There is growing recognition that finding new solutions to today’s most pressing development challenges requires going beyond the realm of government experts and traditional partners. To keep up with the rapid pace of innovation, new approaches are needed for engaging the private sector, academia, and civil society in developing, implementing, and scaling up the best ideas.
One such open innovation methodology is the “living lab” model, an experimental environment where users and producers co-create new information and communication technology (ICT) approaches. In a living lab, age-old problems around access to information about clean water, school performance, or health care are no longer solved exclusively by institutional experts, but by networks of actors engaging and co-creating with users in a creative social space.
On July 10, the World Bank signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the European Network of Living Labs (ENoLL), a global leader in open innovation. The agreement was signed by Jose Luis Irigoyen, World Bank Director for Transport, Water, and Information and Communication Technologies, and Álvaro Oliveira, Global Co-Chair of ENoLL.
With over 250 living labs, each with an average of 100 member organizations, ENoLL members are transforming citizen-centered innovation and data-driven government.
This transformation is already taking place in countries like Tunisia, where the World Bank engaged open data experts from ENoLL network member Data Publica to participate in the recent CityCamp Tunisia 2012 event on urban civic technology.
In Kenya, ENoLL network members from Forum Virium spoke at the Open Data for Development Camp in Nairobi.
The agreement between the World Bank and ENoLL will bring unprecedented global expertise in the area of ICT to help the World Bank and its clients improve public services, increase civic participation, advance public administrative capacity, and drive green growth. And it will help the two institutions further their shared goal of finding new approaches to improving the public services that affect the everyday lives of millions of people in developing countries.