Better Knowledge - Draft 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 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 for 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 different digital solutions. While cities can utilise the accelerator for sharing knowledge about different practical solutions through lessons learned approach, this action especially provides tools which cities can use to organize 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, etc.) to start and grow towards solid and scalable, adaptable and sustainable implementation (including value/business models). This is divided in two parts:

  • The infrastructure which is necessary to facilitate in funding and validation of ideas/solutions
  • 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 from 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, thus supporting capacity building actions.   you can’t develop everything. So we need solutions for other regions as well, which easily can be 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.


The action will deliver the following results:

  • 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.
  • An 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.
  • Several tested business/value models which helps the EU on the funding mechanisms.
  • The 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.


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.  

We need to have support in 4 parts:

  • support on the coordination and steering,
  • marketing and communication for accelerator,
  • development of the toolkit,
  • support on the living labs.


  • 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 multilayered 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 connect, Knowledge society forum and ENoLL.
  • Countries/cities; Belgium/Antwerp & Gent…
  • Living labs countries & cities; Eindhoven, Oulu.

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