Hamburg seeks ideas to increase tourism

Hamburg, Germany -- one of the 21 cities participating in the 2012 LLGA -- has an interesting tourism challenge for this year's award participants. As the second largest port in Europe, Hamburg is a popular origin and destination city for cruise lines. About 300,000 cruise passengers arrive in Hamburg each year at some point along their trip, and yet few seem to stay long to tour Germany's second-largest city. In fact, Hamburg officials estimate that only one-third of cruise tourists spend a night or more in the city before or after their journey. Even for those who do prolong their visit, the average stay is just 2.1 nights. There is huge potential for Hamburg to capture a larger share of cruise line tourism, yet for some reason many passengers seem to view Hamburg more as a transport hub than as a destination in itself. And that's where this year's showcase challenge comes in. The city has asked participants to submit solutions that help to connect cruise passengers to the vast array of tourism opportunities that Hamburg has to offer. Since it already has a variety of tourist-friendly locations and events and has already succeeded in drawing tourists to the city, the challenge is in helping tourists to seamlessly integrate with Hamburg and its sights. City officials hope that through the use of interactive mobile and web-based technologies, cruise passengers can learn of Hamburg's many offerings and will be inspired to linger a few days more.

One of the showcases that rose to Hamburg's challenge and is among the five selected nominees is Sightsplanner, an interactive suggestion engine that instantly produces a customized tour itinerary based on your preferences and schedule needs. A tourist can access the engine via web browser or mobile phone, enter their preferences, and receive a step-by-step schedule of places to visit nearby. The user can enter details on time of day, how long they would like the tour to last, whether they are traveling by foot or by car, and preferences for certain types of attractions as part of their detailed itinerary. The program categorizes sights and events into museums & arts, architecture & city, eating out, shopping, sports & outdoor, and bars & nightlife so that tourists can easily find the places and activities that interest them the most. Sightplanner's ability to adjust to users' unique preferences makes it a much more dynamic sightseeing guide than the standard tourism books or brochures.

As an already popular tourist destination, Hamburg's local economy could benefit greatly by providing a simpler, more convenient way for visitors to interact with and explore the city. Tools like Sightsplanner help tourists see not just what a city has to offer, but when and how they can get there, taking much of the difficulty out of planning a tour. Widespread use of such a user-friendly system could transform the way that tourists view Hamburg and motivate them to prolong their stay.

~ Allison Bullock

Twenty Global Cities Launch Technology Award to improve the living standards of 100 Million Citizens

Twenty global cities, including Barcelona, Cape Town, Lagos, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro and San Francisco, in four continents, join forces with Living Labs Global, Oracle, and The Climate Group in an effort to find innovative solutions that will improve the living standards of more than 100m citizens by launching the Living Labs Global Award.  International technology and service solution service providers will compete for twenty winning spots that will allow them to pilot their solutions in these cities and put their effectiveness to the test.  

Babatunde Fashola, Governor State of Lagos says: “For any modern City, Lagos being no exception, the requirement to leverage innovation is no longer an option, but a necessity and this I believe is the objective of our partnership with the 'Living Labs Global Award”.

“Oracle is proud of the collaboration with Living Labs Global and cities around the world to improve citizen services through innovation and technology achievement,” said Juan Rada, Senior Vice President, Public Sector.  "Oracle is pleased to be the corporate sponsor of the Living Labs Global Award 2012 showcasing technology innovation in the Public Sector.”

Living Labs Global (, the non-profit association which promotes new technologies and services in cities will be working with Barcelona, Birmingham, Caceres, Cape Town, Coventry, Derry~Londonderry, Eindhoven, Fukuoka, Glasgow, Guadelajara, Hamburg, Lagos, Lavasa, Kristiansand, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Santiago de Chile and Terrassa to select the providers and the solutions that will best tackle key urban challenges such as social inclusion, intelligent transport, urban service automation, urban lighting, open data systems, smart living, and healthcare.

Councillor Paul Tilsley, Deputy Leader of Birmingham City Council, said “We think the Living Labs Global Award scheme is a real opportunity to help find an innovative solution, fully utilising emerging technologies to efficiently and effectively process food waste, resulting in a sustainable energy source for the benefit of Birmingham businesses and residents.”

