As part of the final activities of the EU-Project Mobile, I attended a meeting of two working groups of Members of the European Parliament last week. The aim of the two-hour event was to exchange views on the opportunities and challenges of co-creation approaches to the development of digital services in age-friendly cities and communities. In particular, we presented our learnings and policy recommendations. To the event entitled: “The future of Europe is co-created. Digital public services for age-friendly cities and communities” was hosted by the Intergroup on Active Ageing, Intergenerational Solidarity and Family issues and the Urban Intergroup. More than 40 representatives* from the European Parliament, the European Commission, national and regional representations in Brussels as well as from other EU and participation projects took part in the events.
Increasingly, public services are provided digitally, but their use is still low. In the recent Ministerial Declaration (EU Tallinn 2017), EU Member States recognised that “more needs to be done” to provide digital public services close to citizens. Part of the challenge is that administrations lack the tools and experience to involve citizens in the design, planning, implementation and evaluation of digital services. As part of our Mobile Age project, we have developed and evaluated co-creation methods with older people, administrations, social service providers and researchers. In addition, a number of practical and accessible mobile applications were developed at pilot sites throughout Europe (Bremen, South Lakeland, Zaragoza and Thessaloniki). For Bremen you can find these applications for the districts Osterholz and Hemelingen on Bremen.De. In my presentation I highlighted the role of local and regional actors in the participatory development of digital services.
Parliamentarians Lambert van Nistelrooij and Jan Olbrycht moderated the following short contributions:
- Kieran McCarthy, European Committee of the Regions and Cork City Council: Creating a society for digital change and innovation
- Niall Hayes, University of Lancaster, Organisation, Work and Technology: The Mobile-Age approach for senior-friendly digital public services
- Konstantinos Kapsouropoulos, European Commission, DG Connect: European policies for age-friendly environments
- Juliane Jarke, Institute for Information Management, University of Bremen: Participatory digital service design and e-Inclusion
- Susanna Laurin, CEO Funka, Stockholm: Practical implementation of tools for citizen involvement – A Norwegian government’s study
- Niall Hayes, University of Lancaster, Organisation, Work and Technology: Accessible digital services for older people
- Jonathan Brook, Deputy Leader of South Lakeland District Council: Connecting older adults to technological public services