Meet the winners of the Innovation in Politics Awards 2017

15 February 2018




Project: Breaking Segregation – The Nyköping Model


Project lead: Veronica Andersson, former president of the Children and Youth Committee in the Municipality of Nyköping (Sweden)


Integrated education: better results by merging schools from diverse parts of town


Several years ago, the Municipality of Nyköping decided to merge its four high schools into one. The reasoning was that if children from different parts of town are allocated to different schools, this reinforces ethnic and social segregation. The Nyköping model strengthens students’ social skills, promotes integration and social development, and creates encounters between kids from different backgrounds. Allocation of resources and competence are optimised, and education takes place in suitable buildings. Reversing the trend of poor school results united the politicians of Nyköping across political divides. In 2014 the new school was ready. Gathering all pupils in one school made it easier to focus on improving results.

There are currently 1,400 pupils enrolled, and soon the first age group will graduate. Results appear to have improved significantly. In the past pupils needed to pass three subjects in order to be eligible for upper secondary school, and only 70 % did. Now a passing grade in eight to twelve subjects is required, and it is expected that 90 % will make it.





Project: Towards Zero Waste – Verso Rifiuti Zero / Tariffa puntuale


Project lead: Alessio Ciacci, former Councillor for Environment at Capannori (Italy)


Towards more recycling: lower fees to reward better waste separation


Tariffa Puntuale is part of the project Verso Rifiuti Zero – Towards Zero Waste, aimed at establishing a system of rewards and penalties for households and businesses in order to minimise the production of non-recyclable waste.

As the first town in Italy to adopt a “Towards Zero Waste” strategy, Capannori launched a project to align waste tariffs with the systems used for energy and water, linking the cost to the amount of non-ˇrecyclable waste. This method encourages households and businesses to maximise waste separation, thereby increasing recycling which turns waste into value and gives it a second life.

The initiative, conducted from 2007 to 2013, was based on a technical design which combined social and technological innovation and encouraged citizens’ involvement. It started with a pilot project on a small part of the territory to test different technologies and concluded with full implementation in 2013.





Project: Collaborative and transparent – drafting of the Digital Republic Bill

Project lead: Axelle Lemaire, former Innovation and Digital Affairs Minister in the French Government(France)


New ways of lawmaking: citizens take part in drafting a bill


For the first time in France and in Europe, a bill initiated by a national government was co-drafted by citizens, during an open, transparent and interactive three-week online consultation. 21,330 contributors commented on the text, suggested amendments and proposed new articles. 90 of the

proposals made their way into the Digital Republic Bill before the legislation was even presented to Parliament. The bill was eventually adopted unanimously both by the National Assembly and the Senate.

The participants claimed to be very satisfied with their experience, especially the youngest who discovered the making of a bill in real time. The text has now been implemented; it aims at widening the access to and dissemination of data and knowledge, ensuring equal rights for consumers, fair competition for companies, protecting online privacy, and promoting internet access as a universal right. An incubator for democratic innovations was launched as a private initiative following this experiment to support tech-based civic projects.



Category: ECOLOGY


Project: R-URBAN. Ecological Transition Movement involving citizens in civic resilience networks


Project lead: Marie-Hélène Amiable, Mayor of Bagneux; Patrice Leclerc, Mayor of Gennevilliers; Alexis Bachelay, City Councillor of the City of Colombes; Pascale Meker, Deputy Mayor Environment Bagneux (France)


Local answers to global challenges: strengthening urban adaptability to climate change


R-Urban is a grassroots movement for ecological transition. It proposes to enhance the local capacity of urban resilience by building networks of hubs that valorise local resources and support alternative models of living, producing and consuming. R-ˇUrban provides tools, training and resources to facilitate citizen collaborations. More than an environmental and social innovation project, it is a political project.