San Francisco Public Utilities Commission General Manager Ed Harrington says: "San Francisco is proudly participating in this innovative program to find the best and brightest ideas that will make our city infrastructure more efficient and resilient."

Daniel Hoornweg, Lead Urban Specialist, Cities and Climate Change at the World Bank says “The Living Labs Global Award is particularly useful in that it looks for transformative solutions from all cities around the world. The twenty participating cities have adopted a common standard and process to learn from each other, evaluate, and pilot solutions. This award again shows how cities are best able to learn from each other.”

Sascha Haselmayer, General Director of Living Labs Global said: “We are delighted to be partnering with such an important group of world cities. It is their vision, their leadership, their understanding of current and future challenges and their belief in the power of innovation that is making the Living Labs Global Award not only possible – but a blueprint for the future of cities everywhere”.

The Awards’ last editions attracted 562 entries from 41 countries with winners including, among others, a smart real-time peer-to-peer parking system in Stockholm and an open data citizen participation platform in San Francisco. Oracle Corporation has been named as the lead corporate partner for the Living Labs Global Award 2012 with providing the technical and social networking infrastructure through its urban technology marketplace. International NGO, The Climate Group, and The World Bank are strategic partners, incorporating the Living Labs Global Award into their flagship “Clean Revolution” campaign.

Mark Kenber, CEO of The Climate Group says: “We are delighted to be partnering with Living Labs Global and this impressive array of global cities. We live in an increasingly urban world. The cities’ investment in smart technologies and clean energy, their commitment to use innovation as the best way to both confront urban challenges and improve the living standards of their citizens are crucial in driving the Clean Revolution forward and ensure a cleaner, smarter, better world for all”.

Thomas Ebling, CTO of says: “Living Labs Global Award is an important global process that will contribute to our vision of revolutionising the way local governments invest in and regulate new technologies and services in cities. Its clear process, documented results and accountability are an important milestone and opens the window to large and small solution providers from around the world.”

Twenty Award Categories are being presented and entries are going to be reviewed by international experts against criteria such as climate and community impact, innovation, market relevance and ease of implementation. The Award Categories were defined together with decision-makers in cities around the world. Behind each Category lies the commitment of a city to pilot the winning showcase, with full institutional support to evaluate the impact the solution can have on reaching the community’s objectives.

Submissions to qualify for the Living Labs Global Award can be submitted until the 17th of February 2012. A shortlist of the top 5 Showcases will be presented by each partner city on March 5th 2012. The final Award winners will be announced at the Award Ceremony May 2nd 2012 in Rio de Janeiro on the eve of the Rio Summit on Service Innovation in Cities.

Mischa Dohler, CTO of Worldsensing and Winner of a Living Labs Global Award in the 2011 edition says: “Winning the Living Labs Global Award in May 2011 gave us a pilot trial of our cutting-edge smart parking solution in Sant Cugat. Usually very difficult to achieve, a town hall has actually committed within less than a month to testing and evaluating an innovative technology solution to ease the daily headache of finding a vacant parking space, improve the efficiency, carbon footprint and revenue for the city. For us, as a start-up, this was a major break-through.”

About Living Labs Global

Living Labs Global is a non-profit association based in Copenhagen, Denmark, working with 50 global cities and more than 500 companies and innovation centres to promote innovation in services in cities. In 2011 Living Labs Global was recognized as a major global social innovation initiative by Ashoka. Today, the global market for innovative solutions to healthcare, learning, transport, social inclusion, tourism and other services in cities is obscured by lack of knowledge about international experiences, technologies and new business ideas. Living Labs Global strives to collect and present solutions that make cities more attractive, inclusive, efficient and diverse in our Living Labs Global Showcase. Participation is free of charge, providing recognition, visibility and new project opportunities.  Together, we build Your Market for Mobility.

Endorsements of Living Labs Global can be found here: Award Twitter Newsfeed:

About is providing the secure online submission, showcasing and evaluation platform for the Award process as part of a vision to revolutionise the way cities procure, invest and regulate services. is a technology start-up offering a professional networking and market exchange platform that provides new scalability to build a rapidly growing community of more than 1,000 solution providers and 250+ cities. offers social networking, market intelligence, evaluation and market development tools to all professionals working with innovative services in cities.

About Oracle

Oracle Corporation is acting as corporate partner to promote global smart city solutions.

