LLGA

Why should cities share their solutions?

Cape Town's Louis C H Fourie presents GeniUS York with their LLGA2012 award

With participation, open source and shared practice the buzz words of city governance as we kick off 2013,LLGA offers cities the perfect opportunity to share what they’ve been doing with their global peers. Whilst municipalities have a duty to explain how they’ve been spending public funds and what the results are, this opportunity goes much further. By showcasing their newly developed technology or innovative approaches on Citymart, cities are capitalising on their hard work. The result can not only be international recognition and shared continued development but even a new revenue model.

Problem solving crosses cultures and national boundaries comfortably. The City of York in the UK submitted their GeniUs community innovation platform for LLGA2012 and were selected as winners by Cape Town, with whom they are currently formulating a pilot. Similarly when Sant Cugat presented their Local Innovation Plan for LLGA2010 they were selected as the winner by the jury for the City of Eindhoven in the Netherlands. Since then, Sant Cugat have provided training and helped Eindhoven to adopt the formula of citizen and business leader engagement in defining its own local innovation plan.

Further successful projects that cities are showcasing on Citymart include:

Transport for London

London: Work, Play and the Games

City of Chicago

Chicago’s Green Alley Program

City of Austin

City Supported Community Bicycle Shop

City of Hamburg

Little Bicycle-Sheds – Fahrradhaeuschen

City of San Francisco

SFpark – a new way of managing parking

City of Vienna

Smart City Wien

Traditionally there are various reasons why cities develop their own technology. While at times they cannot find what they are looking for on the market, at others they simply feel they can do it better or seek the independence of proprietary solutions. In recent years, however, cities have begun developing with the express intention of sharing their technology with other cities. In the US in particular this has led to numerous forums for sharing reusable technology and methods of working, such as the many solutions like SF Park presented by cities on our own Citymart.com or Code for America’s platform for sharing software on Civic Commons.

By sharing their creative thinking, cities benefit from a wider user base so that the technology is improved and developed quicker than if they were working on their own. The City of Stockholm and Astando have taken this approach with E-adept, an enabling-technology for visually impaired citizens that is actively marketed to other cities with the objective of sharing further development resources. Other cities that use the technology then advance it and provide feedback to Stockholm in a mutually beneficial relationship. Similarly, Boston has offered several apps including Street Bump for other cities to help build on and make development more efficient.

More recently cities have started developing technology with the express intention of licensing or selling it to create revenue and help offset the significant sums invested in development. With their document management platform SmartPDF, San Francisco have done just this with the objective of licensing the technology to other cities and organizations.

Whether looking for international exposure, wishing to publically recognise the work of their employees, aiming to share practice and further develop their technology or planning to raise revenue for the city, sharing approaches and technology will be an increasingly popular way for cash-strapped cities to improve services and lower costs in 2013.

Do let us know your favourtie resources or forums where cities are sharing their technologies and any additional cases of sharing.

LLGA2013 | Cities Pilot the Future. A global call for solutions to improve the lives of millions. Submit by 31.1.13.

Connecting people to their environment with contactless tags

Last week we announced the winning showcases for 21 participating cities in the Living Labs Global Award (LLGA) 2012 competition. Of those awarded, one company left the Rio Conference as the selected solution for not just one, but for four different cities in this year's awards. That company, Connecthings, was chosen for its showcase "Contactless tags to bridge real and physical worlds". Barcelona, Derry-Londonderry, Hamburg, and Rio de Janeiro all selected Connecthings' project for a pilot release within their cities over the next year.

Contactless tags codify information into a unique pattern, often not much bigger than the size of a postal stamp, which can be attached to any surface. NFC and QR codes are two examples of contactless tags. A smartphone can be used to scan these tags and instantly pull up the associated data in a web browser, giving the user a simple and convenient method of accessing information. Contactless tags can also be coded to instantly send an SMS to the user's phone, or to automatically dial a phone number. Connecthings' idea is to use this medium to better connect people to real-time travel data, cultural and historic information, and other tourist and city service information.

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The key advantage of contactless tags is the instantaneous connection to the exact information that a user needs. Rather than having to navigate a web site that may have hundreds of different pages, or needing to search for a specific app to find tourist or travel information, contactless tags remove the intermediary step of searching for information. This makes them a user-friendly option for anyone who has a smartphone or other contactless reader device. They also have the benefit of being inexpensive to produce, program, and install, which makes them an effective option for cities looking for low-cost, high-impact solutions for making information more accessible to the public.

Derry-Londonderry, Hamburg, and Barcelona all intend to implement Connecthings' solution to better connect tourists to the cultural, historical, and social offerings of their cities. Contactless tags can be placed on monuments, historical markers, museum signs, directional markers, transit stops, and other visible, high-traffic locations to deliver information directly to users.

Rio de Janeiro aims to use the technology for a slightly different purpose; its LLGA challenge was to find a solution to create a "Knowledge Square" in the city, empowering disadvantaged communities with better access to information  and a more efficient way to share resources. Rio hopes to implement contactless tags in the city in a way that increases access to new technologies, promotes a technology-literate population, and provides a fun, interesting way for people to connect within and outside of their communities.

Contactless tags have the potential to change how people interact with the urban environment, whether as a citizen or a tourist. With four pilot projects soon to be underway, Connecthings' contactless tags solution will be one to watch in the next year.

~ Allison Bullock

21 world cities reveal the winning solutions to improve lives of 110 million citizens

Twenty-one cities from Asia, Africa, Europe, North and Latin America have announced the winners of the Living Labs Global Award 2012 (LLGA 2012) in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The Award presented major urban challenges faced by cities such as Barcelona, San Francisco, Cape Town, Mexico City, Birmingham, Rio de Janeiro or Lagos, to which 555 companies from 50 countries responded by presenting their innovative solutions. Cities spend EUR 3.5 Trillion annually in public procurement, and technologies promise major efficiency, accessibility and service quality gains.

