JOIN the Network of Open Data Labs


Consortium partners of the Open4Citizens project invite organisations and authorities to join us: we are creating a brand-new Network of Open Data Labs (


As a first step, we have drafted a Letter of Intent summarising possible shared understandings of the scope and limits for such a prospective collaboration. Link to the full Letter of Intent.

Common goals & activities

We suggest the goals and activities of the forthcoming Network Of Open Data Labs to take shape as the following:

  • An ecosystem for public service co-creation as a space for experimenting new public services at the intersection of people and data. Networks, contexts and competences may differ locally, but in each instantiation tools and methods enabling creativity, innovation, realisation and scaling of solutions should be available – possibly also with attention given to the co-creation processes and their effects in themselves; not only the outcomes.
  • Part of a network that extends the five OpenDataLabs that have given shape to the Open4Citizens project: in Barcelona, Copenhagen, Karlstad, Milan, and Rotterdam. Similar to the FabLab movement, each ‘node’ in the network will share a set of principles – but at the same time welcome and nurture continual experimentation.
  • Bridging two communities – that of the local community with specific aims and purposes, and the global/European network where exchange and sharing will happen in order to make ideas and solutions become more widespread. We aim to trigger Public Innovation Places that realize community building, support local initiatives and aggregate human resources around specific problems and opportunities. At local level, each OpenDataLab represent an opportunity for citizens to use existing open data sets or promote opening of new public data.
  • The use of a dedicated platform already well underway in the context of the O4C project is offered as a tool freely available for organizing data related hackathons and containing methods/tools that support in particular less data/IT-savvy citizens.
  • Anchored within a service design approach and knowledge synthesised in outcomes of the O4C project, there is a rich base of cards, design process descriptions, templates and other materials to ensure local facilitation of co-design activities across domain expertise and citizens passionate about particular topics. Overall, the aim is to enable public service co-creation by non-IT-savvy citizens.
  • Having educational and training purposes at its core, the OpenDataLabs will ultimately be about supporting education of more data-literate citizenship. Overall, the idea is to increase awareness about data, diffusion of creative thinking based on data and the cultivation of a higher technical skill-level.
  • No standard franchising blueprint – but shared common elements. We will not urge all involved to adopt a standard blueprint, but instead we encourage all ‘labs’ to be locally relevant, diverse and different from one another. As such may foresee many different formats and possibly business models.
  • Aiming for sustainability will be a crucial goal regardless of whether a local instantiation is born inside an existing organisation or starts independently. Some expenses are to be expected and will have to be managed at least to reach at least break-even.

Structure & membership

We propose to structure the network as a not for profit association (established under the Belgian law as an “AISBL”) to ensure the limited liability of all participating entities as well as maintain equal rights for all members in the association.

The vision is to keep the financial requirements and the resulting membership fees at the very minimum and to maintain a ‘light organisation’. Initially the secretariat will be hosted at Aalborg University and with a seat in Brussels located at the premises of a sister association, virtually free of charge. Looking ahead at a later stage, the internal functioning and the external actions of the ENODL will depend on the individual plans of its members and the respective self-funding capacities.

Between early 2018 and mid-2018 we invite interested organisations and entities to voice their interest and possible membership as well as join the planning of an official launching event and the preparation of the relevant definitive statutory documents. Until that time, the signature of our proposed Letter of Intent does not constitute any binding commitment from either side.

Download Letter of Intent HERE!