People-Led Innovation: Toward a Methodology for Solving Urban Problems in the 21st Century

The GovLab and Bertelsmann Foundation Report, January 2018

70 Pages Posted: 22 Mar 2018

See all articles by Andrew Young

Andrew Young

New York University (NYU) - The GovLab

Jeffrey Brown

Bertelsmann Stiftung

Hannah Pierce

New York University (NYU) - The GovLab

Stefaan Verhulst

New York University (NYU) - The GovLab

Date Written: January 1, 2018

Abstract

“People-Led Innovation: Toward a Methodology for Solving Urban Problems in the 21st Century,” is a new methodology by The GovLab and Bertelsmann Foundation aimed at empowering public entrepreneurs, particularly city-level government officials, to engage the capacity and expertise of people in solving major public challenges. This guide focuses on unlocking an undervalued asset for innovation and the co-creation of solutions: people and their expertise.

The methodology incorporates lessons learned from multiple experiments and practices - including those by The GovLab such as Civic Challenges and Smarter Crowdsourcing – while drawing heavily on the Bertelsmann Foundation’s Transatlantic Policy Lab project, which used week-long living labs in Boston and Athens to source innovative and neighborhood-specific recommendations.

Designed for city officials, and others seeking ways to improve people’s lives, the methodology provides:

A phased approach to helping leaders develop approaches in an iterative manner that is more effective and legitimate by placing people, and groups of people, at the center of all stages of problem-solving process, including: problem definition, ideation, experimentation, and iteration. A flexible framework that instead of rigid prescriptions, provides suggested checklists to probe a more people-led approach when developing innovative solutions to urban challenges. A matrix to determine what kind of engagement (e.g., commenting, co-creating, reviewing, and/or reporting), and by whom (e.g., community-based organizations, residents, foundation partners, among others) is most appropriate at what stage of the innovation lifecycle. A curation of inspirational examples, set at each phase of the methodology, where public entrepreneurs and others have sought to create positive impacts by engaging people in practice.

Keywords: Innovation, People-Led Innovation, Methodology

Suggested Citation

Young, Andrew and Brown, Jeffrey and Pierce, Hannah and Verhulst, Stefaan, People-Led Innovation: Toward a Methodology for Solving Urban Problems in the 21st Century (January 1, 2018). The GovLab and Bertelsmann Foundation Report, January 2018. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3141381

Andrew Young

New York University (NYU) - The GovLab ( email )

Bobst Library, E-resource Acquisitions
20 Cooper Square 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003-711
United States

Jeffrey Brown

Bertelsmann Stiftung ( email )

33311 Gutersloh
Germany

Hannah Pierce

New York University (NYU) - The GovLab ( email )

2 MetroTech Center, 9th Floor
Brooklyn, NY 11201
United States

Stefaan Verhulst (Contact Author)

New York University (NYU) - The GovLab ( email )

Bobst Library, E-resource Acquisitions
20 Cooper Square 3rd Floor
New York, NY 10003-711
United States

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