New Business Models

10 Steps: Taking an Innovation for a City from Idea to Deployment

After a first round of consultation of experts and city professionals, Agile Cities is launching the first draft of its 10 stage process to take innovative ideas to full implementation in cities.

You can comment on the 10 Steps and the Draft text here.

One of the objectives of the Agile Cities initiative is to provide more reliable communication in the marketplace around innovative solutions that can transform communities.

A key element of this is to begin to establish a process to track the stages which a typical innovation passes through from Idea to Deployment. After an initial consultation process, we have edited a 10 Step Process which is now open for comment in an iterated editorial process.

You can add ideas by going directly to the open text document here or by commenting on this post.

THIS POST WAS ORIGINALLY POSTED ON AGILECITIES.ORG

Cape Town Announces Hybrid Venture Capital Fund with Living Labs Global Award Winner PoweredbyVC

Cape Town today publicly announced its partnership with PoweredbyVC, a venture fund manager and winner of the Living Labs Global Award 2011 to create a hybrid venture capital fund to support social entrepreneurship in the city and all of Africa. The City is to assist a venture capital fund manager, PoweredbyVC, to implement its programme that was selected winner of the Living Labs Global Award 2011. 11 global cities, including Cape Town, called for innovative strategies to address major socio-economic issues through this global process in which PoweredbyVC was selected as one of 11 winners from 245 entries from around the globe.

“Our City’s economic growth model supports high-growth entrepreneurs who can benefit from venture capital. These are the employers of tomorrow. They provide real business solutions and ensure healthy returns to investors. With its billion people, Africa is the world newest untapped market and Cape Town is the knowledge and innovation gateway to the continent,” says Alderman Belinda Walker, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic, Environmental and Spatial Planning as she handed over the Living Labs Global Award 2011 to PoweredbyVC.

According to Eben van Heerden, CEO of PoweredbyVC, their concept is a new ‘hybrid’ venture capital funding model that combines the proven best practices of a traditional venture capital fund with a new 'business cultivator' funding system for a sustainable impact on innovation, job creation and growth. This second generation venture capital fund will combine funding, business angel investment, incubation and entrepreneurship development initiatives into a structured ecosystem to the benefit of emerging entrepreneurs and providers of funding alike.

 

Cape Town Announces Hybrid Venture Capital Fund with Living Labs Global Award Winner PoweredbyVC

Cape Town today publicly announced its partnership with PoweredbyVC, a venture fund manager and winner of the Living Labs Global Award 2011 to create a hybrid venture capital fund to support social entrepreneurship in the city and all of Africa. The City is to assist a venture capital fund manager, PoweredbyVC, to implement its programme that was selected winner of the Living Labs Global Award 2011. 11 global cities, including Cape Town, called for innovative strategies to address major socio-economic issues through this global process in which PoweredbyVC was selected as one of 11 winners from 245 entries from around the globe.

“Our City’s economic growth model supports high-growth entrepreneurs who can benefit from venture capital. These are the employers of tomorrow. They provide real business solutions and ensure healthy returns to investors. With its billion people, Africa is the world newest untapped market and Cape Town is the knowledge and innovation gateway to the continent,” says Alderman Belinda Walker, Mayoral Committee Member for Economic, Environmental and Spatial Planning as she handed over the Living Labs Global Award 2011 to PoweredbyVC.

According to Eben van Heerden, CEO of PoweredbyVC, their concept is a new ‘hybrid’ venture capital funding model that combines the proven best practices of a traditional venture capital fund with a new 'business cultivator' funding system for a sustainable impact on innovation, job creation and growth. This second generation venture capital fund will combine funding, business angel investment, incubation and entrepreneurship development initiatives into a structured ecosystem to the benefit of emerging entrepreneurs and providers of funding alike.

 

Our new book is online: Navigate Change - How new approaches to public procurement will create new markets

We have now made the electronic version of our new guidebook for SMEs on new approaches to public procurement available for viewing and download. Printed copies are available in limited number, and the guidebook should soon be available in other languages. This book was published by ACC1Ó, the Catalan Competitiveness Agency as part of the European EuroPROC consortium. Base Design has done a beatuful job in illustrating the complex themes and ideas. The book contains interviews with leading decision makers from policy, business and research on the realities and opportunities in changing procurement practices. Further, it contains 18 case studies covering smaller companies experience in exporting under new procurement regimes to global markets.

