Glasgow’s co-designed eco-system for the common good

  • Key skills, people and organisations aligned and focused on solving the challenges our citizens face
  • Generating insight and understanding of and for the city and its people
  • Learning, creating, inspiring, leading, empowering

Glasgow’s co-designed eco-system for the common good

Poverty and climate change are worldwide challenges. In Glasgow, COVID 19 has amplified these challenges for our citizens.

Tackling poverty is multifaceted – access to food, affordable housing and work is vital. Poor access to quality outdoor space and a clean and safe environment also has a major impact on health and wellbeing. Our citizens can be disconnected from the design of the solutions that could transform their lives. This and lack of power are a major cause of health inequalities.

We are building a citywide design-led ecosystem, using data to innovate and co-design for the common good. We aim to create a system in which power is transferred to citizens - a design academy in every neighbourhood, locally designed nature based social enterprise accelerator support and access to creative problem solvers, to share new design skills to improve their lives and environment.

We will become a socially innovative city of tomorrow where design and innovation skills are the cornerstone of our local and global communities.

2021 Global Mayors Challenge

Unleashing a neighbourhood-level participatory approach to community wellbeing

Solutions to some societal challenges are either imposed on people or implemented without fully understanding the data or challenge. Often this simply doesn’t work or have the impact intended.

If we want different results we need to do things differently.

We need to put citizens at the heart of everything we do and creatively co-design new and innovative ways of solving our problems - they are the experts.

In Glasgow, we have significantly reduced some of the deep inequality of previous decades and tackled major health, environment and employment challenges. However the scale and pace of change required to eradicate poverty and address the climate emergency requires a new, more collaborative approach, especially in light of the COVID pandemic.

Lack of engagement and representation within communities has always been a challenge.

Nicola Sturgeon quote

In line with the Scottish Government’s commitment to design, upscaling our design-led approach is central to our ambitions to be greener, fairer and more equal, supporting innovation across sectors, developing critical, curious and inquiring minds, and addressing complex challenges.

Our design-led, data and innovation ecosystem brings partners together under a social and civic innovation umbrella aligning our individual and collective resources and priorities to inspire, collaborate and empower all levels of the city to work together for the common social good to eradicate poverty and address the climate emergency.

This is not traditional consultative practice. We will embed skills within communities to empower citizens to change their own neighbourhoods. Citizens will not be empowered, they will have power. It is innovative as it will force the City to work differently - we might need to ask ourselves difficult questions and relinquish power. It will create an infrastructure based on trust, usable data, testing solutions, upskilled citizens, linking them with industry, business, academia, and nurture enterprising solutions to some of their challenges. We have tested locally, but this will be the first time we take a city wide social innovation approach.

Glasgow’s idea builds on existing prototype projects in the city by our Centre for Civic innovation, embedding a pioneering citizen-centred approach using design thinking, research and data science to understand and solve complex societal problems that are difficult to articulate and challenging to solve.

A socially innovative ecosystem where the city’s best creative minds come together and focus on solving the challenges alongside our citizens.
Impacting on all aspects of the city, from policy to local decision making and community empowerment - a network of citizens and partners using design to collaborate and solve problems for the common good.

Find out more about how we are creating a network of citizen designers in Glasgow here.

Anna Richardson quote