During the first world meeting in Latin America on the smart use of technologies and services, public leaders from 21 global cities have revealed the winning innovative solutions that best meet strategic challenges like Affordable Housing Units for Lagos (Nigeria), Data to Help Fight Obesity in Eindhoven (The Netherlands), Changing Private Car Use in Lavasa (India), Wireless Control of Urban Systems in San Francisco (USA), a Knowledge Square to enhance digital inclusion in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil), Participation in Service Design and Delivery in Sant Cugat (Spain), Digital Public Transport in Mexico City (Mexico) and Engaging Visitors Experience in Barcelona (Spain). Winning solutions of the LLGA 2012 will now be piloted in the 21 participating cities over the next 12 months, to evaluate their impact to meet the pressing challenges.

 The winning solutions are:

 City of Barcelona (Spain): Contactless tags to bridge real and physical worlds, by Connecthings

City of Birmingham (UK): Composting on-site in Green Communities, by Susteco AB

City of Cáceres (Spain): Sustainable Cities. Motion is Energy, by OTEM2000 - Green Solutions & Management S.L.

City of Cape Town (South Africa):  Cape GeniUS!, by SCY

City of Coventry (UK): HLG SYSTEM, by GLASS COVER Europe S.L.

City of Derry~Londonderry (UK): Contactless tags to bridge real and physical worlds, by Connecthings

City of Eindhoven (The Netherlands): The App that gets teenagers moving, by GGD Brabant-Zuidoost

City of Fukuoka (Japan): Smart PathFinder, by Where 2 Get It, Inc.

City of Glasgow (UK): SmartCity Málaga, by Endesa

City of Guadalajara (Mexico): Guadalajara: Keeping Road Surfaces in Top Condition, by Falcon Road Maintenance Equipment

City of Hamburg (Germany): Contactless tags to bridge real and physical worlds, by Connecthings

City of Kristiansand (Norway): City Direct, by Innovation Center Iceland

City of Lagos (Nigeria): Lagos state Housing Solution, by TEMPOHOUSING NIGERIA LIMITED

City of Lavasa (India): SKYBUS, by Skybus

Mexico City (Mexico): Modern Urban Transport Information, by Clever Devices

City of Rio de Janeiro (Brazil): Contactless tags to bridge real and physical worlds, by Connecthings

Rome - Lazio Region (Italy): Get on board and play with bUS, by Placemaking srl

City of San Francisco (USA): From Street Lighting Management to Advanced Smart City Services, by Paradox Engineering

City of Sant Cugat (Spain): MindMixer, by MindMixer.com

City of Santiago de Chile (Chile): SFpark - A New way of managing parking, by San Francisco Municipal Transportation Agency

City of Terrassa (Spain): CityWalking, by UPC BarcelonaTech

In a unique global effort, 555 technology solutions from about 50 countries submitted to the Living Labs Global Award 2012 in February, while 109 were shortlisted in March. Winners have been selected after an international two-round jury process involving 147 jurors, under the auspices of Living Labs Global, a non-profit association based in Copenhagen and Barcelona working with 50 cities and 1,000 companies around the world to promote service innovation in cities. The Living Labs Global Award is a unique global process providing full accountability in the evaluation through independent experts. The LLGA 2012 was promoted by 21 global cities in partnership with Living Labs Global, Citymart.com, Oracle and The Climate Group.

The LLGA 2012 Ceremony of 2 May was attended by 200 participants from 22 countries in Rio de Janeiro as part of the Rio Summit on Service Innovation in Cities.

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 “Today we have witnessed a major commitment towards meeting some of the world’s pressing urban challenges, with the goal of improving the lives of more than 50% of the world’s population by using clean technologies, smart services and better accessibility. The winners will now have the opportunity to implement their solutions in real-life, and work together with stakeholders in the 21 partner cities to prove their impact,” said Sascha Haselmayer, Co-Founder of Living Labs Global.

 The Living Labs Global Award 2012 has been an important event for the City of Rio de Janeiro, which will soon host the Football World Cup and the Olympic Games. We thrive upon knowledge and innovation and this Summit exchanges experience and cutting-edge solutions. It has been a very successful event. Through the Living Labs Global Award 2012 we received 109 solutions that will help us to develop our Knowledge Square, which is being implemented in 6 areas of the city and aims to enhance digital inclusion across Rio de Janeiro,” said Franklin Coelho, Secretary of Science and Technology of the City of Rio de Janeiro, host city and partner of the LLGA 2012.

The cities will be considered at the cutting edge of innovation and progress, as contactless technologies and associated mobile services are about to revolutionize mobile usages. They will also enjoy a new two-channel interactive communication tool, visible and accessible to everyone which is particularly important for an emerging global city. Connecthings will be glad to benefit from such prestigious international references and to demonstrate that its solutions are flexible and adaptable to cities’ diverse challenges,” said Damaris Homo, Business Development Manager at Connecthings, winner of four LLGA 2012, including the categories of Rio de Janeiro and Barcelona.

With initiatives like the Living Labs Global Award 2012 we are transforming Barcelona into a platform for innovation. We would like to see successful projects in the city being replicated in others, such as Rio de Janeiro or Paris, to name a few. The city of Rio as the host of the next Football World Cup and the Olympic Games must also think about their legacy and how the infrastructure will bring benefits to its citizens in the future, said Josep M. Piqué, Strategic Sectors Director, 22@ Barcelona, partner city of the LLGA 2012.

“Over 50% of the world population lives in cities and only by having them on our side will we win the battle against pollution and build a better world. We have to disseminate the Clean Revolution to city leaders, said Molly Webb, Head of Smart Technologies, The Climate Group, partner of the LLGA 2012.

On the second day of the meeting, May 3, during the Rio Summit on Service Innovation in Cities, 200 delegates from 22 countries, including public leaders from 30 international cities and pioneering entrepreneurs driving social and technological innovation are engaging in matchmaking activities to foster partnerships and dialogues on the investment priorities of participating cities: Urban Systems & Services, Health & Wellbeing, Open Government & Accessibility, Clean and Green Cities, Tourism & Mobility.

On May 4, delegates join LLGA 2012 local immersion programme to experience some of the ground-breaking projects, such as the Change through Digital Inclusion (CDI) programme in the favelas of Rio de Janeiro, now adopted by 717 communities in 14 countries.

