are supporting the project.

The fact that technological innovations do not always only have economic benefits but may also decisively influence society was demonstrated with the emergence of letterpress printing in the 15th century and – roughly 400 years later – the broad-based use of machinery during the industrialisation era. In the 21st century, it is the digital transformation that is shaking up the working world and society. In the case of social challenges in particular, the effects – and especially the opportunities – are manifold: examples include an app that helps visually impaired people find their way around more effectively and AI applications that evaluate satellite data to locate plastic waste in the oceans. As a key technology, AI in particular harbours great potential through machine recognition, deep learning, and natural-language processing.

In addition to solid financial support, knowledge of the requirements prevailing in a wide variety of different areas is crucial for ensuring that AI innovations providing benefits for the common good can emerge in all parts of society. For this reason, the Civic Innovation Platform is aimed at anyone wishing to use AI technologies to advance societal and social progress, i.e. people who understand how AI works and how to program AI applications, people who have ideas about using this technology to improve the way many people live and work, as well as people who are able to contribute the necessary data essential for an AI project providing benefits for the common good.

It is precisely this interdisciplinary networking and collaboration that the Policy Lab wishes to facilitate with the Civic Innovation Platform. The platform aims to provide a space for jointly initiating and developing AI applications that serve to advance societal and social progress: from the idea to concept development, implementation, and transfer. In addition to providing funding, the project is particularly focusing on open collaboration and mutual advice.

Key support comes from our partners, whose impetus helps to determine the platform’s alignment.

In our interview format, they describe their motivation for supporting the project and the hopes that they are personally pinning on the use of AI for people’s benefit:

  • Anika Krellmann, a consultant at Kommunale Gemeinschaftsstelle für Verwaltungsmanagement (KGSt), a local government association for municipal management, reports on the ways AI processes could improve administration and local government and KGSt’s initiatives to encourage mutual sharing of digitalisation projects among city, town, district, and community administrations.
  • Andreas Bethke, Managing Director of the German Federation of the Blind and Partially Sighted (DBSV), explains how AI technologies are already helping visually impaired people, what is needed to implement barrier-free AI applications, and the AI applications that would tangibly simplify his life.