Stakeholders & Beneficiaries

MCW is a workshop within the InciLab of MLP. As a PSINSI, its focus is on non-technological innovation and it created a space to connect different actors who experiment together to rethink the life in the city. In MCW, five citizens, four civil servants, one promoter and one mediator collaborated over 15 days to create solutions to improve pedestrian mobility in the heart of Madrid downtown.

Co-creation process

MCW is better understood within the new public governance paradigm, as a prototyping workshop within a living lab. It constantly produces networks that fit into the PSINSI’s definition (Desmarchelier et al., 2018). The MCW, being one of those PSINSIs, focused on innovations related to products, namely interventions in public space. But beyond product innovation, MCW also aimed at other type of innovations:
  • new forms of collaboration and co-participation;
  • new methodologies, tools and protocols to reduce the distance between public institutions and people;
  • new forms to optimise resources thanks to the exchange of information between the municipal departments themselves and social, civic, and educational entities.

Digital Transformation Process

Not applicable.

Results, Outcomes & Impacts

This initiative produced a meeting place for citizens and municipal officials to experiment and learn together around initiatives that contribute to improving life together and optimising resources in the city of Madrid. Its main contributions were (are) along three lines of action:
  • Open research group about experimentation in public administration, to build case studies. Based on successful experiences in other regions and countries, participants in this line reflect on what tools and strategies are useful to develop public intelligence and innovation (under public values ​​and placing social justice and equity as referents).
  • Motioning around the city is a series of workshops open for the collaboration between public servants and citizens to develop initiatives around moving and motioning in Madrid.
  • Working group to support municipal transformation. This is a space for a learning and practice community set up with HR managers from the municipality to identify key changes and intra-innovation areas within the municipal organisation.

Challenges & Bottlenecks

For citizens, barriers were:

  • Fear of being used (do a volunteer or unpaid work for people who are paid, the public servants).
  • Frustration of earlier projects or initiatives that did not prosper (fear of losing time): “The idea of ​​coming to work for free for the City Council is present. And then I’m not even going to be the one to take it forward.” Or another workshop that does not move forward.
  • “it is difficult to manage the expectations and wishes of those who come to participate: Everyone wants the official’s phone number.”

For public officials, barriers were:

  • To find incentives (define when to do it, where and the extra services they demanded like children playroom or snacks).
  • The fear and vulnerability they feel when facing neighbours asking them for explanations.
  • To engage different public servants than those aware or related to the initiatives.
  • Officials who participated did so more as consultants than as true participants.

Overall barriers:

  • The workshop demanded an enormous effort of animation and diffusion. For promoters it is not easy to invest that much energy without success or some reward..
  • Expectations and wishes of those who come to participate are difficult to handle: From those who aspired to come with a solution and its implementation to those who were satisfied with generating a favourable climate on the subject.
  • Participants tend to think beyond the prototype and want to achieve results: “achieve more than a bunch of good intentions and reach future commitments”.

Transferability & Replicability

Our case, beyond the relevance of the prototype developed by a group of agents that got together by the workshop, serves to expose the practices to routinely produce PSINSIs with a two-fold aim:
  • Produce social innovation and prototype solutions for wicked social problems of any sort
  • Arrive to those solutions putting together individuals that do not know each other, but who after the process have discovered the power of networking, agreement and co-creation. In this context, each new community of agents built this way – i.e., the PSINSI itself – is an innovative product itself
The MCW lasted from February 5 to April 25, 2019 and the network formed followed the established practice of the workshops of the InCiLab (Citizen Innovation Laboratory – Laboratorio de Innovación Ciudadana). In there, citizens, public servants, promoters, mediators and a guiding team met for 15 days to experiment on ways to allow pedestrians to move freely in the area known as Madrid Central – the central district of Madrid. But their generic aims were:
  • To explore new forms of collaboration and co-participation in public affairs that contribute to the generation of more democratic, inclusive and diverse citizen services.
  • To test methodologies, tools and protocols that help reduce the distance between public institutions and people.
  • To detect opportunities to optimise resources thanks to the exchange of information between the municipal administration and social, civic, educational entities, etc.

Success Factors

  • Most collaborators and all proponents had participated in similar activities and, in some cases, have years of experience in participatory processes.
  • They valued the importance of this workshop as a space to share ideas, generate empathy and open the mind.
  • The experience has helped them to clarify their original idea of the project and focus their energies on the most important aspects.
Participants came motivated because they could learn more about the operation of the Administration: “this is a physical meeting space where we can talk, beyond the counter window, conflict or haste. We can create new dynamics and see what we have in common”.

Lessons learned

Mobility in a city is critical in its day to day and mediates the quality of life and social relations in it. Today, municipalities and citizens alike understand that motioning around the city has a fundamental impact on the configuration of the city, on social equality and on citizens’ rights. It is then a key issue when configuring new options, or keeping old standards affecting culture, education or health. The MCW addressed this in a very novel, participatory way. The MCW raised debates and participatory processes, organised experiments and prototypes (participants in this workshop set a physical prototype in a street-crossing in Madrid), analysed and visualised preliminary data and documented the process to report their findings: “If what we look for is to improve mobility of pedestrians, green lights for vehicles should be eliminated giving right to pedestrians at all times”, can summarise the prototype of this workshop. “The strategy to implement this prototype starts with communication. Then selection of simple targets, and measuring impact, and then scale it within the central district of Madrid, and later to the rest of the city”. “They [the Mobility Department] will study the proposal to test it in September 2019”.