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Ideas for AI providing benefits for the common good: first Civic Innovation Platform award ceremony

Watch the video of the award ceremony in German:

Over 100 entries were submitted in the first round of the idea contest. Due to the high quality of the draft ideas submitted, 25 project outlines were actually given recognition as part of the pitch, rather than 15 as originally intended.

At the award ceremony held on 10 March 2021, the best ideas in the areas of ‘Knowledge & Learning’, ‘Administration & Democracy’, ‘Inclusion & Diversity’ and ‘Work & Participation’ were honoured by Federal Minister Hubertus Heil and commended by the experts representing the CIP’s circle of cooperation partners. The variety of the topics addressed by the ideas was reflected, with everything included from ideas to improve the working world and co-determination, participation and inclusion through to education regarding AI technologies, continuing professional development and lifelong learning.

You will find an overview of the winning project ideas here.

In addition to development support, the award winners will each now also receive prize money of up to 20,000 euros with which to further develop their ideas.

Above all, innovative ideas need diversity and cooperation

The winning ideas were presented by Anika Krellmann (organisation and information management consultant, Local Government’s Joint Agency for Administrative Management [KGSt]), Andreas Bethke and Jana Mattert (managing director and consultant, German Federation of the Blind and Partially Sighted [DBSV]), Dr Matthias Peissner (institute director and head of Human-Technology Interaction, Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering [Fraunhofer IAO]) and Daniel Abbou (managing director, KI Bundesverband e.V.) as representatives of the panel of experts. They all agreed in particular that cooperation between people from all the different disciplines is and must continue to be the key to innovative ideas. After all, practical solutions for AI providing benefits for the common good can only be generated on the basis of a combination of all kinds of different skills, methods and knowledge.

Federal Minister Hubertus Heil emphasised just how important this was right now in particular in these fast-changing and developing times:

‘What this society needs is realistic confidence that we can achieve positive change with technology.’

It is people that have to come up with the solution, he said, thereby illustrating the added value of AI for society. All the winning ideas had precisely this goal in common, the Federal Minister said. Hubertus Heil therefore explicitly thanked the project teams for diverging from the beaten track and applying their creativity not only to invent new things, but also to improve existing ones.

Idea contest already entering a new round

State Secretary Björn Böhning encouraged the project teams to remain on the ball and to now turn the ideas into workable concepts and bring them to life. The creative drive clearly demonstrated by these project ideas now needed to be applied to the second round of the idea contest too, he said. This is scheduled to get under way this spring.

Following the award ceremony, the project teams attended an initial networking workshop where they were able to get to know one another, network and engage with each other and the experts. Presented with the prospect of a planned series of workshops, the project teams were provided with some initial input on how to further develop their ideas – the teams are not only being given financial backing, but are also being assisted in further developing their draft ideas by the Policy Lab with the involvement of the experts. The focus is on issues such as AI usage and aspects of accessibility, applicability and data security.

You have a great idea for how AI applications could be used to improve society? Then register, find the right project team for you and jointly submit your draft idea to the next round of the idea contest ‒ let’s go!