Why we’re building a digital platform for civic participation

 As a citizen of any city, you daily see things that could be improved. Be it an idea to bring communities closer together, be it a mobility solution to avoid that commuters are all evening long stuck in traffic or be it an inventive way to restructure the queues at the town hall. All the citizens together form the eyes of the city. And no, nobody sees everything – even not politicians.
Every city wants to stand out from the rest. We talk all the time about smart cities, but how many times do we talk about smart governance? Indeed, citizen participation is almost non-existing. It’s definitely not the fault of the citizens, but the fault of the government. Which medium do they offer their citizens to talk about their ideas?
Even in the digital era we’re currently in, we’re still using “pen and paper” to submit our ideas to improve our own city. Or at least, you have to fill in a form, including all your identity details (we’ve seen forms asking for your citizen number!). All this red tape makes that citizens are no longer engaged to participate (in case they would have known about the possibility to communicate new ideas…).

That’s where CitizenLab comes in

CitizenLab is a civic engagement platform on which citizens co-create their city. It facilitates a two-way communication between the city government and its citizens through citizen sourcing and crowd governance.
Our mission to shape citizen participation for the digital age.
CitizenLab makes it easy as 1, 2, 3 to come up with an idea, post it, interact on others’ ideas and upvote their personal favourites. This principle is called citizensourcing, on which we based us for our motto: diverse inputs drive superior solutions.
The local government uses CitizenLab in its turn to let its citizen participate in its policy through crowd voting. In other words, we democratise decision-making by allowing the citizens to vote on their preferred solution via anonymous polls. We at CitizenLab believe that this form of crowd governance is the future of decision-making for smart cities.
We use a sleek design that focuses on simplicity to give a lightweight user experience. On the CitizenLab platform, it’s the content (the ideas) that matters, not your identity. We won’t ask you for your address or your profession. Instead, you will get an invite to access your city’s Lab and a first-time sign-up is the only necessity that separates you from having the city at your fingertips. We want to get rid of all the superfluous bureaucracy that characterizes today’s citizen participation. CitizenLab leverages today’s existing technologies to form dialogues between the city and its citizens.
Our SaaS solution for innovative cities will have a subscription-based business model. We just released our alpha version and we’re looking for testers! Go to citizenlab.co to get the link and give us your honest feedback.
Cities are more than welcome to contact us for any further questions, feedback or to request a demo by sending us an e-mail at hello@citizenlab.co.
Hope to hear from you very soon.
Wietse & Aline
Founders of CitizenLab