Change happens on a local level!

On Wednesday, 24 May, from 18:00 to 20:00, our project Bridges – Brücken – Puentes hosted their first workshop at Impact Hub Berlin!

The workshop aimed to tackle citizens’ growing disengagement with politics and sense of being unable to change something, offering a new approach to citizenship.

Let the post-it party begin!

Against the background of a survey that FutureLab member Héloise Le Masne had undertaken with local residents and organisations in Berlin, she asked her fellow “Berliners” – among them former FutureLab participant Hanna Pienczykowska – to come and debate with her the problems they see in their neighborhoods.

Upon identifying the roots for their disengagement, participants were called to find solutions to these problems and use creative and unbureaucratic approaches.

The event kicked off at 18:00, with an introduction to the workshop programme and an ice-breaking game. Participants were given post-its to note down what they liked and disliked about Berlin and their city of origin. In a reshuffled manner, post-its were then put on a table, concealing whether they were positive or negative issues. Participants had to pick a post-it and think about which agency or person would be responsible for this issue and how to divide them into categories.

Categorisation (see small yellow post-its)

In the second part, participants were asked to discuss concrete problems in their neighborhood and how to approach them under three different circumstances:

  • With an unlimited budget
  • With no budget, but with 20 people at hand ready to help
  • With no help and no money, on their own

Participants split into two groups and came up with the following problems:

  1. Burglary
  2. Waste of paper in Berlin’s administrations
Countering burglary with different means

Héloise Le Masne then asked participants to evaluate their solutions on the basis of the following questions:

  • Are they ethical?
  • Are they replicable?
  • Are they feasible?


It turned out that countering burglary exposed much more ethical problems than it seemed from the outset. Some conceived the installment of video cameras or other surveillance measures as a threat to individual freedoms. The solutions also differed substantially depending on whether money was available or whether instead some “personnel” was available.

In contrast, the waste of paper in administrations in Berlin, put forward by a teacher in the group, was matched with very feasible and ethically unambiguous solutions. Participants found ways to “nudge” people into using less paper by using smart, small disincentives to print, such as putting the paper trays outside the office.

To take a glimpse at the event and receive updates, visit the event’s Facebook page!

This event is part of FutureLab Europe’s Bridges – Brücken – Puentes project.

About Bridges – Brücken – Puentes

group 2Bridges – Puentes – Brücken aims to build bridges among citizens in neighbourhoods in Berlin and Ronda by promoting active participation and shared decision making.   Their engagement and capacity to solve local issues will be fostered in two workshops in each city.  Citizens will come together to identify local problems and solutions for overcoming them and thus empower themselves to take action in their own lives. …read more.