Between October 2020 and February 2021, we supported the division for digitalisation of the city of Detmold in preparing and organising a digital participatory event called DETMOLD.DIGITAL. With this new format, the city of Detmold invited its citizens to help shape the digitalisation process in Detmold. Due to the Covid pandemic, we first planned the Future Conference as a hybrid event – mixing in-place meetings with possibilities of virtual participation. This allowed us to be flexible to adapt the format to the prevailing pandemic situation, thus finally creating a digital-only Future Conference that took place from 19th to 21st February 2021.
Urban transport, Social life and the Townhall of the future
In three groups focusing on different topics, the participants developed creative and visionary project ideas for challenges concerning the digital transformation in Detmold:
- How does the digitalisation transform our urban transport?
- How does it affect our social lives?
- How could the digitalisation support the development of a creative administration willing to try out new approaches?
These challenges had been defined in advance of the Future Conference as part of a digital participation process with the citizens of Detmold.
Digital implementation of the Future Conference DETMOLD.DIGITAL
We used the tools Zoom and Slack to communicate with the participants throughout the conference. The “main building” of the conference – Slack – served as an orientation point: Here, the participants found important information about the conference, they had the opportunity to ask questions,
get technical support or exchange ideas with other participants. The results from the workshop groups and the presentations of the keynote speeches were also made available to all participants in Slack. Zoom provided what would have been individual conference rooms at a live-conference. The Zoom links for the conference spaces were also made available to the participants via Slack.
Diversity brought about creative results
A diverse audience was involved in the Future Conference:
Representatives of the city administration, citizens, politicians, associations, representatives from the church as well as from art and culture, students and scientists as well as actors from the economy. These groups were also divided into different generations. All participants therefore brought their specific needs as well as their individual perspectives into the discussion. The diverse composition of the participants had a most positive effect – this was also part of the particioants’ feedback of the conference.
Getting inspired through external impulses
At the opening session on Friday, 19th February 2021, Andreas Reiter took the participants on a journey to Detmold’s future. he demonstrated how social places and the city centre becomes more important with growing virtualisation. Prof. Axel Häuser from the university TH OWL gave exclusive insights into his research on local and regional change processes. On Saturday, Max Bömelburg from the Konzeptwerk Neue Ökonomie gave a keynote speech on the digital mobility of the future in the mobility group. For the group dealing with “social life”, Dr. Carola Groll from the Stiftung für digitale Chancen explained the possible advantages that the digitalisation could bring for our social lives, especially pointing out its assets in rural areas. Finally, Oliver Rack and Caroline Paulick-Thiel from nextlearning e.V. provided the group “town hall” with thought-provoking impulses for attractive, resilient, sustainable and open to change politics and a public administration.
Dream it, Make it, Share it!
Building up on project examples from the preceding participation process, the participants collected first ideas in the “Dream it”-phase. Next to concrete practical projects, dreaming and utopia were explicitly encouraged. We used the virtual whiteboard tool Mural for the creative brainstorming during the workshops. At the end of each workshop phase, all participants met up to present their state of play and their results.
In the “Make it”-phase the participants developed concrete prototypes and scenarios. Some examples can be found in the press release (in German) of the Future Conference: LZ 2021-02-23_Zukunftskonferenz Nachberichterstattung.
A digital version of Sunday Brunch
The Future Conference ended on Sunday with a digital Sunday brunch. Despite the wonderful sunny spring morning, about 45 participants met up in the Zoom conference room at 11 o’clock. Together, we reflected on the results of the day before and developed a vision for the future of Detmold in 2025 in form of a newspaper article.
You will find the programme and further information in the following brochure (in German) Zukunftskonferenz DETMOLD.DIGITAL_Broschüre as well as on Detmold wird digital https://consul.detmold-mitgestalten.de/legislation/processes/5. (also in German)