Indeed it proposes an innovative model of civic resilience involving citizens, organisations and municipalities and scaling it from neighbourhood to further levels. Currently, R-Urban has developed six hubs, working with five municipalities and more than 60 public and civic organisations, directly involving more than 10,000 people.

New productive initiatives have emerged within the network, creating green jobs, such as the École du Composte that has trained 150 master composters. R-Urban has received numerous awards and has been laureate of the “100 global projects for the Climate“ supported by COP21, the 2015 Paris Climate Change Conference.





Project: Integration project Kistlerhofstrasse


Project lead: Dieter Reiter, Mayor of Munich; Frederik Kronthaler, Condrobs Director for Youth (Germany)


Integrative housing: young refugees living together with local students


This integrative housing project, the first of its kind in Germany, provides a home for 62 unaccompanied minor and young adult refugees between the ages of 16 and 26, alongside 41 university students. By living together with students of the same age group, young refugees can learn about German culture and can interact with a part of society immediately. The main aim of the project is to create a safe place for young refugees and to help them to live independently.

They are often socially disadvantaged and, without family support, have specific needs regarding social integration, personal development, education, and further career guidance. Social workers are present 24/7 and support the young refugees by assisting them in obtaining a school degree, finding suitable apprenticeships or, if possible, jobs. The building also houses a social cafeteria, as well as conference rooms, which are accessible to the whole neighbourhood and thereby promote social interaction between people of different backgrounds.



Category: JOBS


Project: Pilot project to develop long term mobility for apprentices in Europe


Project Lead: Jean Arthuis, former Minister, European Deputy, President of the Committee on Budgets (France)


Apprenticeship across borders: apprentices catching up with students


Within the framework of a pilot project supported by the European Commission, since September 2016, Les Compagnons du Devoir (Companions of Duty) have coordinated a consortium of more than 30 training centres in 12 European countries. The objective: testing the options for apprentices to train in another EU country for six to twelve months and obtain a degree or certificate from the welcoming country or, upon return, from the country of origin. In addition to again giving value to the idea of an apprenticeship and providing the same opportunities for mobility in vocational training as students have in higher education, this project also lays the groundwork for a European apprenticeship framework.





Project: Calliope mini

Project lead: Gesche Joost, Ambassador of the European Commission Project Digital Champions (Germany)


Digital wizard: everything a schoolchild needs to explore the world of bits and bytes


Calliope mini is a microcontroller that has been developed for use in the classroom, starting from primary school. Teachers and schools are vital to conveying digital literacy in a meaningful way. Our mission is to provide every schoolchild from the third grade onwards with a playful approach to the digital world.

Calliope is currently equipping pilot schools throughout Germany, helping to change the educational system. The aim is to distribute the Calliope mini to schools all over the country, working together with the ministries of culture and state media centres to permanently anchor more media competency in the curricula.

The Calliope mini addresses the creative part of digital education and at the same time provides the basis for digitisation – programming itself – in an understandable way. Just a few clicks and you can create your own programmes. The various functions can be easily controlled by our editors, available on In no time at all, the star-shaped board transforms into a small robot, plays new music compositions or transmits messages.





Project: Sign-language video – interpreter


Project lead: Piotr Kowalski, Community and urban activist, Civil Platform political party member (Poland)


Equal access to public offices: video sign language interpreting for the hearing-impaired


In 2012 a new law on sign language and communication methods came into force in Poland. Because of this, hearing-impaired people are now able to communicate better with the world, and the authorities are required to make access for them possible.

The system – successfully implemented in local authority offices (e.g. in Lodz), labour offices, municipalities, communities and voivodships – enables deaf people to use public services like hearing people, without special appointments or other preparations. Getting access to a sign language interpreter is often a nightmare for hearing-impaired people.

This problem has been solved by the video transfer and an interpreting studio, organised by the Polish Deaf Association. The project started with one office and 20 points at which an interpreter was available. At present, there are over 200 such points. The system also allows people to connect with an interpreter from home on a website.


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