Catalogue of remarkable citizen innovations 2020 : 7. Social inclusion against unemployment

The power of simple ideas that re-enchant the world !

septiembre 2020

Innovation Citoyenne et Développement Durable (ICDD)

On the occasion of the 2020 Produrable Fair, in a difficult context due to a particularly aggressive pandemic, which challenges our lifestyles, our ways of producing and trading, as well as our modes of governance, the ICDD association is pleased to present some thirty innovations or remarkable citizen initiatives that it is currently supporting

Concerning climate issues, or the necessary abandonment of fossil fuels in the short or medium term, it was frequently said in high places that a solution would be found: Each time a major problem was posed, it seemed that a solution was always found, until now.

« Don’t worry: we’re taking care of you and everything is under control: you can come and go as you please. In fact, it has become clear, especially with the arrival of the pesky and elusive Coronavirus, that this is not the case: our world is very fragile, and it doesn’t take much to suddenly stop the frenzy of human activity and confuse the Academies of Science, Medicine and Technology.

Things are becoming more problematic, more complex and more difficult to predict. Faced with the urgency of the situation, faced with the tragedies that are happening and that are occurring more and more frequently, we realise that it is urgent for everyone, and in particular all citizens, to be « on deck » and to see what they can do to participate in the resolution of the problems that collectively face us all.

Citizens have not waited to be asked to do so: they have long been aware of the issues at stake and, here and there, have devised solutions that are particularly relevant:

  • By their originality

  • By their simplicity

  • By their return to a common sense that had often been lost

  • By their concern for economy of means

  • By their sense of solidarity

  • By their formidable efficiency

The « problem » being that « we didn’t ask them anything »! It is therefore very difficult for their solutions to be heard, encouraged and supported, and then, once they have been developed, to be promoted to the extent of their potential impact, which is sometimes considerable.

The field of citizen innovation has never been so vast; it concerns all aspects of common life, all dimensions of the human ecosystem. To carry out our monitoring, we have focused on the priority expectations of citizens in a number of areas

It is essential in a society that no one feels ‘excluded’. And yet modern society is unable to solve the problem of exclusion, particularly in relation to unemployment. Many initiatives have been taken for more than 30 years to get people of working age out of the trap of long-term unemployment: this is the case of the Jardins de Cocagne launched by Guy Henckel (more than a hundred sites in France). But there are more territorial approaches, when it is decided that, in a given territory, no one can be left « unemployed ».

Actively helping all those who want to work to find a job in an area that is particularly committed to this objective

The « Territoires Zéro Chômeurs Longue Durée » (Zero Long-Term Unemployed) approach is a citizen’s approach that took about ten years to be implemented on an experimental basis, and that continues to fight to make its dream come true: that all those who want to work can finally find a job that corresponds to them in a given territory.

It is a question of showing that it is possible on a territorial scale, without any additional cost for the community, to offer any long-term unemployed person who so wishes, a permanent job on a voluntary basis, by developing and financing useful activities that do not compete with existing jobs in order to meet the needs of the various actors in the territory: This is how « employment companies » were created, allowing former unemployed people to be given responsibilities for activities that are not being carried out and which are nevertheless necessary. Pioneer town, Mauléon, in the Deux Sèvres; example of an enterprise with an employment objective: Ensiam, (personal services, recycling of materials, sorting of fabric, guided tours, etc.). Sheet 7.1.

Towards full employment: the experience of Les Mureaux

Les Mureaux is a town in the Yvelines region, which has suffered greatly from the decline of the automobile industry between Flins (Renault) and Poissy (PSA). A very original approach consisted in taking advantage of reality and developing an international tourism activity in Les Mureaux, based on two observations:

The city is rich in citizens of very diverse ethnic origins; each ethnic group has its own talents that many people discover with great pleasure when they go far away, to Asia, Africa or elsewhere: why not discover this richness present in « our cities », whose inhabitants are « only waiting » to « exist and be recognised »!

The city is also at the centre of activities related to aeronautics and space: potential for another form of tourism based on first flights or visits to the Space Studies Centre, for example. At the same time, this dynamic has made it possible to break taboos and develop exchanges between entrepreneurs and job seekers, with the hope of significantly reducing unemployment in areas previously considered to be hopeless. (Sheet 7.2 and


links to sheets : inks to the sheets see pdf doc attached(pdf/710 – icdd_rpertoire_des_innovations_citoyennes_produrable_200720.pdf)