On the one hand, we define ‘civic innovation’ as innovation processes where the driving impetus comes from within society and on the other hand, all innovations that aim to advance progress in society. The core concept is that the relevant social actors – from members of the public through associations and companies, all the way to organisations and institutions – contribute ideas and are systematically involved in the further process up to implementation. The concept is based on sharing and exchange between different disciplines, sectors and areas, openly and on an equal footing with the aim of developing solutions that can be put into practice.
Frequently asked questions (FAQ)
The most frequently asked questions about the project at a glance
The Civic Innovation Platform project
With the Civic Innovation Platform (CIP) project, the Policy Lab Digital, Work & Society within the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs studies how ideas for AI application that serve to enable societal and social progress can be effectively supported, from the idea through concept development, all the way to implementation and transfer.
The project is based on the German federal government’s artificial intelligence strategy, in which the federal government undertakes to develop and deploy AI ‘responsibly and for the benefit of the common good’ and to embed it ‘in society on an ethical, legal, cultural and institutional basis within the basis of the framework of broad social dialogue and active policymaking [...]’.
In this sense, the Civic Innovation Platform aims to encourage more and more people to adopt, design and implement AI technologies for the benefit of the common good.
The Civic Innovation Platform (CIP) wants to make a contribution to bringing people together from different areas (business, science, administration, civil society), thereby offering them a space to develop new solutions for addressing the challenges and needs of society. Here, good ideas can evolve into innovative projects. Our attention is primarily centred on artificial intelligence (AI) for the benefit of everyone. Alongside the potential for innovation, the focus is also on potential for collaboration: partners are supported in the joint development of ideas and project proposals for the use of AI technology for the common good and their transfer into practice through various types of funding as well as workshops and advice.
The Civic Innovation Platform online
The public area offers insights into the Civic Innovation Platform (CIP) as well as the world of civic technology, open innovation and the concept of open AI innovations for creating added value for society. What opportunities do these new approaches offer? Who are the actors? Where can good examples be found? Ideas and inspiration in relation to these questions can be found in the ‘Good project examples’ section as well as the interviews with our collaborative partners.
Or would you prefer to search through the CIP community for inspiration? Then take a look at previously funded ideas in the idea contest or browse the ideas market – every idea is accompanied by a brief description. Registered users will find detailed information on the ideas in the Community area, where they can also contact the idea creators.
The public area also provides information on funding and contact options. Please see the ‘Latest news and dates’ section for up-to-date information.
In the members-only area of the platform, registered users will find additional information on existing project ideas and content as well as extensive networking functions.
Create a profile
In your profile, you can enter your areas of expertise and interests in order to present yourself and/or your organisation. You can also add your contact details to enable exchange on specific ideas. You can delete the information in your profile at any time. Your data privacy is of utmost importance to us. Detailed information on this can be found in the privacy statement.
Present your ideas and start networking
Our online form enables you to create, present and edit your project ideas. You can also contact potential partners and exchange thoughts on ideas for which collaborative partners are being sought – whether new concepts or ones that have already been submitted. The platform’s matching function also helps to bring together possible partners.
Submit your project draft to the contest
You can submit your joint projects to the current round of the contest directly via the platform. Other forms of submission are not possible.
The CIP ideas market enables registered users to publish their project ideas for AI applications that benefit the common good, search for like-minded partners, network and develop ideas together. The platform’s matching function helps with this.
The ideas market is available in both the public and members-only areas. However, in the password-protected Community area, you can obtain detailed information on ideas as well as the option to contact and network with other idea creators.
All provisions can be used free of charge.
Registration offers several benefits: In the Community area of the platform, registered users will find additional information on existing project ideas and content as well as extensive networking functions. Since most of these functions are customised, they need to be linked to a personal account. This is why it is necessary for users to register in order to access the Community area. Only absolutely necessary data is collected, which will not be passed on to third parties. Detailed information on this can be found in the privacy statement.