About Citymart.com

Citymart.coml is a non-profit association based in Copenhagen (Denmark) and Barcelona (Spain), working with 50 cities and 1,000 companies and research centres in Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas with a mission to open the market for service innovation in cities and overcoming key technology, organisation and trade barriers. The Living Labs Global Award is an annual process over 8 months in which cities present their challenges and provide guidance to the business and technology community on future investment plans and needs. Solution providers respond by submitting existing technologies as entries for evaluation by an international jury.

Previous LLGA winners

Some of the winners of LLGA since 2010 include SOCRATA, whose solution has been implemented by San Francisco to power the city’s new cloud-based Open Data site, URBIOTICA’s intelligent waste management sensors for recycling containers and WORRLDSENSING’s cutting-edge urban smart parking solution.

Facts:

More than 557,000 local governments provide services to more than 50% of the world’s population with an annual spending of 3.5 Trillion Euros per year. New technologies can radically improve transport and mobility, urban systems and services, open government, health and wellbeing and other key areas of urban life.

More information on www.llga.org

Follow us on Twitter (@LLGACities), Facebook.com/citymartcom and Linkedin

LLGA2012: A Journey in Numbers to Improve Millions of Lives

As we are nearing our Award Ceremony on May 2 in Rio de Janeiro, when all eyes will be on the 21 winners that have been selected by 21 global cities - such as Barcelona, San Francisco, Rio de Janeiro, Mexico City, Kristiansand, Eindhoven, Lagos, Cape Town, Rome and Fukuoka - we take a minute to recall the journey that took us here.

LLGA2012 in Numbers

21 Cities

110 Million Citizens

21 Challenges

3,500 Existing Solutions Found

555 Validated Entries from...

50+ Countries

147 Jurors

109 Shortlisted Solutions

7,500 Evaluations

45,000 Evaluation Data-Points will be published to providers

21 Winners

21 Pilots in next 12 months

Three years ago, we had an idea. What if cities called for solutions to their pressing challenges? Why was there no place where cities, soon home to 70% of the world's population, could share their challenges?

LLGA - the Living Labs Global Award - was born as a simple and quick experiment. In just 3 months we mobilized 12 cities to present their challenges and share an evaluation method to identify the best solutions. The results led to improved waste management in Barcelona, and to Eindhoven adopting a new process to involve citizens in their evaluation methodology,

In November 2011 we launched LLGA2012, in partnership with 21 global cities with 110 Million citizens in Europe, Asia, the Americas and Africa. Each city presented a challenge to which our wonderful research team of 10 in Barcelona found 3,500 existing solutions around the world.

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After a validation, we received 555 entries from more than 50 countries, which were reviewed by 147 international jurors appointed by the cities to 21 juries evaluate the impact of the solutions for each category. This generated 7,500 evaluations and some 45,000 evaluation data-points providing valuable feedback on May 3 to participating solution providers via the Showcases on Citymart.com.

On March 5th, the cities and their juries presented 109 nominated solutions that entered a second round of evaluation. On May 2, we will present 21 winners - selected by the cities as the most promising solutions to improve the lives of 110 Million citizens.

In the coming 12 months, these winners will implement 21 pilot projects, to show the real impact of their solutions and allow citizens, government agencies, business partners and the partner cities to experience change.

Bitcarrier, winner of a LLGA2011 Award saw their Citysolver solution launched their pilot just 3 months after winning, and signed a contract within another 3 months. Not only did they save $320,000 in acquisition costs and went to market 4x faster than usual - but the citizens of Barcelona spent less time in traffic as a result. Every single day. And that is just one winner...

Stay tuned! #LLGA

Rio Summit on Service Innovation in Cities

The Living Labs Global Awards has been a months-long process that all comes down to a series of announcements and awards ceremonies next week in Rio de Janeiro. Innovators from across the globe will join representatives from 21 participating cities to share ideas on how to turn urban challenges into opportunity. Spanning 5 continents, over the next year these cities will each host an LLGA pilot project selected by a panel of city leaders and experts. As of now, over 90 nominated showcases are in competition for the awards, many of which have been featured here over the past several weeks. Each stands a chance to leave the Rio Summit with big plans to move forward with their proposed projects.

The summit begins next Wednesday, May 2, at the Associação Comercial do Rio de Janeiro. Awards for the participant cities will be announced throughout the day at the conclusion of each City Dialogue. The City Dialogues are mediated conversations held between city officials, business leaders, local experts, and peers of multiple cities to invite an exchange of ideas and discussion of trends taking place in a variety of contexts.

The second day of the conference, Thursday, May 3, involves an all-day Matchmaking Summit that is designed to connect city leaders with dozens of urban solution innovators. Activities throughout the day will revolve around networking, showcases, and interactive sessions to acquaint attendees with a wealth of new ideas, technologies, and business models being shared. The day will also include visioning workshops for all 21 cities, in which participants will collaborate on developing new urban concepts and strategies for cities to pursue in the future.

The final day of the event on Friday, May 4th, will involve turning from inward discussion of urban trends to outward interaction with the summit's host city. Tours and visits will take summit attendees to view recently completed and upcoming urban projects throughout Rio de Janeiro. This will be a chance for visitors to see on-the-ground solutions in action and also to identify future opportunities for Rio to continue to develop as a player in the global innovation market.

May 2nd promises to be an exciting day for all of those involved in the LLGA process. Keep an eye out next week on the LLGA website and here at our blog, where we'll be announcing the winners of the 2012 awards.

~ Allison Bullock

21 cidades mundiais premiarão projetos inovadores de tecnologias e serviços, no Rio de Janeiro

O Rio de Janeiro receberá a primeira conferência mundial na América do Sul sobre Tecnologias e Serviços Inovadores para Melhorar a Qualidade de Vida nas Cidades, organizada anualmente pela associação internacional Living Labs Global. O prefeito do Rio, Eduardo Paes, participará desta iniciativa que este ano tem o apoio da cidade do Rio de Janeiro, a parceria de Barcelona e outras 19 cidades globais, a Oracle e o The Climate Group, que realizarão encontros com provedores e especialistas internacionais, nos dias 2 e 3 de maio, na Associação Comercial do Rio de Janeiro. "A cidade do Rio de Janeiro orgulha-se de ser a Cidade-anfitriã do importante prêmio Living Labs Global Award e de dar as boas-vindas às nossas 20 cidades globais parceiras para intercambiar soluções e inovações, para melhoria da qualidade de vida dos nossos 110 milhões de cidadãos. Sentimo-nos honrados de compartilhar nossas experiências no Rio de Janeiro e receber inspiração durante o nosso encontro com os líderes das cidades da Ásia, África, Europa, América do Norte e América Latina”, disse o prefeito do Rio de Janeiro, Eduardo Paes.