Oracle's Solutions for Smart Cities, which are based on our experience with local government customers and best-in-class technology and applications, enable you to do the following:

  • Smart Innovation - Resolve up to 90 percent (or more) of most government service requests through integrated multichannel services, including self-service Web/chat; local single numbers such as 311, 1823, 133, 115; Facebook; Twitter; e-mail, etc.
  • Smart Processes - Analyze and streamline key areas—service delivery, infrastructure expenditures, constituent feedback, and others—to determine which services to prioritize, extend, consolidate, or even discontinue
  • Smart Infrastructure - Modernize IT infrastructure to enable integration and interoperability within a city’s existing siloed legacy IT infrastructure and embedded intelligence into city infrastructure to enhance service delivery.
  • Link:

About The Climate Group

The Climate Group delivers expertise in the evaluation and knowledge exchange around climate issues.

The Climate Group is an independent, not-for-profit organization, which brings together a global coalition of the world’s most powerful governments, brands and public figures across Asia, Europe and North America. Since 2004, we’ve been working with governments, business leaders and the world’s most influential individuals -- to push for the policies, technologies and investment we need to make the Clean Revolution commercially viable. Together, we have the power to create a smarter, better, more prosperous future for all.

Now out: Spanish Edition of our Handbook on Service Innovation in Cities

Living Labs Global is pleased to invite you to the launch of the book “Tu Dividendo de 256.516 Millones”, the updated and Spanish language edition of our handbook “Connected Cities: Your 256 Billion Euro Dividend” be published by the University of Barcelona. The book features a new epilogue by Professor Xavier Torrens, placing the book as a critical contribution in the current debate on local and urban innovation policy.

We will present the book on the occasion of INTA's 34th World Urban Development Congress, in Donostia-San Sebastian (Spain) during the Welcome Reception on Sunday, October 24, 2010, from 19:00-21:00 and the first plenary session on Wednesday, October 27th.

The book is now available to order from the University of Barcelona webstore or can be bought in one of the University of Barcelona’s bookshops.

It's no place really, but it's real.

Hamburg - Mediterranean Matchmaking Summit, January 16. The prolific writer William Gibson has stated that we live in an age that is dominated by a post-geographical feeling. The development of the internet and the mobile generation has revolutionized the way that we view the world, and the newest incarnation of almost universal WI-FI in combination with the arrival of the 3G phone has made things move even faster. With this in mind, it was striking that Sascha Haselmayer opened the summit by stating that we haven't even seen the beginning of the new market, and he stressed that, even though the need for services is evident, we are not seeing all the mobile services that one would expect.

Why are we not seeing the new services yet? There are many reasons for this, but one important factor might be that the post-geographical feeling still has certain limitations when it comes to how we interact in the physical world. Even though a vast Gibsonesque prosthetic nervous system has spread around the globe over the last 25 years, we are still living in a physical reality defined by national borders, cultural differences, and spatial divides. There is no doubt that people all over the globe share some of the same needs and face some of the some of the same challenges, but when Europe, the smallest continent, is unable to develop common solutions and standards, how can we expect to see better results on a global scale?

Living Labs Global is aware of this divide, and in Hamburg the network and its members showed that they are ready and well equipped to tackle the work at hand. By focusing on the collaboration between companies, investors, and research centers in Barcelona and Hamburg, Living Labs Global showed how fruitful such a summit can be when the organizers are conscious of the real barriers that exist in the market. It was the first time that Living Labs Global tried to use this specific angle on matchmaking, and it proved to be something that people have needed for a very long time.

With nearly 100 participants at the Empire Riverside Hotel, the summit was fully booked. Many had asked themselves if a proper spirit of openness and readiness to speak up could be achieved in only one day, but these worries quickly turned out to be completely groundless. It has to be said that most of the participants took a head start the evening before the event by attending a very nice cocktail party arranged by the Cavas Codorniu from Barcelona and the City Council. They served drinks in the hotel lounge, and in no time the whole place was alive with large groups of people engaging in lively discussions. As the arranged get-together ended most of us found our way to restaurants and bars in the vicinity, and I myself went to a nice informal dinner with a fine dozen of people from Sweden, Spain, Germany, and Denmark. Many of the participants later met up in the magnificent sky-bar of the Empire Riverside Hotel and it was a great to end the night in good company and with the view of Hamburg below.