Whether private individual, start-up or research or public institutions, anyone with an interest in the development and implementation of AI projects for the benefit of the common good is welcome to register. The more diverse the users, the better the results!
All you need to register is a valid e-mail address. Only absolutely necessary data is collected, which will not be passed on to third parties. Detailed information on this can be found in the privacy statement.
The ‘Log in’ icon is located at the top right of the menu bar. Click on the button to open a window with an input field, where you can enter your login details (e-mail address and password). If you do not have any login details yet, simply click on ‘Register’ and follow the registration process.
In the login window, simply click on ‘Forgotten password?’ to create a new password. To do this, enter your email in the corresponding field. You will then receive an email with a link to create a new password.
If you continue to experience problems when logging in, please contact us at civic-innovation[at]bmas.bund.de.
Project funding at a glance
Funding is provided for AI technology innovations destined for the common good, such as machine learning or pattern recognition. Since the Civic Innovation Platform is a funding programme initiated by the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, proposals must have a clearly identifiable link to the Ministry’s activities. This includes aspects such as the future and quality of work, occupational safety, co-determination in companies, vocational training and further education, reintegration in the labour market, pensions, integration, inclusion, diversity and equal participation.
The Civic Innovation Platform pursues a holistic approach as we provide both financial and non-financial assistance. Collaborative projects that are still in the very early phase can be submitted to the ‘AI is what we make it!’ idea contest, which awards prize money for the further development of ideas. Parallel to this, we also offer advice, access to networks and workshops on various topics that are relevant to the project.
Project collaborations that are already pursuing more advanced, cross-sector ideas can also apply for conventional project funding through grants for the implementation of innovative AI applications from 2021.
The CIP supports innovation processes regardless of which phase a project is in:
- Develop ideas, find partners
- Develop basic proposal
- Idea contest − proof of concept
- Submit application for funding
- Receive project funding
- Implementation and transfer
It is not necessary for all phases to have been completed in order to receive support.
The idea contest
The idea contest supports the proof of concept of an idea. The aim is for a project team to develop an idea together to create a mature concept that is eligible for funding. Ideas will be evaluated for feasibility in an open, integrative process. The best innovative project ideas will receive a financial award of up to 20,000 euros. The process should culminate in a finished concept for the implementation of the idea.
The idea contest is open to a wide range of organisations and actors. Entries are welcome from private individuals, associations, scientists, start-ups, companies, freelancers, initiatives and organisations from the public sector. It doesn’t matter whether the entity has just been set up or if it has already existed for some time.
The decisive factor is, however, that the contest entry or project proposal contributes to embedding AI in society and is based on collaborative development and implementation. This means that individual entries are not permitted and submissions must exhibit networking beyond the respective sector – for instance, collaboration between a social association and a start-up. Submissions from private individuals with a start-up or SME cannot be accepted; the partnership would require an additional partner from another sector. This way, we want to promote new forms of collaboration and strengthen the potential of diverse and perhaps also unconventional partnerships.
All entities of up to four natural and/or legal persons, all of whom have registered on the website www.civic-innovation.de, are eligible to participate. The ideas must also have already been presented on the ideas market on the Civic Innovation Platform. Submissions can be made in German or English. The idea must relate to an AI application that can be used in Germany. The registered address of the responsible applicant (authorised representative) assigned by the team must be in Germany.
Outline your idea
Ideas can be outlined and submitted in the form of an abstract in the Community area.
Find your project partners
Do you have a good idea but haven’t yet found a project partner? The CIP ideas market lets you search for partners for your own idea and respond to relevant searches. The more precisely you describe your project idea, the greater the probability of finding a suitable partner and establishing a partnership swiftly.
Give the idea more shape together
As soon as you have assembled your team, you can get down to working on the idea and developing a project draft together.
Submit the idea together
You can submit project drafts to the contest via the platform online. Other forms of submission are not possible. You will find all further information on the submission process in the Community area.
Submissions must contain the project draft, a partnership agreement between the project partners and a legally binding declaration. Submissions are to be made via the website www.civic-innovation.de. All required online forms are available there. Other forms of submission are not possible.
