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CAPS2015: consolidating CAPS boom

July 26, 2015

CAPS2015, the second edition of the International Event on Collective Awareness Platforms for Sustainability and Social Innovation (CAPS) was organised by Sigma Orionis under the aegis of the European Commission on July 7-8 in Brussels. This year’s edition was held under the theme ‘Networked Social Responsibility’, which underlines the commitment of all the actors involved in working for the common good and solving (or at least contributing to) societal issues leveraging the network effect.

The twocaps2015_©valentinasommariva_36-day gathering was held at La Tricoterie, an ideal venue for its commitment to be ‘a link factory’ and for its grassroots soul. CAPS2015 was opened by a plenary session focusing on the empowerment of new actors, with inspiring testimonies coming from different experiences (ranging from engagement design to Brazilian bottom-up movements to the role of creative communities) and an overview of the European Commission efforts in the field, followed by an animated session about the CAPS projects achievements so far. The rest of the day, as well as the following, saw the break up of the audience in different sessions, tackling a wide range of CAPS-related topics. Some examples? The usage of data for driving social entrepreneurship; open policy making; the role of IoT in local communities; crowdfunding standards; the future of collective intelligence processes and solutions. In the meanwhile, the main stage kept hosting animated panels about the value of (digital) Social Innovation, decentralised citizen action and tools, technologies and communities, spaced out by the ‘Perspectives on Networked Social Responsibility’ series of talks and on-stage interviews. Inspiring examples were brought on stage, including Matera 2019 (European Capital of Culture) Web Team winning experience, the Fora do Eixo Brazilian network of activists and musicians, the Manifacturing Recovery Toolkit call to arms.

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Despite the CAPS programme being somehow a novelty, we recorded a generalised urge to go beyond enthusiasm and to share and learn actual best practices. This implies first of all a non-instrumental approach to communities, blurring the line between bottom-up and top-down in favour of a collaborative co-creation. Co-design, and design in general, emerged as important factors for the impact and effectiveness of such initiatives: we are finally talking about ‘how’ to reach common objectives together instead of giving for granted a mechanical and tech-centric view of engagement. Consequently democracy and collective intelligence where at the center of the debate, alongside with the need to rethink citizens’ sovereignty on their data and privacy, and to set up decentralised structures. With 350 participants on site, more than 500 following the audio broadcast and +2500 interactions on Twitter, CAPS2015 confirmed the success of the first edition: discover the event proceedings here and get in touch with us for the next edition!

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