The summit itself began the day after with Sascha Haselmayer's welcome, and it set the tone of the event: A real value network has to be built around the mobility market and we have to make some kind of coherence in the sea of service and market islands. Introducing North and South, he rightly identified Hamburg as a gate for trade and handed the podium to Judit Romera from Barcelona City Council, and she described Barcelona as a dense and creative city - a place in which to be inspired. Barcelona is also a cultural capital and it has become the central reference in the creation of dialogue between the Northern and the Southern rim of the Mediterranean. With 3.000 companies that have a productive presence in the city, Barcelona is also the most consolidated base of foreign companies in Spain. Jordi Sacristan from 22@Barcelona confirmed that the city is able to attract talent, and the innovative new area specializing in media, ICT, energy, and biomedical research is ready to welcome even more foreign companies and students.

As is always the case at these events it was hard to choose which panel discussion not to attend. There were panels on Media & ICT - which was very fitting considering Hamburg's long tradition in this field - Concept & Design, and Healthcare Service Innovation. There were experts at all three sessions, and there were also presentations from some of the companies attending, and several of them had showcases as well. As proceedings drew to a close, people wished for more time and in the healthcare session discussions were just starting to take off after Lekshmy Parameswaran's enlightening virtual tour of the company Fuelfor's services. Luckily, the following lunch arrangements set the stage for a series of animated exchanges, and it quickly turned into one of the most valued points of the summit; people agreed that they had rarely experienced such a congenial spirit of matchmaking, and it was also agreed upon that it was partly due to the scarcity of time: Time might have been a bit scarce, but everyone were determined to make the time available of the highest quality.

The time was also well-spent on the part of Living Labs Global, and even though we had high expectations, we were surprised at how positive the outcome was. The participants all found something of value to take home with them, several of the newcomers decided to become members of Living Labs Global, and the association has found a footfall that will make the next year very exciting. William Gibson has also described the ongoing technological revolution as being just as important in human evolution as the original creation of cities. It has always been a part of Living Labs Global's ambition to spearhead this development, and in a way we feel that we are indeed creating new cities. To be able to do this in cooperation with two of the old worlds prime specimens is a pleasure and a privilege. Barcelona will continue to be in our sight, and there is no doubt that the city will be the ideal background when they host the 3GSM there in February. It will also be a good opportunity to get reacquainted with members of Living Labs Global before the next big event in Zurich. Until then we'll keep building cities.,en/

Living Labs Global: Your Market for Mobility.

Since June 2008, Living Labs Global has become a non-profit membership association building on the success of Living Labs Europe. This evolution reflects the outcomes of our consultations with European members and partners, including the EU Commission Europe-INNOVA programme, since the beginning of the year, as well as the geographic growth of our initiative. New members have joined from Asia, and it is expected that we can announce activities in the Americas and the broader Mediterranean Region in the coming months. Further, the new organisation reflects our mission to build a "Marketplace for Mobility". Previous posts discussed Living Labs as Lead Markets, barriers to innovation and creativity. We are moved by the discovery of so many innovative mobile applications - more than 230 have been presented in our Research on Mobility - yet few of these become available everywhere. In fact, the mobility market today is dysfunctional for a large number of reasons. We cannot change all of this everywhere, so we are inviting those cities, regions, companies, agencies and organisations committed to providing better, more innovative service to mobile citizens, businesses and visitors to join us.

Without a functioning market, our discussions on user-centric innovation and service designs often lead to frustration rather than success, as many conditions hinder export or commercialisation. Living Labs Global remains committed to putting the user at the centre, with 6,711,888,616 innovators around, we believe that we can actively create the global market for mobility, rather than wait. Understanding users helps us identify the local problems that are in fact global opportunities.

Together, we will build this marketplace, enabling innovators to become successful. We will continue to map mobility, to showcase the best services and applications and benchmark leading global regions and markets. Our Matchmaking Summits will become part of a regular activity, starting in January 2009 in Hamburg, to be followed by Summits in Zurich and Taipei. And, our goal remains to make it all happen through Highlight Projects that break new grounds by piloting and pre-commercialising solutions in our marketplace.

Find out more, by reviewing our updated website.