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.
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 involve the user or the patient and new innovative actors, not only in the collection of data. 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 robust knowledge.
As a global community, GIG knows of 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”.
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.
Read more about DOTS and check out our DOTS 2020 Playlist on YouTube!
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.