Navigate Change: How new approaches to public procurement will create new marketshttp://www.scribd.com/embeds/56449250/content?start_page=1&view_mode=list&access_key=key-2btqrcebrt0lvw9xi3np(function() { var scribd = document.createElement("script"); scribd.type = "text/javascript"; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = "http://www.scribd.com/javascripts/embed_code/inject.js"; var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();

Our new book is online: Navigate Change - How new approaches to public procurement will create new markets

We have now made the electronic version of our new guidebook for SMEs on new approaches to public procurement available for viewing and download. Printed copies are available in limited number, and the guidebook should soon be available in other languages. This book was published by ACC1Ó, the Catalan Competitiveness Agency as part of the European EuroPROC consortium. Base Design has done a beatuful job in illustrating the complex themes and ideas. The book contains interviews with leading decision makers from policy, business and research on the realities and opportunities in changing procurement practices. Further, it contains 18 case studies covering smaller companies experience in exporting under new procurement regimes to global markets.

Navigate Change: How new approaches to public procurement will create new marketshttp://www.scribd.com/embeds/56449250/content?start_page=1&view_mode=list&access_key=key-2btqrcebrt0lvw9xi3np(function() { var scribd = document.createElement("script"); scribd.type = "text/javascript"; scribd.async = true; scribd.src = "http://www.scribd.com/javascripts/embed_code/inject.js"; var s = document.getElementsByTagName("script")[0]; s.parentNode.insertBefore(scribd, s); })();

Eight Cities Announce Winners to Solve Major Urban Challenges at LLGA2011

The cities of Barcelona, Cape Town, Eindhoven, Lagos, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Stockholm and Taipei announce the winners of the Living Labs Global Award 2011.

The Award presented the major challenges faced by these cities in the coming years, to which 245 companies from 30 countries responded by presenting their solutions. With rapidly growing populations, budget pressures due to the financial crisis and increasing international competition for investment, talent and tourists cities are looking for innovative approaches to remain competitive. Cities represent a major, yet complex market, spending an annual EUR 3.5 trillion in public procurement alone

The cities of Barcelona, Cape Town, Eindhoven, Lagos, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Stockholm and Taipei have announced eight winning solutions that were selected by 45 international users out of 245 submissions from 30 countries. Winning solutions will now be piloted in the participating cities, to evaluate their impact to meet the challenges.

In a unique global effort, eight cities joined forces with Living Labs Global to present their pressing challenges to the global business and technology community.

Challenges put forward by cities include the need to provide more efficient and sustainable urban services such as lighting using latest LED technologies; to rethink city services in the light of open data and apps developed by interest groups; to overcome media piracy undermining native film industries through digital distribution systems; or the need to provide financing and support to social entrepreneurs in African cities. The winning solutions are:

City of Barcelona: Citysolver, by Bitcarrier

City of Cape Town:  Venture Capital Cultivator Fund, by PoweredbyVC

City of Eindhoven: Integral Solution for Urban Infrastructures (SIIUR), by bdigital

City of Lagos: Eggup | Sell your films while preventing piracy, by Eggup.com

City of San Francisco: Open Data as a Platform for Citizen Service Delivery, by Socrata Inc.

City of Sant Cugat: Smart Parking for Smart Urban Living, by Worldsensing

City of Stockholm: Spotscout, by Spotscout Inc.

City of Taipei: A+ Care: Smart Autonomous TeleHealth Care Service, by Netown

Winners were announced after an international two-round jury process under auspices of Living Labs Global, a non-profit association based in Copenhagen working with 40 cities and 450 companies around the world to promote service innovation in cities.

The Award Ceremony was attended by 200 participants from 20 countries in Stockholm as part of the Stockholm Summit for Service Innovation in Cities.

The Living Labs Global Award 2011 is a unique global process providing full accountability in the evaluation through independent experts. The Award was carried out in partnership with Oracle Corporation, Farglory and supporting organisations from around the world.

About the Living Labs Global Award

Living Labs Global is a non-profit association based in Copenhagen (Denmark), working with 40 cities and 450 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.

Follow results and the upcoming Living Labs Global Award 2012 on Twitter. 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 systems, access to finance, media distribution, social services and other key areas of urban life.

Eight Cities Announce Winners to Solve Major Urban Challenges at LLGA2011

The cities of Barcelona, Cape Town, Eindhoven, Lagos, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Stockholm and Taipei announce the winners of the Living Labs Global Award 2011.

