Second workshop for MK:Smart Citizen Ideas Competition

The second project advice workshop for MK: Smart and OurMK

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The Citizen Innovation team at MK:Smart held it’s second project advice workshop on Wednesday 29th of July at Community Action: MK office in Acorn House. The workshop was designed for MK Citizens who have submitted their ideas and projects on our citizen collaboration platform, www.ourmk.org.

Once again, we met with citizens who have great ideas for the city and talked through their projects ranging from those related to health & wellbeing, time-banking and energy efficiency. The workshop followed the format from the previous week (see our blog here), where attendees had a chance to stop by at various ‘advice stations’ to chat to our team about their projects and get useful information to help them apply for funding through our Citizens Ideas Competition.

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We really enjoyed talking to some very passionate people at the workshop, who have a clear vision for MK being a smart and sustainable city, where citizens can thrive. The projects we explored at the workshop included:

  • MK Women & Wellbeing – see more information here
  • TimeBanking – see more information here
  • Walnut Tree Urban Farm – see more information here

You can find out more about these and other interesting projects & ideas by visiting the OurMK website.

We are now excited at the prospect of the next stage of the Citizens Ideas Competition. The deadline to submit a project and apply for funding through the MK:Smart Citizen Innovation Fund is Monday 16th of August. Following this date, the competition judging panel will choose the projects that, they believe, are ready to receive funding and can bring the most benefits to MK and its communities.

We hope to be updating everyone about the results of this first phase of the competition at the end of August.

You can follow us via #MKSmart to get regular updates about the project’s developments or via #ChallengeMK to get updates about the Citizens Competition in particular.

You can also sign up to our monthly MK:Smart newsletter here.

Blog Post MK:Smart

MK:Smart holds its first project advice workshop!

Exploring great ideas for MK

The MK:Smart Citizen Innovation team hosted the first in a series of advice workshops this week, organised to support MK Citizens with great project ideas to apply for funding through the Citizens Ideas Competition. The Competition is open to projects aimed at improving transport, energy, water, health or environment in MK. The successful entries will be granted funding to help them start or develop their projects in the coming months.

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The workshop featured an opening presentation from Gerd Kortuem and Daniel Gooch at the Open University, and Rebecca Brown from Community Action: MK, who deliver the Citizen Innovation work-package within the MK:Smart project. The session covered the key facts about MK:Smart project and its objectives, and explained the process behind the MK:Smart Citizen Innovation Fund.

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This introductory part was followed by interactive sessions with a number of advice stations for the attendees, offering information and advice in the areas such as:

  • Community Enterprise
  • Starting up a new group
  • Involving Citizens
  • Bid writing tips
  • Our MK: technical support

The attendees had a chance to ask questions, browse the materials showcased at each of the advice stations, and take some resources with them. The session was also a great opportunity for them to network and chat about their ideas to fellow citizens, identifying areas of synergy and potential for collaboration. Rebecca, from Community Action: MK said “We heard a range of different project ideas from the citizens and we were able to offer them guidance on how to make their ideas a reality using this opportunity”. Ten Citizens attended this workshop from groups such as Wolverton Community Energy and Transition MK, as well as individuals across the city. We expect a similar number and range of people again next week.

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We were delighted to see a wide range of interesting projects being represented at the workshop: from the Urban Farm concepts to community energy and white-coated rooftops generating renewable energy. We are now looking forward to seeing some of these ideas developed into projects and entered into the competition officially. You can see all the project ideas on our new interactive website, OurMK.

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The feedback from the attendees has been very positive and we are already aware of some of the project owners talking to one another to connect their ideas and find areas of synergy.

The next advice workshop is taking place on Wednesday 29th of July and we are encouraging all citizens who have ideas for projects to submit them on OurMK and come along to the workshop to find out more about the competition and the MK:Smart project in general. Sign-up via Eventbrite here.

You can follow our MK:Smart updates through #MKSmart #ChallengeMK or sign up here to receive our monthly newsletter.

MK:Smart

Funding for Big Ideas in MK

Have you got a great idea for an innovative project in MK?
Enter Our MK Citizen Ideas Competition for a chance to win funding to run your project!

Our MK* is bringing together communities, data and enterprise to transform Milton Keynes. We want your innovative ideas for transport, energy, water, health and environment in our city, and to support you to develop these ideas into citizen-led projects.

Our MK is powered by MK:Smart**, working to bring MK to the forefront of innovation, technology and data. Our MK now has funding available for your projects that could help MK achieve this. Could you use up to £5k to get your project off the ground?

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The deadline for the first round of this competition funding is 16th August, and support to develop your project will be given at a series of workshops before this date. For further information about how you can apply, visit www.ourmk.org/competition.

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*Our MK (ourmk.org) is a website, created as part of the MK:Smart programme, to gather citizens’ ideas and develop them into projects.  MK:Smart will be providing funding and support to turn some of these projects into citizen-led action.   Our MK is led by The Open University and has been created in partnership with Community Action: MK and GrayMatter.

**MK:Smart (mksmart.org) is an Open University-led consortium of local and national partners in a significant Big Data initiative that will see Milton Keynes benefit from a £16m Higher Education Funding Council for England Catalyst grant funded project. MK:Smart will develop innovative ways of supporting the significant forecast growth in Milton Keynes through curation of the data that drives the city’s key transport, water and energy infrastructure.  Our aim is to help Milton Keynes face the sustainability issues that are a result of our growth as a city.

For more information please contact Community Action: MK’s MK:Smart Contract Lead, rebecca@communityactionmk.org.

Blog Post MK:Smart

MK Smart project takes OurMK to local community

The MK Smart Citizen Engagement team were very excited to launch a new #MKSmart collaboration platform called OurMK last week.

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Accessible at www.ourmk.org, the platform is an interactive website available to MK citizens. Every citizen can set-up their own profile on the website and upload any ideas (or even more detailed projects) they might have for improving the following areas in MK:

  • Transport
  • Energy
  • Water
  • Health
  • Environment

In the future, some of these ideas will be developed into projects, which – if successful – will become eligible to apply for funds and turned into tangible initiatives.

Our team took this exciting new website to various events and activities taking place last week.

On Monday 22nd of June we showcased the project and the platform at the Engage MK networking event at Bradwell Abbey, which focused on the effective use of social media to drive community-based groups and projects.

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On Friday 26th of June we visited the weekly coffee morning at Moorlands Centre in Benhill, a hugely popular local community activity. We talked to residents there about the new website and updated them on the progress of the MK Smart project, following our visit earlier this year. As always in Beanhill, we received lots of useful feedback and suggestions, and two local residents have successfully created their profiles on OurMK, and uploaded their own ideas on the site – one of them on how to improve the water distribution in the city.

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Raymond Wall talked to us with passion about how, he believes, preserving rain-water as part of every household maintenance would benefit the environment and our health, giving us a sense of wellbeing by working with nature.

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We loved Ray’s vision and would love to see more MK citizens sharing their ideas on OurMK! To find out more about Ray’s and many other interesting concepts already uploaded on the site, please visit www.ourmk.org.

We look forward to seeing your great ideas, which will help to shift people’s approach to the local environment and, ultimately, turn Milton Keynes into a truly sustainable SMART city.

Follow updates about the project via #MKSmart and tag your ideas as #ChallengeMK.

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Blog Post MK:Smart