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“If I were to decipher the message that 2017 is bringing, I would say that data sharing and co-creation will certainly boost urban innovation in the forthcoming years. And that, in Zaragoza, we have some interesting tools to make it happen:
our smart Citizen Card, our “de facto” digital platform upon which we can build all sorts of services, from gamification to citizen participation
our Open Urban Lab, the co-creation lab of the city, located at the very core of Zaragoza’s flagship innovation hub “Etopia Center for Arts and Technology”
a thriving civic and innovation ecosystem and a program “100 Ideas ZGZ” conceived to set bottom-up ideas in motion, using the city as an innovation platform
The good news started in Luxembourg. After pitching the Citizen Card in late January on the Big Data Info Days on Horizon 2020 we are overwhelmed by the number of agents from either industry and research arena that have proposed to partner with us in big data-related H2020 calls. Almost simultaneously, four groups of design students from the University of Zaragoza presented four innovative ideas for new services on the Citizen Card. They had been working on them for three months both in the classroom and in the Lab.
A week later we took a plane to Brussels: on Jan, 25th Zaragoza’s Citizen Card received the Green Digital Charter (GDC) 2016 Award on ‘Citizen participation and impact on society’. During the conference ‘Cities in Transition – the role of digital in shaping our future cities’ held in Brussels we had the opportunity to present our current and future data policy and discuss it with an engaged audience from government and academia. Take two concepts already developed in these blog’s pages: Big (open) Data, and Data Sharing.
We need European funding to materialize these and other ideas, so we’ve been working very hard with the team on several European proposals for using data to spark and guide the co-creation of new public services. We have already tested this principle within the project CITYkeys, where data has allowed us to identify gaps and opportunities for new transport services: that’s how the future network of bicycle parking spots started to be designed. A path, that of the co-creation of new public services based on data insights, that we intend to develop further.
On Feb, 6th we enrolled on a learning trip to beautiful Cascais (Portugal) to join the “Smart Life Incubator” think tank. We were ‘locked’ by the outstanding TM Forum staff alongside other city policy makers from Tokyo, Liverpool, Nice, Porto, Saint Quentin, Cascais and Utrecht. It was an intense 3-day working session focused on addressing urban challenges through innovation and cooperation between stakeholders. We dealt with problems such as mobility, talent attraction, unemployment, on-line services,… We shared strategies to bring deprived public space back to life, or to improve city response in case of catastrophe. Surprisingly, data sharing was identified as a common enabling vector for most of the challenges. The bad news is that no one seems to know how to make it happen without compromising, either legitimate organization assets or personal privacy: the relationship between big data and governments is still heavily cluttered.
So while everybody talks about co-creation, there is an astonishingly small number of succes stories out there. Most projects, like the “Co-creating responsive urban spaces” initiative in Amsterdam, are just starting. And data sharing is something we all think should be happening (for the sake of humanity, right?) but that no one has seen yet. In my Master on City Sciences’ thesis I pointed out that there are gigantic organizational and behavioural (psychological) barriers that block the way. As more projects on co-creation start in the following years, and small scale urban data sharing examples are being built, we expect that a whole new body of knowledge about the subject will appear. This knowledge, of course, will blossom on the urban ground, since it is the natural environment where people’s ideas and big (urban) data can turn into solutions.
The story of co-creation and data sharing is just beginning. We’ll be here to write it.”
Daniel Sarasa Funes is urban innovation planner and Smart City Program Manager at Zaragoza City Council. He is co-author of Zaragoza’s digital agenda 2012-2015 “Towards a Smart Citizenship” and co-editor of OpenYourCity.com
At the end of March 2017, the European Commission will launch the third edition of the European Capital of Innovation award. After Barcelona (2014) and Amsterdam (2016), which city will be recognised as the most innovative in Europe?
The contest will be open to cities:
- from EU Member States and countries associated to Horizon 2020, the EU’s research and innovation programme;
- having over 100 000 inhabitants (in countries where there is no such city, the largest city is eligible to apply);
- running innovative initiatives which have started after 1 January 2016
The contest will be presented to interested cities during a webinar on 4 April.
Applicant cities will be judged by an independent panel of external evaluations on their innovative solutions to relevant societal challenges. Three cash prizes will be awarded to the best city initiatives creating the right environment to innovate. Deadline for applications is 21 June 2017, 17:00 (Brussels time).
More information can be found at www.ec.europa.eu/icapital –
Last Friday (8 march 2016) during a ceremony organised in the European Committee of the Regions (Brussels), Amsterdam became the new European Capital of Innovation (iCapital).
This price has been attributed by the European Commission to reward the city’s efforts on finding innovative solutions to improve life of its citizens and boost its local economy. The winner of this competition, launched only last year, scooped the pot of €950,000 to be used on further boosting innovation.
The strength of Amsterdam lies in its holistic approach, as the city promotes innovation investment in four areas of urban life: governance, economics, social inclusion and quality of life, relying on the active participation of “smart citizens” to transform the city. Initiatives go from a high-tech e-parking system to programming courses for children. The city is also an important hub for start-ups.
Amsterdam is one signatory of the Green Digital Charter, testifying of its commitment in putting innovative solutions at the service of the fight against climate change. Digital technologies create real opportunities for increasing energy efficiency and facilitate emission reductions, in particular in the context of big cities.
Torino, another signatory of GDC, was selected as runner-up and will thus receive €100,000 to fund future initiatives.
Congratulations to both of them!
Seeking for more information?
The European Assistance for Innovation Procurement (eafip) will held two workshops on the topic of innovation public procurement for the environment and general/egovernment sector.
The workshops target public procurement authorities in general public services like public administration, and economic and financial affairs (ministries, regional and local authorities, public utility companies, etc.) and public procurers active in the environment sector.
- eafip Workshop for public procurers in the Environmental sector 4 May 2016, Rome, Italy. Register and Agenda
- eafip Workshop for public procurers in the General/eGovernment sector. 31 May 2016 Barcelona, Spain. Register and Agenda
The objective is to highlight the benefits of innovation procurement of ICT solutions through the Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) and Public Procurement of Innovation Solutions (PPI) approaches across Europe. Will be discussed EU funding opportunities (Horizon 2020 calls), case-examples and lessons learned as well as the eafip Toolkit.
Participating public authorities will have a chance to openly discuss unmet procurement needs, innovation concepts, project ideas and much more. All procurers will have an opportunity to briefly present theirs ideas, plans and projects in the parallel sessions.
More information can be found on eafip.eu.
The European Assistance for Innovation Procurement (EAFIP) is a three year initiative of the European Commission for the support of public procurers who want to start and implement innovation procurements of ICT-based solutions.
Through EAFIP, EU Commission collects data from public procurements, develops toolkits on innovation procurement and opens calls to fund public procurers’ innovative projects.
The last call for EAFIP Assistance is now open until 17th of April 2016 for applications. Candidates will apply to receive free hands-on and tailored support to develop their own Pre-Commercial Procurement (PCP) or Public Procurement of Innovative Solutions (PPI). The EAFIP initiative is open to all public procurers across EU. Up to 12 of them will be selected and provided with a complete assistance (also legal assistance) in the start-up and implementation of an innovation procurement project. To submit an application, eligible candidates only need to fill in an online survey before 17th April 2016.
Horizon 2020 seeks to improve the support for groups of public procurers either in PCP, research and development on procurement before the market, or in PPI, integration for innovative commercial solutions in the market.
European procurers interested in PPI may check the Procurement of Innovation Platform, a hub for information regarding innovation procurement supported by European Commission.
Fore more info, click here.