No dia 2 de maio, prefeitos e outros líderes das 21 cidades globais, como São Francisco, Cidade do México, Barcelona, Cidade do Cabo, Rio de Janeiro e Fukuoka, entregarão o prêmio Living Labs Global Award 2012 a cada um dos projetos internacionais que escolheram (dentre 555 soluções inscritas de 50 países) para atender um desafio urbano estratégico em seu município, relacionado com a mobilidade, segurança, saúde, gestão pública, acessibilidade, emissão de carbono e turismo.

Eduardo Paes anunciará o projeto que vencerá o desafio da cidade do Rio de Janeiro, a “Praça do Conhecimento”, que tem o objetivo de gerar interesse e aproximar as comunidades com a utilização de dispositivos e conteúdos baseados em web 4.0, ajudando no combate à desigualdade social e a exclusão digital. (Projetos finalistas: http://llga.org/nominated).

Dando continuidade ao encontro, no dia 3 de Maio, 200 participantes, representando estas mesmas cidades, empresas e especialistas Brasileiros e internacionais se reunirão para a Conferência do Rio sobre Serviços Inovadores nas Cidades, em atividades de interação que potenciam debates e parcerias em torno de soluções para desafios locais e globais por meio do uso inteligente da tecnologia e serviços inovadores. A conferência estará dividida em cinco áreas prioritárias de investimento público: Sistemas Urbanos e Serviços, Saúde e Bem-estar, Governo Aberto e Acessibilidade, Cidades Sustentáveis, Turismo e Mobilidade.

A delegação da cidade de Barcelona, que contará com a vice-prefeita, Sònia Recasens, e o diretor geral de Economia, Finanças e Emprego, Jordi Joly, apresentarão as oportunidades de parcerias do programa Mobile World Capital e iniciativas locais inovadoras de transparência, confiança e interação com a comunidade empresarial.

No dia 4 de maio, os participantes do evento poderão conhecer alguns dos projetos inovadores do Rio de Janeiro, como o CDI (Change through Digital Inclusion), um programa nas favelas do Rio de Janeiro, que foi também adotado em 717 comunidades de 14 países.

Sobre o Living Labs Global

O Living Labs Global é uma organização sem fins lucrativos com sede em Barcelona e Copenhague, que promove o uso inteligente das novas tecnologias e serviços que possam melhorar a qualidade de vida de municípios de qualquer continente. O Living Labs Global Award é o concurso mundial de soluções tecnológicas para cidades inteligentes que organiza pelo terceiro ano consecutivo, e no qual participam empresas, organizações sociais e indivíduos que desenvolvam aplicativos, softwares ou empreendimentos inovadores que possam ajudar os municípios. Cada uma das 21 cidades parceiras da edição 2012 do concurso escolheu um desafio estratégico a ser atendido em seu município, por exemplo, Habitação Acessível na cidade de Lagos, Prevenção da Obesidade na cidade de Eindhoven, Informação Digital no Transporte e Mobilidade na Cidade do México, Acesso à Sociedade da Informação no Rio de Janeiro, Governo Inclusivo em Sant Cugat ou Gestão Eletrônica Inteligente de Resíduos Orgânicos em Birmingham. Entre Fevereiro e Abril, cada cidade selecionou um grupo de projetos finalistas, dentre 555 soluções inscritas de 50 países. As propostas vencedoras serão transformadas em projetos pilotos a serem testadas e melhoradas nas 21 cidades.

Vendedores anteriores

Algumas das propostas vencedoras do concurso mundial “Living Labs Global Award” em anos anteriores incluíram uma solução de estacionamento inteligente em Estocolmo, uma plataforma de dados abertos de participação dos cidadãos em São Francisco e sensores para a monitoração da capacidade dos contentores de resíduos recicláveis da cidade de Barcelona.

A Conferência do Rio sobre Serviços Inovadores para Cidades tem a parceria das 21 cidades do Prêmio Living Labs Global 2012: Barcelona, Birmingham, Cidade do Cabo, Cidade do México, Coventry, Derry~Londonderry, Eindhoven, Fukuoka, Glasgow, Guadalajara, Hamburgo, Kristiansand, Lagos, Lavasa, Rio de Janeiro, Região Roma-Lazio, São Francisco, Sant Cugat, Santiago do Chile e Terrassa.

A inscrição nos dois dias do evento poderá ser feita no site do Living Labs Global: http://llga.org/summit2012_registration.php.

Para mais informações, visite www.llga.org, siga-nos no Twitter (twitter.com/livinglabsaward) e no facebook (www.facebook.com/llga2012)

Email: m.carvalho@livinglabs-global.com

Tel.: 0034 93 1855110 (Barcelona)

www.livinglabs-global.com / www.llga.org

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

LLGA Shortlist – Coming March 5th

The submission deadline for the Living Labs Global Award 2012 has come and gone, and showcase evaluations are heating up. Solutions to a host of city challenges have been submitted and are being reviewed for this year’s round of awards. 717 innovative ideas were submitted for consideration this year, from ways to harness kinetic energy from sports facilities to ideas for collecting real-time data on public transit systems. 21 cities in 14 countries are taking part in this year’s awards selection. A jury panel of local and international experts from each city will review the submissions and select those that best address their city’s challenge for innovative technological solutions. The awards are designed to benefit both the partner cities and the solution providers; cities have the opportunity to learn more about cutting-edge ideas that can help them solve their most pressing problems, and winning solution providers get to test their prototypes or pilot projects in a real-world market before launching a full-scale campaign.

This year’s partner cities have put forth a diverse group of challenges. Lavasa, India is seeking proposals that will help encourage residents and visitors to use public transit and non-motorized transportation for the majority of their trips in the city. Barcelona, Spain wants ideas on how to better integrate tourists and visitors into city life and culture during their stay. And hundreds of companies, NGOs, and research institutes have responded to the challenges put forward this year.

