Public Makers

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About the Project

Digital transformation of society requires new approaches in education to prepare young people to deal with technological change. Digital Social Innovation (DSI) is an emerging field, and little is known about innovators, organisations, and activities which support them and the use of digital tools for social change.

There has been a recent big effort by the European Commission to sustain platforms and initiatives related to social innovation through the usage of open data, open source programmes, hackathon initiatives, and more in general educational programmes because it is critical to develop a culture of innovation, not only inside schools, colleges or universities, but also within communities and educators, as local realities are drivers of change for real needs.

One of the growing sectors for DSI is referred to open data. Despite the fact that data-driven business intelligence has been implemented with success to address business innovation, open data have not revealed yet their full potential in solving social problems, even though there are numerous initiatives brought up at local level. Still, they need systematisation, capacity building, networking, and a wider platform where to experiment and put together different stakeholders. DSI strategy can be particularly promising in encouraging young people to look for new opportunities, to be inspired, to feel empowered in their role within their societies, in becoming substantial makers in terms of data development and imagination.

Public Makers wanted to tackle a number of elements to build up the basis of DSI (Hamburg et al., 2017) through the open data experimenting along 24 months by focusing on four distinct but interrelated pillars:

  • Ways of thinking: creativity and innovation / critical thinking / problem solving / decision making / learning to learn / meta-cognition
  • Ways of working: communication (data visualisations) / collaboration (teamwork)
  • Tools for working: open data Information literacy / ICT literacy
  • Living in your community: citizenship – local and global / personal and social responsibility / advocacy

Public Makers aimed at empowering young people in open data learning with a focus on DSI, supporting them in being more active at social level, enabling them to be social changers through the usage of digital tools and open data, promoting open data hackathon as a tool for networking, knowledge sharing, and inspiring moments, as well as to develop investigations at local level and make data as a service. Overall, the project wanted to raise awareness on open data tools/possibilities and create resources for youth to access the opportunities created by open data policies (especially for active citizenship and youth).

Public Makers aimed to broaden target group ICT competences creating sustainable and needs-focused learning patterns, enabling youth NGOs/informal youth/young citizens to act at local level through open data interpretation and management.

Main outcomes


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Public Makers was co-founded by the Erasmus+ programme of the European Union, KA2 – Cooperation for innovation and the exchange of good practices, Strategic Partnerships for youth.