The “Digital Living” Innovation Office is a project of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ). We are a think tank driving innovation in positively shaping digitalization both inside and outside the home. In doing so, we bring together numerous processes and projects in order to help develop a new digital political awareness at every level.

  • All of our work is grounded in daily life. We are active at the interface between civil society and public administration. Associations, initiatives, foundations, families, people young and old, small and large, of all origins and sexes stand in the focus of social change. The question of how digitization can help improve the lives of all of us is the core concern of the Innovation Office. We want to bring the most innovative ideas and proposals our society can offer into political practice and back into everyday life. We hope that the digital transformation of our society can be driven forward together and with lots of energy.


    We create different platforms for exchange between the Federal Ministry and civil society. We promote networking and look together for innovative and digital solutions to the challenges we face in our everyday lives.


    We do not want to leave to others the task of shaping of a digital society. For this we need vision, both small- and large-scale, along with feasible proposals and the ability to think beyond our own horizons. This is exactly what we aim to achieve in the Innovation Office.


    The Innovation Office is a network node for civil society. We bring people together, new ideas are born and scaled, and we gather and build knowledge for civil society and make it accessible to all.


    You are welcome and encouraged to participate in our work. Subscribe to our newsletter and stay informed about the latest developments at the Innovation Office, or contact us directly.

    Logo: Bundesministerium für Familie, Senioren, Frauen und Jugend


  • “Digital Living” Innovation Office launches with the Opportunity Hackathon

    How can family benefits such as the child supplement reach those who need them faster and more accurately? What digital tools should be created so that people who care for others, either as volunteers or professionally, are able to perform their tasks even better than before? And how can the Federal Ministry’s troves of existing […]

    Photo: Kerstin Musl

    How can family benefits such as the child supplement reach those who need them faster and more accurately? What digital tools should be created so that people who care for others, either as volunteers or professionally, are able to perform their tasks even better than before? And how can the Federal Ministry’s troves of existing open data be made more accessible and usable? On 14 and 15 June 2019, more than 100 participants in the first Opportunity Hackathon, held at the Ikonic Studio in Berlin, tackled questions like these. For two days, they worked in different groups answering the questions posed by the task of developing a modern, digitally supported social policy and worked on concrete ideas and prototypes.

    With the Opportunity Hackathon, Federal Minister Dr. Franziska Giffey also officially launched the “Digital Living” Innovation Office, a project of the Federal Ministry for Family Affairs, Senior Citizens, Women and Youth (BMFSFJ), which the Berlin-based iRights.Lab was commissioned to operate. The Innovation Office supports the Federal Ministry and its target groups in exploiting the potential of digitisation through concrete innovative projects and by transferring digital skills. Dr. Franziska Giffey and the head of the Innovation Office, Philipp Otto, celebrated the start of the Innovation Office by cutting a cake created especially for the occasion.

    In a first working phase, key topics and concrete questions were worked out and then presented in a plenary session. The second day was dedicated to working on concrete project ideas. Concepts were developed in a total of 13 smaller groups and during an almost seven-hour workshop, before being presented in a final round involving all participants.

    The three best ideas were honoured by the Impact Group, a jury of experts from various fields. The winning projects included a model for a family account with which family benefits can be organised and reach their recipients without bureaucratic hurdles, and the diversity game “Hung Up”. The game is aimed primarily at clubs and volunteers and is designed to offer players the chance to inhabit different roles and life circumstances and thus be confronted with the corresponding problems and challenges. The goal is to find remedies and discover solutions for the situations which they encounter.

    Another outstanding group developed a convincing model for converting the large volume of publicly available data belonging to the Federal Ministry into an Open Data format. The data should be presented in a simple and understandable way and designed to be graphically appealing. This will make data more accessible and usable for citizens. The winners will now work with the members of the Impact Group on their ideas and develop them further. A first meeting is already planned for the end of July.


  • Digital civil society
    • What we observe

      Digitisation presents huge opportunities for civil society. Suddenly, it is possible to provide answers to challenges that once seemed unsurmountable. New forms of networking can, for example, revitalise and enrich voluntary work. People can communicate with each other, inform themselves and organize much more easily than before. The potential that is already being tapped by the economy must also be applied to social innovations.