The LLGA shortlist for each city challenge will be presented in two weeks on March 5th. Projects chosen from the nominees' shortlist will be announced this May at the Rio Summit on Service Innovation in Cities. Until then, you can check out the diverse selection of submitted showcases on CityMart.

 ~ Allison Bullock

A smart low-cost housing ecosystem for the city of Lagos - submit your solution

Lagos (Nigeria) is seeking to develop communities by creating a service-based, low-cost housing ecosystem based on innovative design, technology and services to fill the housing gap of 5m units. The capital city of Nigeria is inviting companies worldwide to submit their solutions before 17th February to the Living Labs Global Award 2012.

Submissions to the Award are free of charge and the winner of the Lagos category will be invited to pilot the solution in the city, with full support from local stakeholders to evaluate the solution before a full-scale roll-out.

Last year, by winning the Living Labs Global Award, company Urbiotica managed to see a pilot implementation of its Smart Waste Sensors in Barcelona after winning the Living Labs Global Award 2010.

This year, Lagos - the most populated city in Africa and one of the world’s 10 largest megacities - has joined the 2012 edition of the Living Labs Global Award seeking mass smart and low-cost housing units to tackle some of the most strategic and imperative issues of this sector (more information here).

How to submit:

Entries can be submitted online on www.llga.org until 17th February.

International juries will evaluate the entries and provide a shortlist of the top 100 showcases on 5th March. Winners will be announced on 2nd May 2012 at the Award Ceremony during the networking Rio Summit on Service Innovation in Cities, for which all participants are invited.

About the Living Labs Global Award 2012:

Living Labs Global, a non-profit association promoting innovative solutions in cities around the world, is organising the 2012 edition of the Living Labs Global Award in cooperation with the cities of Barcelona, Birmingham, Caceres, Cape Town, Coventry, Derry~Londonderry, Eindhoven, Fukuoka, Glasgow, Guadalajara, Hamburg, Lagos, Lavasa, Kristiansand, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Rome-Lazio, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Santiago de Chile and Terrassa.

Together with these 21 cities, the Living Labs Global Award 2012 aims to provide a market opportunity to innovative solutions with the aim of helping over 110 million citizens in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe.

For more information:

Email: media@livinglabs-global.com

Tel.: +34 93 1855110

www.llga.org Twitter: @LivingLabsAward Facebook: www.facebook.com/llga2012

Propose your intelligent on-road parking solutions to improve sustainability in Santiago de Chile

Santiago de Chile seeks new solutions to make its on-road parking more intelligent, unlocking environmental, traffic, security and user experience benefits and is inviting companies worldwide to submit their solutions before 17th February to the Living Labs Global Award 2012.

Submissions to the Award are free of charge and the winner of the Santiago de Chile category will be invited to pilot the solution in the city, with full support from local stakeholders to evaluate the solution before a full-scale roll-out.

Last year, by winning the Living Labs Global Award, company Urbiotica managed to see a pilot implementation of its Smart Waste Sensors in Barcelona after winning the Living Labs Global Award 2010.

The city of Santiago the Chlie has joined the 2012 edition of the award aiming at solutions that may use different technologies such as the TAG system to optimize the on-road parking system to improve the urban mobility of the metropolitan region. By improving on-road parking, it is hoped that beneficial impacts like the reduction of emissions and particle contamination; improved traffic flow with shorter search-times for parking, increased capacity, access control to restricted urban areas, improved security and real-time information can be achieved. (more information here).

How to submit:

Entries can be submitted online on www.llga.org until 17th February.

International juries will evaluate the entries and provide a shortlist of the top 100 showcases on 5th March. Winners will be announced on 2nd May 2012 at the Award Ceremony during the networking Rio Summit on Service Innovation in Cities, for which all participants are invited.

About the Living Labs Global Award 2012:

Living Labs Global, a non-profit association promoting innovative solutions in cities around the world, is organising the 2012 edition of the Living Labs Global Award in cooperation with the cities of Barcelona, Birmingham, Caceres, Cape Town, Coventry, Derry~Londonderry, Eindhoven, Fukuoka, Glasgow, Guadalajara, Hamburg, Lagos, Lavasa, Kristiansand, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Rome-Lazio, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Santiago de Chile and Terrassa.

Together with these 21 cities, the Living Labs Global Award 2012 aims to provide a market opportunity to innovative solutions with the aim of helping over 110 million citizens in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe.

For more information:

Email: media@livinglabs-global.com

Tel.: +34 93 1855110

www.llga.org Twitter: @LivingLabsAward Facebook: www.facebook.com/llga2012

Have a real-time information product for mobile devices? Fukuoka is willing to try it in their city!

The japanese city of Fukuoka is seeking products/solutions to deliver real-time bus, destination and tourist information to visitors in an easily accessible way on smartphones, screens and mobile devices. The city invites companies worldwide to submit their solutions before 17th February to the Living Labs Global Award 2012.

Submissions to the Award are free of charge and the winner of the Fukuoka category will be invited to pilot the solution in the city, with full support from local stakeholders to evaluate the solution before a full-scale roll-out.

In last year's edition, Worldsensing for example managed to see a pilot implementation of its FastPrk Technology to monitor parking within 6 months of winning the Living Labs Global Award.

For the 2012 edition, with the aim of improving mobility in Fukuoka, we are seeking a solution that provides bus and city information to non-daily users using a mobile platform: Mobile Bus Information System, or MBIS for short. The MBIS should include information on current city traffic conditions, bus schedules, bus transfers, the time needed to reach any destination, tourist information, city information, and so on (more information here).

How to submit:

Entries can be submitted online on www.llga.org until 17th February.

International juries will evaluate the entries and provide a shortlist of the top 100 showcases on 5th March. Winners will be announced on 2nd May 2012 at the Award Ceremony during the networking Rio Summit on Service Innovation in Cities, for which all participants are invited.

