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Creative Bureaucracy Festival
Once a year, the Creative Bureaucracy Festival unites public-sector innovators with the public. Inspirational examples from all fields and instigated by local authorities, civic or international organisations are showcased.

The GDL is a proud partner of the festival, which was held for the very first time this year.

GDL members Julia Kloiber and Nicola Forster were at the Creative Bureaucracy Festival 2018.

Open Situation Room: Co-creating ideas for
digital government challenges (iac Berlin, Global Diplomacy Lab), Forster (foraus - Forum Außenpolitik), Kloiber (Prototype Fund)

The Open Situation Room (“OSR”) format has been created to tap into the capacities of innovative thinkers and doers from different walks of life to tackle problems and to mobilise the problem-solving resources of broader sections of the public. Gathered around the table are not only senior officials as in a traditional situation room, but also young entrepreneurs, academics, designers, artists or social activists. Inspired by design-thinking methodology, divergent thinking and group work are used to brainstorm and explore many possible solutions and ideas for projects. Convergent thinking is then used to narrow the ideas down and prototype concrete projects. At the end of the session, a range of fresh project ideas, scenarios and recommendations are presented to decision-makers. The interactive OSR format has been developed and tested with the German Federal Foreign Office, the Mercator Foundation, the Global Diplomacy Lab and other major stakeholders. German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier once famously said, “If you’ve never participated in an Open Situation Room, you should absolutely do so!”.

Location: Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin (main building), Unter den Linden 6, 10099 Berlin

Aims & Objectives: To change the perception of the public sector, improve public awareness of its innovative capacity and encourage an innovation culture; to recognise and foster exchange between these creative administrators, as well as those seeking to work with them in novel ways, and thus attract ambitious young people to work in public service.

Target Group: Imaginative civil servants of all kinds; aspirational younger people; the broader public and media; institutions supporting innovation in the public sector, such as foundations and companies; citizens involved in shaping the public sector in NGOs or as individuals. This is expressed in the festival motto: "You work for the common good. You have ideas. This is not a contradiction. This is your festival."

Programme: Format – the event differs from conventional administration congresses in form, presentation, festival atmosphere and the range of participants attracted. Up to six concurrent stages are planned (audience size per stage: 50-500 participants).

Subject areas cover issues such as education, health, transport, work, security and housing; overarching issues include digitisation, transparency, participation, trust and legitimacy

Language: Largely in German with substantial parts in English.

Competition: In the first year, an international jury of experts highlights selected international examples of best practice. For the following years, a decentralised competition is planned with prize winners at municipal, Land and federal level.

Initiators: The initiative goes back to Charles Landry (author of “The Creative Bureaucracy”) and Sebastian Turner, publisher of “Der Tagesspiegel” newspaper (the publishing house acts as organiser). An international group of initiators has been created in several preparatory meetings (among others with representatives of the OECD, Eurocities, the Federal Government, Land Berlin, the German Association of Towns and Municipalities, the National Regulatory Control Council, Nesta (UK), the Danish Design Lab, the European Cultural Foundation, Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, University of Potsdam, the European University Viadrina Frankfurt (Oder), Fraunhofer Fokus, the Bertelsmann Stiftung, the Robert Bosch Stiftung, Stiftung Zukunft Berlin, Deutsche Telekom Stiftung, ZEIT-Stiftung, Politics for Tomorrow). This group is open to further partners.

Financing: The festival is made possible by the commitment of its participants. Grants from foundations and public authorities, as well as contributions from sponsors and exhibitors, are being sought. The entrance fees (€19-29) are deliberately very modest in order to allow all levels of the public sector to participate. Scholarships are available for young participants.

Genius Loci: The founding history of the Humboldt Universität zu Berlin is connected to the Prussian reforms, which are regarded as outstanding examples of administrative innovation. It is a symbolically appropriate venue for the festival.

