413 projects were submitted by politicians from across democratic party lines from 25 European countries to the Innovation in Politics Awards 2021. A jury of 1,032 European citizens selected the 90 finalists. The results reveal an increasing variety of innovation in almost all areas of politics: The Covid crisis and the climate crisis turn out to be strong drivers of change in political work.
Whether it’s saving lives, protecting jobs and the economy, or making school education possible with digital tools – in 2021, innovations in politics can be seen on all levels of politics and in all parties. As coping with the COVID-19 pandemic has now been a huge challenge for politicians for almost two years, political work has changed substantially throughout Europe.
Discover all 90 finalists here:
Flat-Exchange Coordination Office
A flat-exchange coordination office is set up to tackle the issue of a limited housing market and ensure that residents have both affordable and appropriate housing.
Country: United Kingdom
This project focuses on practical, ecological, community-based housing solutions by creating a range of housing types, including self-build and self-finish homes, to meet local housing needs.
An experimental, virtual currency is introduced to improve engagement in projects designed to help tackle social problems in a deprived area of Mantua.
Mas Coop – Intergenerational participatory housing
A cooperative housing group provides its members with affordable housing that is both clean and efficient, co-creating a living environment suitable for all generations.
Volunteers are individually connected with people living within a 15-minute walking distance who need support with everyday tasks, strengthening local solidarity and neighbourly relationships.
PLATZprojekt – the place for good ideas and projects
This urban, non-profit living laboratory provides residents with a space to try out, develop and realise ideas, in a supportive and collaborative environment.
Protecting the Night Skies of County Mayo
A community-driven project protects County Mayo's dark skies, which benefits local ecology and boosts tourism.
SällBo – Ending Loneliness by Living Together
This innovative housing project helps end loneliness by inspiring people to living better together.
Smart Village – Well-supplied in St. Wendeler Land
Groceries ordered via an online shopping platform are delivered once a week to rural community centres, thereby ensuring a supply of goods in a space which facilitates social interactions.
Social Institution of Culture
The Social Institute of Culture supports the connections between artists, creatives and the wider community by allocating long-term funds to a diverse range of cultural projects.
A coordinated campaign organises assistance and improves cooperation between organisations, resident volunteers and the city's services.
Brake the Curve
The Government of Aragon enabled the creation of platform that channelled the spontaneous civic initiatives that arose as a response to the humanitarian crisis resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
COVID-19 Citizens' Advisory Council of the City of Augsburg
A Citizens’ Advisory Council is set up to initiate a dialogue between residents and the administration about the challenges imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, and to improve acceptance of the responses to the crisis.
Everybody Gargles! Free PCR-testing for everyone in Vienna
Effective collaboration means that free and accurate PCR home testing kits are available for everyone living, working or studying in Vienna, enabling regular and convenient testing for COVID-19 which gives results within 24 hours.
Gdynia for Medics
Gdynia supports the medical staff facing the challenges presented by the COVID-19 pandemic, by providing a dedicated phone line to arrange accommodation, meals, transportation and psychological support.
Gdynia's Programme to Support Students, Teachers and Parents During the Pandemic
A comprehensive range of supportive actions respond to the needs of students, teachers and parents facing the rapidly changing conditions resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
I Will Help You Learn
A network of volunteers help pupils in their learning process, and facilitate the work of teachers, by providing direct and online learning support.
Innovative Film in the Fight Against Coronavirus, Ostrów Wielkopolski
An innovative protective film that limits the transmission of microorganisms, including Coronavirus, is used in public spaces as part of the city's response to the pandemic.
The Pentagon 20 km/h Traffic Zone – Ville 20
A temporary measure in response to the pandemic has become part of Brussels' long-term mobility strategy; prioritising pedestrians and cyclists by reducing speed limits and allowing shared use of the roadway.
United We Stream
United We Stream emerged as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic with a fundraising campaign for Berlin's clubs, which then evolved into a streaming initiative showcasing cross-genre cultural formats for global audiences.
Bristol's First Citizens' Assembly
Country: United Kingdom
A representative group of citizens discuss three challenging topics and make recommendations which will inform the city's plans for the future.
Consultations for the Łodź 2030+ Strategy – Co-Created City
Residents are involved in the creation of the city's development strategy, enabling the realisation of a shared vision for the future.
This free open-source platform allows institutions all over the world to initiate participation processes, leading to the democratisation of development.
Eberswalde Citizens' Budget
A system of participatory budgeting is questioned and redefined in order to encourage maximum participation with a low-threshold voting event.
Electoral District Citizen Assemblies
Electoral District Citizen Assemblies (EDCAs) renew the relationship between residents and their local MPs, with a focus on engaging with those people who are disillusioned and frustrated with the current political scene. Anywhere around Europe a growing number of citizens – the “invisible third” – feels left behind by the political establishment. EDCAs are a low-threshold approach to involve all parts of society into a non-partisan political debate based on random selection and door to door motivation to participate.
LAAAB – Aragón's Open Governance Laboratory
Citizen participation in public policy is encouraged through the laboratory's activities, which aim to bring institutions and citizens closer together through open deliberation and transparent decision-making.