About the Living Labs Global Award 2012:

Living Labs Global, a non-profit association promoting innovative solutions in cities around the world, is organising the 2012 edition of the Living Labs Global Award in cooperation with the cities of Barcelona, Birmingham, Caceres, Cape Town, Coventry, Derry~Londonderry, Eindhoven, Fukuoka, Glasgow, Guadalajara, Hamburg, Lagos, Lavasa, Kristiansand, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Rome-Lazio, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Santiago de Chile and Terrassa.

Together with these 21 cities, the Living Labs Global Award 2012 aims to provide a market opportunity to innovative solutions with the aim of helping over 110 million citizens in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe.

For more information:

Email: media@livinglabs-global.com

Tel.: +34 93 1855110

www.llga.org Twitter: @LivingLabsAward Facebook: www.facebook.com/llga2012

Venture your sports Kinetic energy solution in the city of Cáceres

To meet its sustainability agenda, the city of Cáceres (Spain) is seeking products and solutions to capture the movement generated at municipal sports facilities to generate renewable energy. The city invites companies worldwide to submit their solutions before 17th February to the  Living Labs Global Award 2012. Cáceres wishes to convert the energy created by citizens in sports facilities

Cáceres aims at having the kinetic energy set free by exercise converted into electricity through a device embedded in sports facilities or gym equipment such as the running surface. The city seeks to collect sufficient energy in accumulators that can be used to supplement existing lighting or other systems, or feed back into the grid. Further, devices may be able to measure the energy savings that will be produced and feed such data to a central management system that may also provide custom energy reports to athletes and citizens (more information here).

Submissions to the Award are free of charge and the winner of the Cáceres category will be invited to pilot the solution in the city, with full support from local stakeholders to evaluate the solution before a full-scale roll-out.

Last year’s winners of the Living Labs Global Award include, for example, Bitcarrier, a company that managed to  a pilot implementation of its CitySolver Technology to monitor traffic within 3 months of winning the Living Labs Global Award, and a public procurement within just 6 months.

How to submit:

Entries can be submitted online on www.llga.org until 17th February.

International juries will evaluate the entries and provide a shortlist of the top 100 showcases on 5th March. Winners will be announced on 2nd May 2012 at the Award Ceremony during the networking Rio Summit on Service Innovation in Cities, for which all participants are invited.

About the Living Labs Global Award 2012:

Living Labs Global, a non-profit association promoting innovative solutions in cities around the world, is organising the 2012 edition of the Living Labs Global Award in cooperation with the cities of Barcelona, Birmingham, Caceres, Cape Town, Coventry, Derry~Londonderry, Eindhoven, Fukuoka, Glasgow, Guadalajara, Hamburg, Lagos, Lavasa, Kristiansand, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Rome-Lazio, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Santiago de Chile and Terrassa.

Together with these 21 cities, the Living Labs Global Award 2012 aims to provide a market opportunity to innovative solutions with the aim of helping over 110 million citizens in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe.

For more information, please contact:

Miguel Carvalho

media@livinglabs-global.com 

Tel.: +34 93 1855110

www.llga.org Twitter: @LivingLabsAward Facebook: www.facebook.com/llga2012

Keeping Road Surfaces in top condition - Guadalajara wants your solutions!

Guadalajara (Mexico) is investing to secure the sustainability and longevity of its road surfaces and invites companies worldwide to submit their solutions before 17th February to the Living Labs Global Award 2012.

Submissions are free of charge and the winner of the Guadalajara category will be invited to pilot its solutions in this city with full support from local stakeholders to evaluate the solution before a full-scale roll-out.

In last year’s edition, Urbiotica, for example managed to see a pilot implementation of its Smart Waste Sensors in Barcelona after winning the Living Labs Global Award 2010.

Guadalajara is seeking new solutions to improve management and financing of materials and labor to keep the streets and avenues of the city in best possible conditions for the circulation of over 1.5 million private, public and commercial vehicles. The city also aims to create a collaborative environment between suppliers, citizens and government to make the pavement challenge part of the culture of the city as well as of the day-to-day lives of its citizens (more information here).

How to submit:

Entries can be submitted online until 17th February.

International juries will evaluate the entries and provide a shortlist of the top 100 showcases on 5th March. Winners will be announced on 2nd May 2012 at the Award Ceremony during the networking Rio Summit on Service Innovation in Cities, for which all participants are invited.

 

About the Living Labs Global Award 2012:

Living Labs Global, a non-profit association promoting innovative solutions in cities around the world, is organising the 2012 edition of the Living Labs Global Award in cooperation with the cities of Barcelona, Birmingham, Caceres, Cape Town, Coventry, Derry~Londonderry, Eindhoven, Fukuoka, Glasgow, Guadalajara, Hamburg, Lagos, Lavasa, Kristiansand, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Rome-Lazio, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Santiago de Chile and Terrassa.

Together with these 21 cities, the Living Labs Global Award 2012 aims to provide a market opportunity to innovative solutions with the aim of helping over 110 million citizens in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe.

 

For more information please contact Living Labs Global office in Spain:

Email: media@livinglabs-global.com / Tel.: 0034 93 1855110

www.llga.org Twitter: @LivingLabsAward Facebook: www.facebook.com/llga2012

Do you have a Solution for the Maintenance of Urban Surfaces? Coventry wants to try it!

The city of Coventry (UK) is investing to secure the sustainability and longevity of its urban surfaces in key areas of the city and invites companies worldwide to submit their solutions before 17th February to the Living Labs Global Award 2012.

Submissions are free of charge and the winner of the Coventry category will be invited to pilot its solution in this city with full support from local stakeholders to evaluate the solution before a full-scale roll-out.

In last year’s edition, Worldsensing for example managed to see a pilot implementation of its FastPrk Technology to monitor parking within 6 months of winning the Living Labs Global Award.

Coventry is looking for a sustainable, low maintenance and innovative approach to protecting, cleaning and maintaining two of the sites that are at the heart of the city’s recent public realm improvements.  The city wants to ensure a good quality environment is maintained for future generations (more information here).

 

How to submit:

Entries can be submitted online until 17th February 2012.

International juries will evaluate the entries and provide a shortlist of the top 100 showcases on 5th March. Winners will be announced on 2nd May 2012 at the Award Ceremony during the networking Rio Summit on Service Innovation in Cities, for which all participants are invited.

