The citizen adds value to business

02 March 2020 - Published by Stig Marthinsen

During the high-level Brussels-based EU conference, "Engaging Citizens for Good Governance in Cohesion Policy", in early February, the involvement of citizens in shaping policy was discussed. Hanze University of Applied Sciences Groningen also participated in this conference as a partner within the international Periscope project. A project in which the partners around the North Sea are looking for new business opportunities and to which the Hanze University contributes by developing a methodology in which the citizen is at the helm when coming up with new opportunities.

The "Engaging Citizens" conference focused primarily on how to ensure close cooperation with citizens and civil society in the implementation of cohesion policy and the management of specific EU funds.

During the conference it became clear from lectures and discussions between participants that at all levels where decisions are made - from municipal level to EU level - governments become more transparent and more accountable through active involvement of citizens. It is therefore expected that an increase in citizen participation will in practice ensure that investments produce more and better results. By working "inclusive", where "inclusive" means that "everyone belongs", you combine technology, talent, tolerance and trust. This creates a situation where you can move from an ego system to an ecosystem; from focus on the individual to focus on the interaction between all stakeholders.


Two years ago, the Interreg project Periscope took an advance on the motto "the citizen at the helm". In coordination with the partners, Egbert Dommerholt and Derwin Schorren of the Hanze University of Applied Sciences developed a method whereby citizens / residents of an area (or employees of a local company or institution) are strongly involved from start to finish in formulating new business opportunities. So that citizens / residents are also more closely involved in the future of their environment (or employer). Dommerholt and Schorren call their methodology the BUBO methodology, whereby BUBO stands for Bottom Up Business Opportunities.

In the context of the Periscope objectives, the BUBO method, via its pilot Sketch workshop component, has already resulted in twelve attractive large and small opportunities for sustainable business. In April 2020, the book The citizen adds value to business, in which the BUBO methodology as a whole is central, will be published.

Images © Hanze University