New Life of the Square
Research on the use of urban space in the Old Town of Szczecin led to limitations on car traffic and increased accessibility for pedestrians.
SHE – See Her Elected
This community-led initiative supports women into politics in rural areas of Ireland, strengthening local and national democracy by increasing the diversity of political participation.
Wales's Well-being of Future Generations Act
Country: United Kingdom
The Well-Being of Future Generations Act provides a legal link between the UNs' Sustainable Development Goals and Wales's future pathway by creating a set of seven country-level Well-Being Goals.
We are the City – Urban Lab Rzeszów
The Urban Lab Rzeszów involves local residents in the development of their city, improving the appearance of the city as well as the quality of life for all residents.
+Ricicli +Viaggi – the more you recycle the more you travel
A novel approach to recycling sees plastic bottles exchanged for discounts on public transport tickets in Italy.
An Electronic Parking Management System for the Disabled in the Municipality of Chania
A specifically designed App allows disabled parking card holders to more easily find an available parking space, while reducing the illegal occupation of these spaces by able-bodies drivers.
City of the Future 2030: Co-Create Sustainability through Digitalisation – IoT for Everybody
Ulm has been chosen as one of Germany's Cities of the Future, implementing digital projects using a bottom-up co-creation approach which will develop the urban environment in a more sustainable way.
An e-governance App is launched which facilitates citizen participation and helps the administration communicate with the city's residents.
MICADO: Migrant Integration Cockpits and Dashboards
An interdisciplinary international project develops a generic solution facilitating communication between migrants, authorities and civil society, which can also be adapted to local needs.
MoBio – Mobile Biography for New Immigrants
A structured storage platform for biographical data facilitates the integration process for newly arrived migrants, allowing them to more easily navigate and manage the support services available to them.
Warsaw's e-service platform simplifies and automates services, providing residents with a more convenient, cost-effective and higher quality means of interacting with their administration.
Revolutionising Waste Collection
Country: Czech Republic
The City of Prague has installed sensors on waste containers, enabling waste to be collected in a more dynamic and efficient manner.
VisualGob is a new digital system which enables the visualisation of the Government Plan, allowing citizens to monitor their government's progress in real time.
Vote Rookie promotes youth participation in politics by combining digital tools, civic education and gamification in one web-based App.
Binit Better: streamlining waste services in Exeter, Devon
Country: United Kingdom
A flexible and responsive waste-collection service is designed to help businesses take control of their waste.
Citizens' Convention on Climate
A representative panel of French citizens work together to define measures which will help achieve a 40% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions by 2030.
Followgreen: reward platform for recycling, Municipality of Artaion
Followgreen is a new service for smart cities in the European market, introducing innovative elements both in the field of recycling and in the field of citizen awareness.
HEAT – Hamburg Electric Autonomous Transportation
A comprehensive research and development project assesses the feasibility, safety and acceptance of the first fully automated public minibus service in Hamburg.
Klimakommune Saerbeck: a city on its way to a sustainable future
A community thinks globally and acts locally to create sustainable changes and social transformation for a climate-friendly future.
RESILIO – Resilience Network of Smart, Innovative Climate-Adaptive Rooftops
Smart blue-green roof technology mitigates the effects of extreme weather events while increasing biodiversity and protecting the most vulnerable in society from environmental pressures.
Rijnvliet Edible Neighbourhood
Participatory co-design creates a residential neighbourhood around accessible urban agriculture, enhancing the quality of life for inhabitants and the rich biodiversity for all living things.
The CANN Project – Collaborative Action for the Natura Network
Country: United Kingdom
A cross-border environmental project improves the condition of special areas of conservation, resulting in cleaner water, reduced flood risk and increased biodiversity and carbon capture.
The Shop Without Money
The Shop Without Money is a place where people can exchange objects and skills, but not money, thus multiplying the lifecycle of everyday objects and promoting the value of sharing in society.
Vienna Repair Voucher
A voucher scheme subsidises the costs of repairs, encouraging consumers to fix old items instead of throwing them away and buying new ones.
Age Friendly Business Recognition Programme
Businesses consult with older customers about the changes they could make to improve their services, and in doing so engage with an often neglected but expanding consumer base.
Apprenticeship in Vorarlberg
A new approach to recruiting apprentices aims to inspire the next generation of skilled workers through the use of new technologies and the creation of regional and national communication networks.
AVAILABLE – Hub of Opportunities
The first training centre specifically adapted to the needs of disabled people opens in Bulgaria, empowering them and increasing their skills, knowledge and participation in the labour market.
Establishing Rural Working Hubs
Targeted redevelopment sees Rural Working Hubs established which meet local needs while contributing to a more economically and environmentally sustainable future.
Fossil-Free Steel: first industrial-scale demonstration plant of HYBRIT
The first fossil-free steel, industrial-scale demonstration plant will transform Sweden's steel and iron industry and facilitate the transition to a fossil-free society: in Sweden and globally.
KAPS – Koloc 'A Solidarity Project
A new model of shared housing provides affordable student accommodation in exchange for neighbourhood solidarity activities, which improve the social life of all residents.
