• economy

This working group promotes exchanges on local innovation ecosystems and influences EU policies and funding programmes, such as Horizon 2020.

Cities have a powerful story to tell about the potential of innovation to achieve and maintain growth, while also addressing common challenges such as climate change, decarbonisation, health, ageing, etc.
Our working group on innovation focuses on the whole innovation system, in particular the role of local government in creating a supportive ‘ecosystem’ for technology, innovation, learning, and knowledge.
  • Through our working group, cities explore and exchange on the following topics:
  • understanding, monitoring, and strengthening city innovation systems
  • mobilising and orientating innovation to address common challenges
  • overcoming barriers to innovation


Main achievements from 2019:

Achievement 1:
Combining EDF WGs on particular topics (e.g. testing this in Florence with WG Innovation + WG Entrepreneurship and SMEs on the topic of innovative financing tools) has been successful and enabled a more holistic approach. EDF could consider going even further with this and picking one main topic/ phenomena for all the different WGs to consider from their particular angle.
Achievement 2:
As compared to previous years, the WG has successfully identified issues that are current and genuinely of common interest (e.g. platform economies in Florence, digitalization in Munich) and an operating model that keeps the member cities engaged. The WG topics in 2019 have also been relevant to the broader EDF audience.
Achievement 3:
The number and diversity of cities represented in the WG has grown. While this means each city may have different interests relevant to their particular city, the group has successfully focused on strategy rather than “city promotion”, which naturally translates into a more meaningful exchange of experiences and practices.
Specific objectives for 2020 are:
Objective 1:
- Ensure members are ready to engage with the new EU programmes focussing on innovation from the start in early 2021. How do you want to achieve it?
- Member cities will be briefed on key features and opportunities of new EU programmes (EDF meeting in February).
- One additional briefing note and/or meeting (online or physical, to be confirmed) insecond half of 2020 (in co-design with colleagues from other Forums; possibility to meetalongside KSF meeting in September).
Objective 2:
- Increase knowledge among member cities on influencing local ecosystems to adopt innovative business practices.
How do you want to achieve it?
- Starting from a good practice on how city administrations can nudge local organisations and businesses to adopt innovative business practices in the sharing and/or circular economy, the group will have a facilitated discussion to identify transferable innovation practices. Potential to include colleagues from Circular Economy Task Force. 
Objective 3:
- Monitor and influence key EU policies impacting innovation in cities.
How do you want to achieve it?
- Discuss opportunities to advocate key aspects of successful sustainable local innovative ecosystems (Eurocities paper to be published in early 2020).
- Member cities will be briefed on already developing and/or future EU policies more likely to impact local innovative ecosystems.
- Members will discuss most relevant threats/opportunities and decide future action ofthe WG (e.g. monitor through regular updates; direct engagement with EU institutionson a specific policy; cooperation with other parts of the network as necessary; other asappropriate).
Which EUROCITIES strategic objectives are your objectives contributing to?
- Manage disruptive economic business models and trends;
- Promote the attractiveness of cities for people, business and investments;
- Tackle mismatches in local skills and future needs;
- Support the transition to a circular economy;
- Drive digital transformation;
- Promote innovative city government and administration;
- Manage the use of disruptive technologies to transform public services;
- Explore strategic partnerships and the co-creation of public services.
The working group will also influence 2014-2020 tools for innovation.
In collaboration with other working groups and forums, our working group on innovation monitors and influences EU policies (e.g. innovation union, digital agenda); strategic EU initiatives (such as future internet, smart cities); and, most importantly, EU instruments on research and innovation, such as Horizon 2020 funding programme.
It works together with the EU institutions and other EU networks and forums to provide cooperation and exchange opportunities for EUROCITIES members.
The working group identifies and highlights innovation strengths and excellences where synergies might be possible. It facilitates and encourages new partnerships, networks and transnational innovation projects and examines existing funding projects on innovation and other relevant research findings.
Members will produce a statement on local innovation ecosystems, incorporating a number of case studies; identifying synergies across cities and common learning on topics of interest; and pinpointing barriers and opportunities for collaboration.


Bernardo Rodrigues
Senior EU Policy Officer

vice chair

Paivi Sutinen

EUROCITIES staff contact

Aleksandra Olejnik
EUROCITIES Brussels office
Policy advisor