Submissions will not be considered if
- they are not made directly via the platform (for instance, by post or e-mail),
- the two basic requisites regarding the areas of activity of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and interdisciplinary and/or cross-sector partnerships are not met,
- the submission is made by an employee of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs or their family members,
- the project is already being funded by the federal government.
During the digital idea pitch, the teams with the most promising submissions will have the opportunity to present their idea to a panel of experts. The selected project teams will be invited to the pitch in due course by email and provided with all the necessary information. The digital idea pitch of the third round of the idea contest takes place on 18 April, 2023.
Each project team will have a 12-minute time slot to convince the panel of experts of their idea:
- Each pitch will begin with a video produced by the project team (max. 2 minutes and 30 seconds) which introduces the idea and must be submitted in advance.
- Brief introduction round (name, position, contribution, motivation) of the individual team members.
- Question round with the experts, based on the submitted documents and the video.
- After the 12-minute period, the project team will leave the virtual room.
The invited teams can introduce their idea in a brief video. Whether a single team member or everyone introduces the idea is entirely up to the team. However, the following questions must be answered:
- What do we want to do? (Brief description of the idea)
- Why do we want to do it? (What problem/issue do we want to resolve in this way?)
- How do we want to do it? (How does our idea work?)
- What makes it special? (Innovative application/transfer, etc.)
The video must fulfil the following requirements:
- Video duration: max. 2 minutes, 30 seconds
- Landscape format. A smartphone recording is absolutely sufficient.
- Max. 500 MB
- For the sake of accessibility, no charts, graphics, images, animations or the like should be used that are not also described and explained in detail in speech. For this reason, it’s essential to ensure good sound quality.
If your submitted draft fulfils the formal requirements, a panel of experts will review it. Afterwards, the best ideas will be determined from among all the submissions and the candidates will be invited to a pitch. Here, you will then have the opportunity to present your idea to a selected group of people in an elevator pitch.
Winning ideas are selected on the basis of the following criteria:
- Relevance to the areas of activity of the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs (basic requisite)
- Interdisciplinary and/or cross-sector project partnership (basic requisite)
- Expected added value/benefit for the common good
- Planned use of AI technology
- Innovative character and exemplary nature of the project
- Sustainability and transferability
Since the Civic Innovation Platform is a funding programme initiated by the Policy Lab Digital, Work & Society within the German Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs, proposals must have a clearly identifiable link to the Ministry’s activities.
- The world of work
- Work culture
- Work organisation
- Health and safety at work
- The transparency and comprehensibility of AI applications
- Social partnerships and co-determination
- The labour market
- New forms of employment (e.g. in the platform economy)
- Securing the supply of skilled labour
- Further training
- Equal opportunities
The Civic Innovation Platform only considers submissions from project teams which meet the basic requisites of interdisciplinary and/or cross sector project partnerships. Individual entries are not permitted. The combination of private individuals with a start-up or SME is not permitted to enter; the partnership would require an additional partner from another sector.
For the purpose of the call, sectors are:
- Education and research institutions
- SMEs and start-ups
- Local municipalities
- Public institutions
- Private individuals
- Clubs, associations, and non-profit companies (e.g. gGmbh, gUG or gAG in Germany)
Yes, this is allowed, providing that a project partnership (the same or a different one) exists for each submission.
It is possible to take part in multiple rounds of the contest.
The selected idea creators will be informed of the idea pitch procedure via e-mail.
A further competition round is planned for 2024. You will find information about this in time on the platform.
The aim of the project funding is to promote the joint and creative implementation of AI-based projects on a more diverse and long-term basis.
Like the idea contest, funding is only available for cross-sector collaborative projects (e.g. a start-up with a local municipality) that pursue an approach offering clear benefits for the common good. Previous participation in the idea contest is not necessary.
The funding guideline is currently being finalised. Further information on project funding will be provided on the platform once the funding guideline has been published in the Federal Gazette.
Project funding will start in 2023.