An online platform connects local businesses with consumers and offers them the opportunity for their goods to be delivered by bike, thus supporting a local and sustainable economy.
A publicly-owned company combines the diverse startup ecosystem with urban cultural development using an interdisciplinary and integrated approach.
Summer of Pioneers, Wittenberge
A small but well-connected town attracts young, digital workers to the area by providing them with discounted accommodation and a co-working space for a limited period of time.
Big business subsidises the cost of cargo e-bikes so that entrepreneurs can take advantage of the multiple benefits of delivering goods using this sustainable form of transport.
A new tailor training academy is launched in a building confiscated from the Mafia, which aims to train and up-skill young people from marginalised backgrounds who are at risk of social exclusion.
Launching kood/Jõhvi – a new kind of coding school!
This new coding school gives young people in the northeast of Estonia an opportunity to learn skills that are in high demand and access a new career path.
Learning in the Garden
A digital toolbox helps teachers plan outdoor lessons and facilitates a holistic approach to action-oriented learning, which gives children and young people richer learning experiences and a closer relationship to nature.
Siauliai Grows: an online learning assistance platform
An online learning-assistance platform is created to help last-year school students prepare for their state-level final exams, with the help of pedagogy student tutors.
An interdisciplinary team of students and young graduates are given the challenge of building a solar-powered car.
A series of events, projects and courses promote Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics, particularly among girls and young women, inspiring the next generation of change-markers.
TeachMillions is an initiative that was established in the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdowns in order to support teachers and learners in need of distance-learning tools.
Teenagers in Local Government
All secondary school students in Warsaw are invited to participate in workshops that give them a basic knowledge of the functioning of their city, enabling them to use the instruments available to have an impact on its development.
The Citizens' University of Larissa
The Citizens' University of Larissa promotes a culture of learning in the city which helps to improve the knowledge, skills and future perspectives of all the city's residents.
Parent-Teacher Mediators know the educational system in their country of origin and in Germany, and can therefore facilitate the integration of foreign students into German schools.
A series of targeted measures offer support, raise awareness and provide training on the prevention and response to cyber- and other forms of bullying.
Combined Playground for Children
A playground adapted for children with special needs allows all children to play together, regardless of their abilities.
The City of Milan develops an App to securely enable newsstands to provide citizens with certificates issued by the Registry Office, on demand.
Educational and Social Inclusion of Migrant and Refugee Children in Primary Schools
Country: Bosnia and Herzegovina
This project integrates migrant children into local schools, providing them not only with an education and new skills, but also with friends, fun and enriching experiences.
Educational Programme for the Prevention of Violence Against Children
A programme for preventing all forms of violence and exploitation aims to protect children by developing their understanding and practical skills.
Netzwärk – supporting professional perspectives for refugees and migrants
Netzwärk is a social startup which enables people with refugee or migrant backgrounds to create professional perspectives for themselves.
A small Swedish town paints its pedestrian crossings in rainbow colours to remind residents to respect LGBTQ rights and that it's okay to be different.
Repatriation Programme, Środa Wielkopolska
A small local authority attracts new, permanent residents by creating a centre to welcome and support repatriates.
Social Laundrette in the Municipality of Chania
The first Social Laundrette in Crete provides socially-vulnerable citizens with the facilities to wash their clothes and take care of their personal hygiene, as well as a sense of self-worth and belonging.
The Violence Algorithm establishes a coordinated institutional response to domestic violence and supports integrated prevention mechanisms.
Quality of Life
DB Rad+ App – Rewards for Cycling
Hamburg adopts the DB Rad+ App which employs gamification techniques and incentives to encourage cycling while enabling the city to make more targeted infrastructure developments and promoting local businesses.
Pink Box – Let's End Period Poverty and Act for Equality
Pink Boxes found in public institutions across the city provide women and girls with sanitary products in order to end period poverty and break menstruation taboos.
A social enterprise facilitates the transition from urban to rural living by working with rural communities to help them integrate newcomers into the community.
Rain Gothenburg – the world's best rainy city
The City of Gothenburg celebrates its 400th anniversary by making the most of one of its most abundant assets - rain - in a creative, playful and sustainable way.
Smart Lighting along the River Fulda Cycle Paths
An adaptive lighting system uses sensor technology and insect-friendly LED lights in order to ensure the safety of pedestrians and cyclists while conserving insects and minimising light pollution.
The Street Moves project reimagines and redesigns streets with pedestrians, sustainable forms of transport and the local community in mind; transforming streets into multifunctional and inclusive spaces.
The Mosquito Hunters
Experts and volunteer-residents combine forces to collect data in an environmentally-friendly fight against mosquitos.
The Social Supermarket
The first Social Supermarket in Poland provides high-quality goods at low prices, supporting the most socially and financially vulnerable residents and reducing food waste.
The Wild Child's Sanctuary
An outdoor adventure playground gives children the opportunity to explore nature with their peers, under the supervision of specially-trained play workers.
An innovative crowd-sourcing approach is implemented in response to Ireland's housing crisis, allowing local residents to log vacant homes in their area and help create new homes from the existing housing stock.