For several years I have been concerned about social problems and my research has led me to become interested in the place of creativity in groups, companies, organizations and in society in general. These works and research are in line with the major research currents linked to innovation. My approach has focused on the human dimension of innovation: social innovation and, consequently, the birth of a collective intelligence environment.
I developed an original event concept (a new technology) to actualize and update the collective identity of a community of citizens (municipality). An event that has all the characteristics to define new standards in social innovation and thus become a real reference. I still intend to produce this event in my hometown: Quebec City or otherwise elsewhere in a city more open to social innovation.
The Citizen Innovation Forum (CIF) is an instrument of collective passage. From our 20th-century world representation marked by the Industrial Revolution, hierarchical value systems, a bulimic consumer society and social movements drawing their origins from the collective unconscious, the CIF marks the migration of a population towards a new 21st century reality driven by communication, sharing, originality, creativity, innovation and the digital; a reality that gives birth to an environment of collective intelligence. Welcome to the 21st century.
The CIF is a social experiment, a pilot aiming to clarify the representation of our democratic process by centering it around citizens. The CIF is a real instrument for actualizing and updating the collective identity of a community of citizens, an instrument of social innovation.
The CIF is an expression and consultation event for all citizens of the greater city area, who are invited to come together and define a vision for their future. Above all, the project is a communication and collective collaboration event that’s both modern and innovative. Modern, because it integrates our technological environment into the process of accessing, processing and sharing information. Innovative, because it offers citizens a new form of expression: to play a new role in society, one that’s totally adapted to our 21st century reality.
A major characteristic of the CIF is that it intervenes directly at the heart of the identity framework. Today, in the 21st century, an individual’s identity is essentially defined in a social context: gender, origin, language, place of birth, occupation, profession… It is therefore within this social identity framework, at the heart of the cultural environment, that citizens participate in the Forum. This identity context simultaneously supports our experience and is its subject; it’s at the heart of the whole transformation process this event proposes to implement.
Participants meet in small groups linked through family, workplace, school, friendship, etc. During the meeting, these small groups become a true microcosm of the individuals’ social environment, a representation of the identity framework and thus, the support of our experience. This framework encourages the expression of participants’ values, dreams, and ambitions. For the first time, the individual finds himself in a very special and unique situation. He is led to become aware of the event-driven dimension of his situation. He realizes that all the citizens of his city are simultaneously doing exactly the same thing and find themselves in the same situation. Thanks to this “awareness”, the citizen mentally becomes certain of his role in society, and this certainty eliminates doubt.
In the same way that you update your computer’s operating system and suddenly find yourself with new features, better interactions, more speed, etc., The Forum is a real instrument for actualizing and updating the collective identity of a community of citizens, an instrument of social innovation.
FIRST STEP: ONE WEEK
The event will take place over a seven-day period from April 4 to 10, 2021 (tentative dates). During this week, citizens of all ages are invited to meet in small groups (8 to 15 people) of friends, classmates, workers, co-workers, members of social groups, seniors’ residences or even families, at home. This process is all about finding 90 minutes, a place and a group of people with whom to meet during the week to share ideas. This constitutes a very special time to discuss, listen, share and participate in this great meeting of ideas. This step is the heart of the project.
Several weeks before the event, a short questionnaire and a user’s guide will be made available on the CIF website and across the media. The website presents the whole project and provides full details regarding participation. In order to maximize the interest of citizens of all ages, institutions, businesses and the media, will be invited to participate.
MOBILIZE TO INNOVATE
All generations will be called upon to participate. In order for the exercise to be successful, it must be performed in small groups, ideally within the family context. Youth 14 years of age and older in the high school, college and university systems will be invited to participate. Special efforts will be made to attract “baby-boomers” and the elderly. All institutions and businesses in the greater city area will be invited to become “Partners in Participation” and to commit to giving their employees a 90-minute period during the week so they can participate with their work team.
Innovative companies like Google and IBM already spare their employees up to one day a week… This will provide business owners, institutional executives and community leaders with a tremendous opportunity to get involved in the success of the event. They will therefore publicly express their confidence and interest in seeing their employees and local citizens express themselves through this extraordinary event. This is also a great opportunity for companies to draw a faithful portrait of the place creativity and innovation take in their organization.
Volunteers will provide special services to those who need assistance in order for them to join a small group and thus fully participate during the week.
A scientific committee will be established to act as a witness group for the experiment. Its expertise will be called upon to question, guide and apply the CIF within global issues related to:
• leadership and renewal of the democratic process;
• smart cities and the place of the citizen;
• digital reality, democratization of creativity, open innovation and the birth of collective intelligence;
• the transition from the knowledge-based economy to the human economy, the sharing economy.
An international public relations campaign will be launched in the twelve months preceding the event. We are all connected within the Global Village, so we aim to alert the main opinion leaders in the major capitals of the world to the extraordinary initiative led by the Forum. This event is a true world first in the social sciences and humanities. It proposes a new and unprecedented approach to global problems of the 21st century. All over the world, at least 50 opinion leaders, journalists and bloggers are preoccupied with these issues on a daily basis. We will meet with them to share our ambitions, boldness, and determination. We will interest them in the success of our enterprise and invite them to spread the good news. Our goal is literally to launch an international debate on the merits, originality, interest, and hopes behind our extraordinary experience.
A WORLD FIRST
This event will draw attention to the international scene of organizations and opinion leaders passionate about creativity, innovation and the renewal of democratic processes. The experience promises to be a modern instrument of mobilization, communication and collective expression, to become a true world reference and to export itself worldwide. This is one of the objectives of this project. The CIF will undeniably arouse the interest of the international media through its preparation, realization, and conclusions. The city and its citizens will be in the international spotlight and this will strongly encourage their participation.
This idea opens the door to a whole new way of looking at citizenry, events and issues facing our society. All the conditions are in place for an incredible, modern and innovative citizen expression project to take place. I believe today citizens are wise and adventurous enough to seize this opportunity.
That is my invitation to you. Complete documentation available on request and a new conference is available for companies, organizations and municipalities.
It is a project that comes straight from the future, but as everyone knows,
the future is now!