 

About the Living Labs Global Award 2012:

Living Labs Global, a non-profit association promoting innovative solutions in cities around the world, is organising the 2012 edition of the Living Labs Global Award in cooperation with the cities of Barcelona, Birmingham, Caceres, Cape Town, Coventry, Derry~Londonderry, Eindhoven, Fukuoka, Glasgow, Guadalajara, Hamburg, Lagos, Lavasa, Kristiansand, Mexico City, Rio de Janeiro, Rome-Lazio, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Santiago de Chile and Terrassa.

Together with these 21 cities, the Living Labs Global Award 2012 aims to provide a market opportunity to innovative solutions with the aim of helping over 110 million citizens in the Americas, Africa, Asia and Europe.

 

For more information please contact Living Labs Global office in Spain:

Email: media@livinglabs-global.com / Tel.: 0034 93 1855110

www.llga.org Twitter: @LivingLabsAward Facebook: www.facebook.com/llga2012

LLGA2011 Winner: Report on Worldsensing Smart Parking Pilot

5.12pm 12 May 2011 it has become official – Worldsensing has won the Stockholm Living Labs Global Award 2011 in the category of urban mobility. The winning prize was nothing less than a pilot trial of our cutting-edge smart parking solution in one of Barcelona’s largest satellite cities Sant Cugat.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uesLdfMr33E]

Usually very difficult to achieve, a city hall has actually committed to testing an innovative technology solution for easing the daily headache of finding a vacant parking space and thus easing the daily routine of their citizens.

Discussions with the city hall about their needs and our possibilities started a little less than a month after the prize announcement, i.e. at the speed of light considering the public administration’s usual understanding of time. Of surprise to us was the advanced state of the Smart City initiatives in San Cugat. It seems that the city hall has been making important steps towards a sustainable city by introducing a separate smart city department which essentially handles smart city technologies the same way as an IT department handles computer technologies.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGMm5PLePFw]

A specific street in Sant Cugat has since been assigned to us, where we are about to install our smart parking product referred to as FastPrk. The tailor-made product targets the outdoors parking market, be it privately owned (such as shopping malls) or public (such as townhalls). It addresses the obvious headache for the citizens of Sant Cugat of losing a lot of time, money and health by finding a parking spot quickly. The product is composed of sensors, which are installed in each parking spot and which communicate wirelessly with an Internet-enabled gateway to inform about the absence/presence of a car. The information of available parking spots is made available to the citizen of Sant Cugat via a smart phone application and/or via panels along the street, something still to be discussed. The closed loop platform, i.e. sensors offering real-time information, addresses all headaches encountered at either end of the parking market. In addition, it facilitates the introduction of dynamic pricing; reservation of places; the coupling of the obtained data streams into a more general and powerful smart city operating system; among many other opportunities.

Installations commenced at the end of October 2011. We hope to significantly improve the lives of the citizens of Sant Cugat in their commutes downtown.

Living Labs Global is a fantastic team to deal with! They are clearly a market shaker in the emerging market of smart cities. Worldsensing has had the pleasure in applying for the Stockholm smart city finals through a fairly simple and straightforward procedure and, after a pitch in front of an eager audience, won the finals in the respective category. A lot of work, however, had clearly been done in the background by the Living Labs Global team – be it for the organization of the event(s), getting together qualified people, make them review the applications and ideas, etc, etc. A notable development is also the platform developed by Living Labs Global which allows city halls around the globe to consult on existing technologies and prior experience of fellow cities. Congratulations and good luck with the 2012 edition!

- Mischa Dohler, CTO Worldsensing

LLGA Winners Pilot: Barcelona can Visualize Traffic Flows in Real-Time

Bitcarrier’s CitySolver Showcase was announced Winner of the Barcelona Category at the Living Labs Global Award 2011 at the Award Ceremony in Stockholm, by Anna Majo, Director of the 22@ Barcelona Innovation District. Barcelona’s jury reviewed more than 75 solutions and in the end chose Bitcarrier as bearing the biggest impact on its challenge to automate urban services.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iv-2MXcq1_M]

CitySolver is a solution based on wireless network technology and takes advantage of the proliferation of mobile devices. It is composed of proprietary software (a management platform) and hardware (a sensor for urban environments). CitySolver’s visualization platform allows the clients to get real time traffic information on different routes defined. Information regarding travel times, average speeds, and traffic volume is delivered to users and managers directly; sensors can be installed on existing urban furniture and do not require street closures or other expensive roadwork.

Since the announcement, Bitcarrier worked with the Urban Lab team of 22@ Barcelona to plan the implementation of a pilot as part of a larger consortium to combine traditional and new forms of capturing urban mobility data. Winning the Living Labs Global Award was critical to gain visibility and build trust with Barcelona’s city officials, creating the reference that CitySolver is indeed a new, viable and efficient solution for managing and controlling urban traffic.

Already in August the first phase was completed and included 14 Bitcarrier URBAN sensors installed in the Eixample Area of Barcelona. The consistent and homogenised data is published in real-time to a website accessible to the pilot’s consortium partners and that can be used for new application development to serve traffic managers, fleet managers, and end-users .

New applications and services based on this real-time information can as a result include short-term journey-time predictions and an active traffic management system, drawing also pedestrian movements and estimations of inter-modal changes based on the electronic footprint of mobile devices.

The pilot partners studied and evaluated the radius of detection for each sensor and the quality of data obtained to optimise the location for the sensors in the next phase, which will include 36 additional sensors. This second phase will be launched towards the end of 2011.

The Living Labs Global Award 2012 is open for entries until February 17, 2012.

LLGA Winner's Smart Waste Sensors Pilot Beam Hourly Updates in Barcelona

In February 2010 Urbiotica’s Showcase ‘Intelligent Urban Waste Management’ was announced at the Living Labs Global Awards as winner of the opportunity to pilot in Barcelona, specifically in the 22@ Urban Lab area.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ql1kHhD0EiI]

Of course the Award was immediately providing a more direct way to access decision-makers within the municipality regarding innovation and procurement of urban services. So we quickly started conversations with all the stakeholders involved in the waste collection service –including the environmental department, the 22@ Urban Lab coordination and also Urbaser, the service company in charge of the waste collection for that area of the city.