Further Events

Bled Strategic Forum 2018
How do we distinguish a fact from a perception or a myth? How do we bridge the divide?
Falling Walls Conference & Lab 2018
Which will be the next walls to fall? Join Tarek Alsaleh at this year's Falling Walls Conference
Raising Awareness of Unconscious Bias
Global Diplomacy Lab at the UN Global Festival of Action, Bonn, 21 to 23 April 2018
The Hague Digital Diplomacy Camp
An unconference about influence and diplomacy in a diffuse digital world
What will be the next wall to fall?
Elizabeth Maloba on youth unemployment at the Falling Walls Lab in Berlin, 8 Nov 2017
Climate Change Multi-stakeholder Diplomacy
Global Diplomacy Lab at the German Pavilion during the COP23 in Bonn, 16 Nov, 3 p.m.
Jasdeep Randhawa at the climate conference
Climate Action & Human Wellbeing at a Crossroads, Bonn, Sunday 5 November
40th Anniversary of the Brandt Commission
GDL Members pitch their ideas to Federal Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel, Berlin, 31 August 2017
To tweet or not to tweet, that is the question!
Global Diplomacy Lab at the Bled Strategic Forum, 4 to 5 September 2017, Slovenia
Managing Diversity in a Time of Turmoil
Global Diplomacy Lab at Global Media Forum of Deutsche Welle, Bonn, 18 to 21 June 2017
Love Out Loud GDL@re:publica 2017
Julia Kloiber speaks at re:publica about Collaboration in Civic Tech, Berlin, 8 May 2017
Open Situation Room in Bogota and Medellin
Reintegration Strategies for Internally Displaced Persons in Post-Conflict Colombia, 21 March 2017
Open Situation Room in Mumbai
Bridge over Troubled Waters: Achieving Water Security in India, 22 March 2017
Open Situation Room in Kathmandu
Technology and Community Presence to Prevent Catastrophes, 21 March 2017
Open Situation Room in Montreal
Leveraging Technology and Diplomacy: Creative Solutions to Humanitarian Crisis, 20 March 2017
Open Situation Room in Geneva
Creating Digital Trust and Engagement in Remotely Controlled Environments, 21 March 2017
Humanitarian Diplomacy Lab
A Series of Open Situation Rooms across the Globe with Pitch Night in San Francisco, March 2017
When Paul came over the Sea
Documentary #Pauloverthesea - Journal of an Encounter by GDL Member Jakob Preuss
Cities Combating Urban Poverty
HABITAT III - SODEM in partnership with GDL and FES Turkey, Quito 19 October, 2016
Webinar on Decoding Global Diplomacy
Fifth GDL Webinar Series on 29 September, 6 & 12 October
GDL Member at UN Summer Academy
United Actors Founder Susanne Salz joins UN Summer Academy in August 2016
Financing Global Education Opportunity
GDL member Amel Karboul speaks at UN General Assembly, September 2016
Embassy Lab on Future Diplomacy, Berlin 2016
GDL Side Event: Embassy Lab on Future Diplomacy, Berlin 7 October, 2016
Bled Strategic Forum, Slovenia 2016
GDL Side Event: Night Owl Session at Bled Strategic Forum, Slovenia 5 to 6 September, 2016
Strong GDL Representation at WRLF
World Responsilbe Leaders Forum of the BMW Foundation, 19 to 22 May 2016, Munich
GDL Member at Falling Walls Lab
Susanne Salz speaks at Falling Walls Lab in Berlin, November 2015
From United Nations to United Actors
GDL Side Event in New York, 12 October 2015
Global Perspectives: Journeys across Borders
First GDL Webinar Series on 27 and 29 October 2015

Julia Kloiber

Julia is an activist who is passionate about growing open communities.

She works as a project lead for the Open Knowledge Foundation Germany and as a consultant for The Engine Room. Julia has been running multiple community projects that foster the reuse of open data. Code for Germany, her latest project in collaboration with Code for America, is a civic tech community with 25 labs and more than 350 members across Germany.

Julia leads open data projects in close collaboration with companies and governments alike. In 2015, she co-organised the international Code for All Summit in New York, a two-day conference that brought together leading experts and practitioners in civic tech. Earlier this year she kicked off a prototype fund for civic tech projects in collaboration with Germany’s Federal Ministry of Education and Research.

Nicola Forster

Nicola Forster is the Founding President of the Swiss crowdsourced think tank foraus (Forum Aussenpolitik) as well as a social entrepreneur and public sector innovator. He is a co-founder of the political movement Operation Libero, the German grass-roots think tank Polis180, several foraus spinoffs around the globe, the staatslabor as well as the Global Diplomacy Lab. With his innovation consultancy crstl.io, Nicola advises different foundations, international think tanks and foreign ministries on creative formats and strategic innovation. He is the Founding Curator of the Global Shapers Bern Hub (World Economic Forum) and sits on the boards of the WEF Open Forum Davos, Fondation Science et Cité (as Vice President), Law and Economics Club as well as Foundation Jean Monnet pour l’Europe. Nicola is a Swiss Ashoka Fellow and Mercator Fellow. He has been ranked among the top 99 foreign policy leaders under 33 by The Diplomatic Courier. Nicola regularly contributes to Swiss and international media and is a frequent keynote speaker, panelist and moderator (e.g. with the Open Situation Rooms design thinking format).


Nicola holds a degree in law (lic.iur./MLaw) and has studied in Zurich, Montpellier and Lausanne. He is currently based in New York, Berlin and Switzerland and has lived in a wide range of countries, including Ethiopia, Russia, Australia and Belgium.

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