Better Knowledge - Action 10: Building innovation and dissemination accelerator

  • Cristina (Commu... profile
    Cristina (Commu...
    5 February 2018 - updated 3 months ago
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The impact of digitalisation on our society is tremendous. However, cities are challenged by how best to organise themselves, the internal city processes and practices, as well as in relation to collaborating with different stakeholders within and between the cities, such as business, research, education and the government. The levels of openness, and degrees of interaction with different stakeholders varies per city (e.g. the Light House Projects give good examples). The challenge in digital transition is that at city level, in many cases cities are conducting the same activities without necessarily knowing about each other. A European-wide innovation disseminator for digital transition is missing. Lack of knowledge distribution and information sharing at city level is resulting in insufficient use of resources, the wasting of resources, lack of innovation potential and missed opportunities, which prevent or hinder the scalability, adaptability and sustainability of digital solutions within European cities. Cities are able to capture true potential of digital transition only if they learn how to organise and steer themselves in this new era.


As cities and countries, we need to learn how we can be innovative and innovate. This action implies a different way of working; the multilayer approach on a local level. Therefore, we defined a few steps within this action. The objective of this action is to set up an innovation acceleration platform that works as an instrument for cities in disseminating practices and sharing experiences on different activities and processes regarding the development and application of a variety of digital solutions. While cities can utilise the accelerator for sharing knowledge about different practical solutions through a lessons-learned approach, this action focuses on providing tools which cities can use to organise themselves and build their own innovation ecosystems. 

The purpose of the innovation acceleration platform is to bring worlds together from a social, physical and digital domains and technology perspective to improve the quality of life in the cities of the future; I.e. enabling promoting the use of technology from a human centred perspective. It’s the instrument and vehicle which guides living labs on certain themes (e.g. future health, e-government, urban planning, smart mobility, future of learning, accessibility for disabled and older persons, etc) to start and grow towards solid and scalable, adaptable and sustainable implementation (including value/business models). This is divided in two parts:

  1. The infrastructure which is necessary to facilitate in funding and validation of ideas/solutions
  2. The innovation process; from ideation, prototyping towards business and accelerations and implementation at large scales (‘beyond the pilot’). The accelerator distinguishes itself by explicitly generating and focusing on business and economic scalability, adaptability and sustainability with human centric solutions for urban challenges in digital transition.

To accelerate Urban development innovations within cities in Europe, we believe in collaboration that builds on regional strengths. Every region has its own focus specialisation themes and strengths for digital transition, so we need to embrace the regional differences and utilise them as the basis for collaboration and learning. We acknowledge that different cities within Europe are at different phases in digital transition, needing support in their capacity building actions. There is a need for solutions for other regions and cities, which can easily be copied and implemented. The goal of the action of is to create synergy in the strengths of different regions. By collaborating testing and adapting solutions in cities across Europe we accelerate digital transition and create solutions that are applicable in different contexts and in different phases of digital transition, resulting in and have sufficient economies of scale, and true adaptability and sustainability.

Test of 5 specific topics (e.g. work, e-government, 5G, e-health see action 7) to see if the platform works.

The overall goal of this action is to gather cities together under one source and provide a place of information sharing and peer-learning where cities can freely exchange and share good and best practices, ask for advice and find examples and success stories from cities that have taken leaps in digital transition. It will also create awareness of the potential and importance innovation, the strategy to orchestrate and infrastructure that you need to anticipate further developments. 


The action will deliver the following outputs:

  • An innovation acceleration platform including an ‘open source' toolbox with all the instruments available which helps cities to innovate in digital transition.
  • Five living labs to test and pilot the innovation acceleration platform in 2018 & 2019 which will deliver concrete instruments for the toolkit.
  • Implementation strategy guidelines to make sure that all cities of different levels in the digital transition continuum can easily apply the toolkit based on their contextual factors
  • A number of businesses which have tested value models to help the EU on defining future funding mechanisms.
  • Evaluation of how public procurement helps value funding mechanisms in innovation and replication.[1] .


In order to implement the action, the main focus is on knowledge sharing, dissemination and communication of how cities have experimented with and advanced digital transition. We will utilise existing European networks and structures as much as possible, but the focus will be on coordination and steering issues related to digital transition in cities. As cities have different levels and capabilities of digitalisation, and the development contexts, methods, tools and business models for the development of digitalised or new digital services vary, we initiate this action by proposing an analysis of the state-of-the-art regarding digital transition in Europe to create a demand-driven way of working and organising the accelerator. This way of working acknowledges and allows flexibility to suit the needs of individual cities on advancing digital transition. 

The organization that implement the actions need support in 5 parts by the Technical Secretariat, European Commission and other platforms:

  • support on the coordination and steering
  • marketing and communication for accelerator
  • development of the toolkit
  • support on the living labs
  • support in form of funding, experts & resources.


  • Defining the innovation acceleration platform and living labs (including partners and budget) – Q2 2018.
  • Developing the platform and toolkit – Q3 & Q4 2018.
  • Start with the 3 living labs Q3 2018 - end 2019.
  • bring together the multi-level networks and defining the local implementation strategy within the living labs - Q3 2018.
  • implementation of the innovation acceleration platform and develop tools for the toolkit based on specific living labs, first results to be defined end Q3 2018 - total period Q4 2018 & 2019.

Action leader

Eindhoven, Oulu, Hamburg and Helsingborg.


The following partners will be involved which are necessary to be successful:

  • Europe; DG CNECT, Knowledge society forum and ENoLL[2]
  • Countries/cities; Belgium/Antwerp & Gent …
  • Living labs countries & cities; Eindhoven, Oulu


See also:


[1] Connection with the partnership innovation and responsible public procurement

[2] From the European partners there is a need to connect with other platforms & programs for benchmarking and scaling up, to get political perspective and framing (references to the strategic approach in European policies) and to access to funding mechanisms