    • What we do

      We support analysis of the needs of civil society so that it can make the best possible use of digital technologies. Together, we develop formats that serve civil society in allowing it to network in the best possible way. We are on a voyage of discovery together with civil society, testing innovations and tools.

  • Digital skills
    • What we observe

      Not everyone grew up with a smartphone in their pocket. And even for those who did, using digital technologies does not always mean mastery. Nevertheless, everybody has the desire and right to participate in social life, which is increasingly unfolding digitally–for example in and through social media. The teaching of basic digital skills is a prerequisite for everyone being empowered to participate in and shape contemporary social life. The potential is enormous, and not only for the elderly in their fight against loneliness: social cohesion is more important than ever.

    • What we do

      We are developing concrete steps to develop everyone’s digital skills and are supporting the BMFSFJ in teaching these skills.

  • New approaches to counseling
    • What we observe

      Digitalization is changing our everyday lives: virtually any information is just a search engine away, and “friends” are no longer just the people you share your free time with. We take digital media for granted and sometimes forget that there are aspects of life that are not yet “digital”. We have access to more information, networks and services that ever before, whether we find them or they find us.
      This is a particular challenge for the diverse array of support and counselling systems in place, for example, in social work. Many new paths have been opened, but they demand orientation and new skills–from specialists, organisations and clients. For counselling services in Germany, digitization means enormous opportunities. But what do counselling services in the digital society have to look like in order to be received and used by target groups?

    • What we do

      We help to define and analyze the needs both of counselling institutions and those seeking counselling. We identify and work with best-practice examples. Together we design and run a tailor-made process to develop and test new, practical applications for relevant fields and make them available to a broader community.

  • A welfare state for the digital society
    • What we observe

      Digital technologies can make communication easier, closer and more direct, whether between people or between citizens and the state. It is rightly expected that the state seize this opportunity. But it is not enough to simply offer services online. The potential of digital technologies to deliver services where they are needed and required should be exploited.

    • What we do

      We support the design and further development of government services and analyze which digital formats are suitable. Building on this, we support the Ministry in the development and implementation of innovative, digital tools.

  • Digital ethics
    • What we observe

      Great power goes hand in hand with great responsibility–this also applies to the potential of digital technologies. For this reason, more and more ethical questions arise precisely where legal frameworks do not (yet) exist or do not seem appropriate to real situations. When artificial intelligence makes decisions (or sets their parameters), when certain media are the only, if not legal, way to target groups, when collecting more data may not be necessary, but may be profitable, then ethical questions and dilemmas arise. It is more important than ever to establish a digital ethic for digital systems.

    • What we do

      We will explore how digital ethics–not only for big data and artificial intelligence–can look, and will develop strategies to establish ethical considerations in a world of ever-faster technological development.

  • Equal opportunities
    • What we observe

      Digital technologies have great potential to overcome social divisions by removing hurdles and improving access. But they are not automatic equalizers. Because digital technologies can themselves also exclude, because they are not unconditional, because not everyone has access to them, or knows how to use them, they can increase existing inequalities and create new ones. It is therefore not only a question of facilitating access and strengthening skills. Equitable opportunities must also be created through developing appropriate frameworks that reduce and prevent exclusion and disadvantage.

    • What we do

      We keep a close eye on exclusionary and disadvantageous structures and tendencies in the digital society and identify effective approaches and principles to overcome inequalities.


We are an interdisciplinary team that looks at digitization from different perspectives.

The Federal Ministry of Family Affairs has commissioned the iRights.Lab to operate the Innovation Office.

The iRights.Lab is an independent think tank dedicated to developing strategies and practical solutions that will contribute to the positive shaping of changes in the digital world. It supports public institutions, foundations, companies, science and politics in mastering the challenges of digitisation and making effective and positive use of its multifaceted potential. To this end, it combines legal, technical, economic and socio-political expertise.

Innovation Office team


Give us a call or write us a letter. We look forward to hearing from you.