On Friday 9 October, during the Local Innovative Ecosystems in Crisis Lab, organised by Nantes, the European Capital of Innovation 2019, Chair of Economic Development Forum in partnership with Eurocities, representatives from European cities and international organisation, but also start-up leaders, toggled to share insightful experiences and forward-looking ideas implemented in an attempt to overcome the Covid-19 crisis.
The crisis unveil cities as real-world test beds for innovation. Innovation process approach in the cities might be a real game changer, but it is necessary to improve ways of working together and learn how disruption can crate resilient future.
The main takeovers from the workshop:
o In times of crises social understanding on the failure of innovation solution is higher
o Cooperation with private sector as a benefit, since faster and much easier than before COVID- 19 crises
o EU funds and instrument found to be more flexible and supporting fast-track innovation
o Participatory futures refer to range of approaches involving citizens in exploring and shaping potential future.
o Cities need to build up on the existing collaborative capabilities to move at unprecedented speed
o Cities should use centred-design and co-creative approach
o Cities and researchers need to work on rebooting evidence-based solutions
o The crucial factor to overcome crises and creating innovation is to focus on network and international cooperation
During the workshop, the OECD presented the outcomes of how cities responded to Covid-19 from the perspective of rethinking resilience and leveraging the innovation, surrounded by the unexpected consequences of the crisis such as:
- accelerating environmental awareness.
- changes in urban needs,
- changes in the approach to municipal services.
The OECD mapped changes, both at global and EU-level, with stronger focus on improvement of service deliveries (e.g. emergency social assistance), internal government operations, resilient outcomes and generation of the new sources for revenues.
City authorities presented the main conclusions from their work with actors of local innovation ecosystems, collected as case studies of the WG Innovation.
- City of Hamburg, illustrated the Emergency Lab project, a tailored support from experts to digitalise businesses in the cultural industry (SMEs) and Professionalisation of Crowdfunding Campaigns, a financial support of up to 5,000 € for corona-damaged companies to initiate their crowdfunding campaign.
- The Greater London Authority depicted the London’s data centric project. The Alan Turing Institute, backed by other academic bodies, designed a complex response to COVID-19 lockdown capturing mobility, transportation and traffic activity over the city of London to get the picture of “busyness” and enable targeted interventions.
- City of Espoo, summarized the aid put forward by local authorities and organisation for companies and R&D houses. For instance, the City of Espoo offered a onetime operating support to sole entrepreneurs, while the Ely Center provided funding for operational costs to small companies and Business Finland put on financing package for co-creation projects.
- City of Groningen, discussed the Local Corona Innovation Fund: a small fund of €250.000 to finance entrepreneurial Covid-19 related initiatives. Its final objective is the cooperation among entrepreneurs which can harness a spillover effect and retain employment (e.g case of Warenhuis Groningen: a platform making the physical product lines of local shops available online collaborated with the City of Groningen paying for the e-bikes used for the products’ delivery).
The presentation of the project leaders who won the EUvsVirus, a pan-European hackathon to connect civil society, innovators, partners and buyers across Europe, showed how the technology and data sharing are crucial in supporting the local authorities and citizens in times of the crises (UNITE Public Procurement Platform, Occupation-Shifter (by Skilllab), Bankera Business Care, Linistry for safe retail, sostenibl.es).
As iCapital 2020, Leuven demonstrated its resilience in addressing COVID-19 crisis with:
- ‘Co-creating education’ (SOM), targeted to enhance equal learning opportunities and promote diversity, by bringing together teachers, students, experts, and volunteers to facilitate the transition to e-learning.
During the interactive session Nesta UK shared recommendations on how cities can collaborate through the crisis with their innovation ecosystem. The pandemic could provide the final shift in how technology is used in smart cities to one that is primarily about building communities. Experts presented scenarios of how cities can use this crisis to change the approach to cooperation among the innovation ecosystems and enable innovation; provided recommendations how the cities can leverage their positions as test beds via the subnational cooperation: network; peer-to-peers partnerships and development of solution platforms (Network Effects report).