Growing Free-range Civil Servants


By URBACT, on June 10th, 2015

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Public employees can innovate. This was lesson number one for the project, which our contributor Eddy Adams followed and reported on for us. The great thing, one might add, is that once you have innovative public employees or civil servants, cooperation with citizens is likely to improve as a result: citizen-led innovation won’t represent as much of a challenge to rules or decision-making structures in place.


Changing the way the city administration functions and developing collaborative public services is also one of the challenges the city of Amersfoort in the Netherlands presents in the Social innovation in cities workstream video. There you can hear about ‘free-range civil servants’ and find out how to develop a plan that is ‘cheaper, quicker and with  higher participation than the city administration could have done otherwise’ as the city general director of Amersfoort puts it.

So… Ready for fresh air?

We bet you are! For the Social Innovation workstream, participants to a Rotterdam workshop on transforming the west district, and held during the 4th informed cities forum in march, provided us with a check-list. Learn how to turn yourself and your colleagues into Free-range Civil Servants, and surf around the workstream page for more input on transformation and shaping a city that is open to and encouraging social innovation!

One Response to “Growing Free-range Civil Servants”

  1. Blanka says:

    Dear Sir, dear Madame,

    The expression “free-range civil servants” used in one of your articles, is inappropriate. It turned out to be even more odd if you translate it in the mother tongue, because it relates to animal breeding (and to nothing else).

    I propose to find a better expression, by which one can understand the meaning immediately, without getting mixed feelings about it and consequently wrong message.

    Best regards,

    Blanka Bartol
    Ministry of the Environment and Spatial Planning of the Republic of Slovenia

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