Our goal was to use the pilot opportunity to prove that our technology provides an integral solution for significantly improving the waste collection process, both in terms of costs and quality of the service. Our wireless sensor networks –composed of active sensors, communication devices and middleware platforms to handle the data collected- provide real-time information of the fill level of each container so that collection routes can be optimized to save resources  and improve the overall service.

During 2010 we took care of agreements with the different stakeholders involved in the pilot regarding the best locations of the sensor and communication elements, the best installation procedures and the expected preliminary results of the project – for example, how to serve and treat the real-time data collected from the dumpsters. In the end 8 sensors where installed: 2 for plastic dumpsters, 2 for glass, 2 for paper, 1 for generic waste and 1 for organic waste.

Several communication elements were also installed in the corresponding street lamps. The result is that for the past 12 months, these 8 sensorized dumpsters are sending data about their fill level every 1 hour; the data is processed through our middleware and served as useful information directly to the municipality as well as the management system of Urbaser, the company providing the collection service.

The collaboration with the different stakeholders in the pilot has been constructive and fruitful. The results are positive and meet what we had expected initially: our system is now installed and running in a small area of Barcelona and we keep an active reporting with the municipality as well as the company in order to refine the whole process and extract valuable practices, which can be used to extend the solution to larger areas of the city and/or to other cities.

 

- Irene Compte, Urbiotica

The Living Labs Global Award 2012 is open for submissions. 22@ Barcelona is among 20 global cities calling for solutions to improve the lives of 100 Million citizens.

Motivated by Hope or Fear?

I heard a talk on a local National Public Radio affiliate this week dealing with the politics of fear. The guests on the radio show drew a distinction between being motivated by hope and motivated by fear, an idea I thought I’d explore here further. Living Labs Global Award city partners have made numerous requests for forward-thinking proposals. From México City’s digital public transport project, to Cape Town’s open government idea, to Santiago de Chile’s on-street parking improvements, these requests are fundamentally motivated by hope and a vision that the future can be improved.

The radio show also called to mind a series of blog posts published on the Copenhagenize site about “Fear of Cycling,” in which sociologist Dave Horton argues many of would-be cyclists fears, while real, are due to western culture’s tendency to inflate risks. Policymakers, planners, and even advocates, while well-intentioned, have been motivated by fear in their plans, programs, and policies. And the result has been less bicycling and more driving.

Taking a broader view, in today’s political climate, with the world’s economic woes at center stage, it is easy to be risk averse and to make decisions motivated by fear. However, these times are also an opportunity to take new risks, to fundamentally alter the way things are done, to inspire hope and innovative thinking. Tragedy presents opportunity. A forest decimated by fire welcomes new life. It’s been a useful exercise for me to note the distinction between fear and hope in my motivations; I think it’s time our institutions check theirs and remember that hope is the only outlook that beckons innovation.

-          Terra Curtis

Recent News on Gov – Public Communication

While Cape Town seeks communications tools to foster an innovative business environment, the Catalán city of Sant Cugat de Vallés takes a broader approach to citizen participation. In their view, it is not only businesses, but also public entities and individual citizens that create an ecosystem of creativity. It is this ecosystem that fosters innovation, not only in businesses, but also in the public sector. A story from New York City demonstrates that city officials in important cities are taking citizen participation seriously. Four city councilors there are using “participatory budgeting” to allow citizens to decide where to spend $1 million in each of their districts. New York City is relying on models used in other places, including in Africa, Asia, Canada, and Europe, as well as the US city of Chicago. Councilor Brad Lander cited one Chicago initiative where the neighbors walked every sidewalk in the district and ranked which ones were most in need of a repair – an analysis, he says, would never have been done as thoroughly left to the council or city staff. So, participatory budgeting is as much about being comprehensive as it is about fresh ideas. Transparency and voter confidence are additional benefits of involving the public in decision-making.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EhT3co2qNAA&w=440&h=253]

RedCut, a Switzerland-based gaming company, recently produced a white paper containing 17 global case studies of social media use in the government. Among these, several demonstrate methods for fostering an ecosystem of creativity and citizen participation. Private solutions such as SeeClickFix, Ushahidi, and ManorLabs are showcased alongside publicly-initiated projects in Vancouver, New York, and Minas Gerais. While not intended to be a comprehensive or ranked set of solutions, the white paper demonstrates both supply and demand for enhanced government-citizen communications.

Check out the showcases already coming in to see new ideas on this subject, or submit one of your own here!

-          Terra Curtis

Cities and Innovative Business: Starting the Conversation

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ew_XfxSDjeU&w=440&h=253] This award round, the city of Cape Town is looking for a way to improve connections between the business community and the city. They believe these connections will foster faster, more innovative solutions to challenges there.

In the United States, the House of Representatives recently passed the Entrepreneur Access to Capital Act (EACA), which now moves on to the Senate for approval. The Act relieves restrictions placed on start-ups seeking investor funding. Legislation dating back to the 1930s Depression era had limited the ability of for-profit entrepreneurs to “crowd fund” in order to limit fraud (i.e. a con artist poses as an innovator, receives crowd funding, then disappears). Supporters believe in today’s world, with limitations on single donation amounts, funders will be connected to business owners and a level of trust will exist to protect against fraud. If passed, the law will allow innovators to raise up to $2 million through small donations of up to $10,000 each.

Through deregulation, the bill encourages innovation through small business. Cape Town’s idea, which would produce a platform of communication between city officials and entrepreneurs-to-be, could enhance the effectiveness of EACA. With unemployment remaining high in the US, such a platform could enable the city both to increase employment opportunities and target specific areas of the city or populations in need. Simply informing the community about planned public investments and economic development opportunities could spur the unemployed to start their own business, or expand an existing business to increase jobs.

There are clear benefits to the enhancement of public-private partnership tools. The EACA in the US is a statement of confidence in small businesses. Cape Town’s request is recognition of the potential for small business to innovate. Together, private enterprises bloom, jobs increase, and local challenges are met. Public-private partnerships, specifically local start-up partnerships with cities, are a win-win.

-          ­Terra Curtis