Council of Enschede creates impact at European level

It is often difficult to communicate government solutions with the target group. Especially when it concerns European projects. This is often due to the fact that they are overarching and often not very concrete. However, together with Marcel Meeuwissen from the council of Enschede and the EMPOWER project we have demonstrated that we were able to simply communicate a concept of the government with film and animation.

Empower is a project supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program.

 

Living Labs: experiments in practice

The reason for the entire EMPOWER project is that the government wants to persuade more people to travel by bike or public transport. By reducing car traffic, the city becomes better accessible and the air quality will be improved. Within the knowledge project the city of Enschede cooperates with the University of Twente, but also with companies, knowledge institutions and cities across the whole of Europa. Developing new knowledge and sharing experiences is the purpose of all this.

Through ‘Living Labs’ EMPOWER experiments on the street, in real life with methods to achieve their goal. This provides practical knowledge, real responses from real people. This way it is possible to continuously adjust things and to learn from each other.

EMPOWER is communicated at three levels, says Marcel Meeuwissen: “on the one hand we communicate about the project in general; on the other hand, we inspire other cities to participate by sharing our insights with them. And finally, we want to involve our citizens and explain to them what is happening and what the benefits are for them.”

What will you communicate when?

When you start to communicate about EMPOWER, you always have to deal with the various interest of all participants and target groups, but also with the reason for which you communicate, according to Marcel Meeuwissen: “Sometimes a government wants to communicate totally different things than a company or knowledge institution. Together with C4Real we therefore have carefully considered what we want to communicate and when. In the first phase of the project we must for example first explain what EMPOWER generally entails. So, you do not focus on specific cases in the various cities. In a next phase you can indeed do this. The first film we have made summarises very visually in a few minutes what the project entails. Then we focused more on elaborating concrete examples per city.”

Each city its own film

The experiments in three ‘Living Labs’ have been elaborated by means of visualisations to be used in the communication of Enschede, Goteborg and Milan. Every city is clearly recognisable, so the viewer feels more connected to it. The films show which projects are in which city and how you can participate. They are used for presentations, at trade fairs, on the website and on social media.

Marcel Meeuwissen is very satisfied with the realisation of the films: “we have a good personal contact with C4Real, so we can respond quickly if needed. They could show us something very quickly, so we got a clear image of the direction. They also properly inform us about the available possibilities. Together we then look at what suits the issue best. Thanks to their approach C4Real was able to easily come up with a communication message. Even in this project with all these different stakeholders.”

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Great tips for other government projects

What makes this project special is the fact that C4Real had already joined before EMPOWER was actually started. Marcel Meeuwissen therefore has a great tip for similar government projects: “With their support we could already visualise ideas and concepts before the project had started. For example, if you want to make an application for a grant or you want to present something in front of the city council to organise finances, you can make a film like ours as pre-investment. This way you can clearly communicate what your plans are. Especially in a partnership where various European stakeholders are involved.”

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Human nature comes first

CEO Ton Kuper from C4Real indicates that the cooperation with EMPOWER was a pleasure: “That is especially striking because it is a complex story that involved communication specialists from different European cities. We soon realised that we had to address the communication in phases and subsequently how we had to fill in these stages.  To fill in the key video we used film images combined with graphic content. However, the human nature always comes first. After all it is about the people who must embrace EMPOWER. In terms of implementation, we were able to switch quickly with the European project members, for example where we were allowed to film and where not, or whether we were allowed to film with a drone, etc. Thanks to good international contacts from Marcel Meeuwissen, we quickly got results. It is otherwise quite a challenge to interview and film a city council member in the middle of Milan. It was a very pleasant collaboration with a mix of cultures. ”

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