Global Innovation Gathering (GIG) is a vibrant, diverse community of innovation hubs, makerspaces, hackerspaces and other grassroots innovation community spaces alongside individual innovators, makers, technologists and changemakers.
GIG is pursuing a new vision for global cooperation based on equality, openness and sharing. We aim to enable more diversity in the production of technology and global innovation processes and support open and sustainable solutions developed by grassroots innovators.
GIG contributes to creating and using open, inclusive and sustainable technologies and meaningful connections between innovators, positively impacting the policies and frameworks for grassroots innovation.
With solid roots in the global south, we share, collaborate and work together. GIG provides a platform for meaningful exchange by fostering knowledge exchange and collaboration between its members.
GIG supports research in innovation and development, digital rights and technology ecosystem questions carried out by local experts and international teams.
GIG believes in harnessing the powers of grassroots innovation for societal change. In particular, we believe in involving the people affected in policymaking and technology design processes. Through our Open Innovation projects, we bring together different actors and perspectives to work on open solutions for social and economic development.
In Critical Making, we add scientific insights into the potential of the maker movement for critical, socially responsible making, and show how these communities can offer new opportunities for young makers of all genders to contribute to an open society via open innovation. Thus, we study grassroots innovation processes taking place in maker spaces, hackerspaces, fablabs and online spaces to relate them to RRI practices. More specifically, we search for and analyse existing innovation and co-design processes taking place in these open spaces to find out how far they reflect or contradict RRI principles.
“Young Innovators: Using Digital Media to Inform about Regular and Irregular Migration Issues” was a six month pilot project GIG conducted with Kumasi Hive and Impact Hub Accra in partnership with Wikimedia Ghana User Group. It aimed at improving the information base on migration and travel.
In March 2019, Mozilla started its Reimagine Open project to revisit the ways Mozilla practices open to imagine better futures for our digital lives. Over 20,000 people from around 160 countries answered Mozilla’s survey, and four focus groups were hosted in Europe and North America. Several GIG members supported Mozilla‘s Reimagine Open project by hosting Focus Groups in their hubs in 2019.
One goal of digitization should be to make medical care more participatory and involve patients in developing solutions. New technologies open up new possibilities to apply to the user or the patient and new innovative actors, not only in data collection. GIG works toward open health systems through our supported projects.
Bottom-up digital social innovations are on the rise, including in healthcare. Access to the Internet, open source information and digital tools empower citizens, including patients, caregivers and healthcare professionals, to improve the self-management of their disease or to develop aids that support them in coping with daily hindrances of physical limitations. Many grassroots solutions saw the light of day: open source hand prosthetics, 3D printed writing tools to support kids with physical limitations, add-ons for wheelchairs, and everything in between. However, these initiatives are still scattered.
Together with Egyptian NGO Masr Bela Marad (MBM), which translates as “Egypt without illness”, and with support from a donation from Siemens AG and Siemens Energy AG, GIG set up a smart clinic in Shubra El Khema, Cairo. The clinic is an example of participatory and inclusive development, where all partners are working together for a common goal – to improve access to health at a time when it is needed more than ever.
Citizen Social Science combines equal collaboration between citizen groups (co-researchers) that share a social concern and academic researchers. Such an approach enables robust research methods to address pressing social issues embedded in their social contexts from the bottom up. In GIG, we aim to co-create socially rich knowledge.
CoAct: Co-designing Citizen Social Science for Collective Action
The CoAct project aims to position and demonstrate citizen social science’s scientific relevance and social impact, which connotes a radically participatory approach where citizens are considered in-the-field experts and co-researchers. The different Research and Innovation (R&I) actions developed within the project will engage citizens and local civil society groups sharing a social concern as co-researchers and place them at the centre of an open, inclusive and transparent Research and Innovation (R&I) cycle.
As a global community, GIG knows the power of convening like-minded innovators worldwide to work on digital innovation and digital rights-based policy topics. As Wau Holland, the founder of the Chaos Computer Club, once said about their annual congress, “some digital things are best done in person”.
DOTS. The Impact Summit
Climate change, economic inequality and political divisions are only becoming more pressing challenges worldwide. As a network of networks, hubs and individuals, we want to implement change through concrete and tangible projects jointly. We use the power of a gathering to cocreate and implement long-term projects that offer collaborative solutions to systemic problems in different localities.
The Global Innovation Gathering evolved from a sub-conference inside re:publica, bringing together innovation hub managers, makers, hackers and entrepreneurs from across the world. GIG has become a central part of the conference programme, showcasing tech innovation and maker projects from Asia, Africa and Latin America.
Innovation is a powerful force that can drive social and economic development, especially in the Global South. Unfortunately, the distorted image portrayed by media often obscures the potential of digital…
In recent years, makerspaces have emerged as a powerful force for innovation and community building in cities worldwide. These shared workspaces provide access to tools, technology, and resources often out…
CoAct (Co-designing Citizen Social Science for Collective Action) proposes a radically new approach to facing global social issues by engaging vulnerable citizens as co-researchers. The strategy represents a new account…
Gertrude Mawuena GohAfrican Makerspace Network, Ghana Gertrude is currently working as an Executive Manager on the Africa Makerspace Network, a community of African Makerspaces. She holds a Bachelor of Science in…
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