Participatory methods


TITLE: Project in a day tested in Trento, Kosice, and Vas County.


URBAN INNO experimented the project in a day in 3 different pilot action: Trento in , Kosice, and Vas County.

In Trento the method has been used to influence government in policy development and administrative decisions, collecting new ideas coming from civil society in a better and mediated way, over city-interest topics like new urban development, or new smart city services. In particular the method application has drew specific elements from Design Thinking tecnique that is a design methodology that could reconnected with Vision Factory or to the Project in a Day methods to develop a future vision or ideas not only on new services but also on some aspects of city urban area redesign. In facts, this pilot experimented it in two cases: in the development of a cultural incubation area and in the possible improvement of the urban district by involving young people.

In Kosice pilot activities focused on the innovation of Urban Food Network in the City of Košice, improving the rural-urban linkages with the surrounding areas. The efforts lead to the participatory development of a digital marketplace of agricultural products to match the local production of the rural areas with the demand mainly from urban areas. The aim of this virtual marketplace is to enable citizens, restaurants, canteens and other customers in the city of Košice to buy products directly from local farmers of various sizes – from single individuals and families to large producers. The Project in a Day method has been used to interact and getting feedback from the citizens/end-users from design, through development, implementation and testing, to real-life operation.

In Vas County For this reason, the purpose of the pilot project of Vas County is to establish a Multidisciplinary Science Centre, which is a community-oriented digital innovation hub (HUB). It is going to be serving as a training and education facility for the local ecosystem, contributing to the improvement of the application of digital achievements targeting business competitiveness. In order not to just provide trainings and study visits in the way that was once described at the beginning of the operation of the Multidisciplinary Centre, but even to raise its standards, specified questionnaires will be distributed along the different type of participants to leave their valuable feedbacks jointly with a set of Vision Factory and Project in a Day method has been applied to gather a better shaped feedback.


The pilots involved some ICT in the starting/continuing interaction activities with the participants. The involvement of relevant stakeholders in the planning and execution of the process has been a key motivation for participants to be involved, who saw in this a validation of the real possibility of the participated process of making change, and therefore of participating.

The stakeholders have been identified and selected in the very first phase of the project, balancing the decisional and political level with the actual ability of them to actively participate in the process, giving an impression of getting involved in the process itself and not being just observers. To involve them, it was important for all pilots to guarantee the transparency of the participated process, the expected execution methods, the necessary information and the possible outputs that the process could bring. In addition to this, the possibility on the part of all the stakeholders, even the most institutional ones, of having a possibility for a direct interaction has also been relevant.

This type of participatory process is typically carried out physically through laboratories, but digital technologies have nevertheless been of great use. Cloud environments for sharing documents and images (eg Google Drive, DropBox, Google Photos) have permission to collect and share information through the various workshop phases, which have been multiple and with different participants.
Social media have also been useful (eg Facebook, Twitter) both to create a broader "momentum" of the laboratory, with the possibility of having an impact that goes beyond simple physical participants, arriving, albeit superficially, to others. people who could have participated and who maybe will participate in the future.


A “Project-In-A-Day” workshop, that could be repeated (with different participants) or extended in a series of workshop through a Design Thinking roadmap (empathize, define, ideate, prototype, test) that are leading as well, maybe in 2-3 different workshops to a final results that could produce, thanks to LO-FI prototyping techniques, real physical prototypes, product sketches, sample user interfaces.

In facts. the main purpose is to build a shared experiential reference to what could happen in the project, as a first activity of the project. This seeks to help the participants orient to the potential trajectories of the project, as well as provide a basis for planning and identifying what to experiment with along the way.

In all 3 pilot, the adoption of this participatory method has been an exercise of implementing the an entire project in a short time frame with the stakeholders, with the potential customers, with the users, of different age, with different digital knowledge. All this make the right decision, finding the best final solution before to implement the whole system, before to spend all budget, before to fail hardly later.

And in all pilots this has been made basically, playing out the activities that the stakeholders were intended/planning to do, not only in order to align to the problem all participants and giving them the opportunity to say their opinion in a structured way, but also to engage them, excite them to the idea to implement, that is becoming through the process their own idea, even if during the process the small and individual ideas are merged between them, but in a transparent way, with everybody in.

As already mentioned before, when thinking about different activities, this method is naturally a suitable container for use of Design-thinking techniques and tools, that are many and need to be selectively applied. (



The results have been great. The participatory process is very good in create laboratories with selected participants (from 20 to 45 participants each workshops) very productive in elaborating future plans and ideas, both in urban design (Trento) as well as in design of digital services (Kosice) as well as to elaborate the future of a multidisciplinary development centre (Vas Country).

All 3 pilots has been very useful in focusing better the final objective of each faced challenge, helping to merge different point of view from different stakeholders and from different participants, that often elaborate ideas alone or in small groups. In this way every participant, in transparent way, had the opportunity to express its own idea, or even just listen but directly the other ideas, empathizing with all other participants, removing many of the communication obstacles that often undermine the possibility of arriving at a common and shared solution in an active way, and not suffered passively.