C4EU fellows changing the city

Suzanne Heerschop

Our C4EU fellows arrived last week on January 14. For the project Code4EU, they will work on three challenges that the city of Amsterdam has mapped for them. Ohyoon had his notebook and sharp questions ready immediately and also Giovanni had a hard time holding his enthusiasm back. Piotr talked about wanting to make a dent in the universe (referring to Steve Job’s philosophy about what kind of impact you want to have on the world). If you ask me, the three of them are a good recipe for changing the way our government is handling city challenges. And that is exactly what the project Code4EU is all about.


I was strengthened in this opinion on our second day, when we hosted a speed-dating session with the three fellows and the challenge holders. This session resulted in a mindmap for each challenge: collecting information in West, social accomodations in East and tourism in the South of the city. But more importantly, we got to the core of what we would like to achieve with this project. This is best illustrated by the reaction of one of the civil servants: “I was truly amazed by the type of questions the fellows asked. I was expecting very technical questions, but they were more interested in the target groups and our distribution channels. They really wanted to understand the entire scope of the challenges, even up tot our marketing plan. Well, I’ve got some homework to do.”

First steps

It shows that these fellows will not simply make an app or webservice on request. They will make sure the challenge holders find out what it is that they really want. And what the end users need. All in all, it was a great kick-off and we have set the first steps towards changing the way in which city challenges are handled. Ohyoon, Piotr and Giovanni are now busy with their first conceptualisation and planning. And this week it is time for training in Barcelona!

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