The Award presented the major challenges faced by these cities in the coming years, to which 245 companies from 30 countries responded by presenting their solutions. With rapidly growing populations, budget pressures due to the financial crisis and increasing international competition for investment, talent and tourists cities are looking for innovative approaches to remain competitive. Cities represent a major, yet complex market, spending an annual EUR 3.5 trillion in public procurement alone

The cities of Barcelona, Cape Town, Eindhoven, Lagos, San Francisco, Sant Cugat, Stockholm and Taipei have announced eight winning solutions that were selected by 45 international users out of 245 submissions from 30 countries. Winning solutions will now be piloted in the participating cities, to evaluate their impact to meet the challenges.

In a unique global effort, eight cities joined forces with Living Labs Global to present their pressing challenges to the global business and technology community.

Challenges put forward by cities include the need to provide more efficient and sustainable urban services such as lighting using latest LED technologies; to rethink city services in the light of open data and apps developed by interest groups; to overcome media piracy undermining native film industries through digital distribution systems; or the need to provide financing and support to social entrepreneurs in African cities. The winning solutions are:

City of Barcelona: Citysolver, by Bitcarrier

City of Cape Town:  Venture Capital Cultivator Fund, by PoweredbyVC

City of Eindhoven: Integral Solution for Urban Infrastructures (SIIUR), by bdigital

City of Lagos: Eggup | Sell your films while preventing piracy, by Eggup.com

City of San Francisco: Open Data as a Platform for Citizen Service Delivery, by Socrata Inc.

City of Sant Cugat: Smart Parking for Smart Urban Living, by Worldsensing

City of Stockholm: Spotscout, by Spotscout Inc.

City of Taipei: A+ Care: Smart Autonomous TeleHealth Care Service, by Netown

Winners were announced after an international two-round jury process under auspices of Living Labs Global, a non-profit association based in Copenhagen working with 40 cities and 450 companies around the world to promote service innovation in cities.

The Award Ceremony was attended by 200 participants from 20 countries in Stockholm as part of the Stockholm Summit for Service Innovation in Cities.

The Living Labs Global Award 2011 is a unique global process providing full accountability in the evaluation through independent experts. The Award was carried out in partnership with Oracle Corporation, Farglory and supporting organisations from around the world.

About the Living Labs Global Award

Living Labs Global is a non-profit association based in Copenhagen (Denmark), working with 40 cities and 450 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.

Follow results and the upcoming Living Labs Global Award 2012 on Twitter. 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 systems, access to finance, media distribution, social services and other key areas of urban life.

Sneak-Preview: Our Book on Innovation in Public Procurement

Since our call for contributions in February we have received a great response and have now completed the new guidebook for small- and medium-sized businesses on the new markets emerging around social, green, innovative and electronic public procurement together with ACC10, the Catalan Competitiveness Agency and the euroPROC consortium. Social Considerations, Green Public Procurement, SRPP, GPP, Innovative Procurement, Innovation for Procurement, Electronic Procurement, Socially Responsible, Living Labs Global, EuroPROC, ACC10, Interreg IVC, EU, Guidebook

The English edition of the guidebook is to be launched at a conference in Barcelona in June 2011, but participants of our Summit on Service Innovation in Cities on May 12 2011 will receive advance copies hot of the press. It is expected to be translated into 10 languages over the coming months.

With over 25 contributors such as leading policy makers in the UK Government's sustainable and open data programmes; Business leaders such as Oracle's Global Senior VP for Public Sector, Education and Health; and 16 case studies of small businesses using innovative, green or socially responsible procurement measuress to open new markets.

We worked closely with Base Design to deliver a stunning visual approach to the complex themes that should inspire business leaders to enter a market valued at 16% of world GDP.

Stay tuned for more.

Lagos: Will Service Innovation Secure the Future of Nollywood?

As part of our series of articles published in partnership with the Living Labs Global Award, Cluster.eu has just posted its very interesting Q&A on how to protect Nollywood's growth from video piracy, with Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat, Commissioner for Science and Technology of the State of Lagos, and Sunil Abraham, executive director of the Centre for Internet for Society of Banglaore. Living Labs Global Award Lagos 2011 Nollywood Piracy DVD Media Streaming

Read the Article on Cluster.eu

Lagos: Will Service Innovation Secure the Future of Nollywood?

As part of our series of articles published in partnership with the Living Labs Global Award, Cluster.eu has just posted its very interesting Q&A on how to protect Nollywood's growth from video piracy, with Dr. Kadri Obafemi Hamzat, Commissioner for Science and Technology of the State of Lagos, and Sunil Abraham, executive director of the Centre for Internet for Society of Banglaore. Living Labs Global Award Lagos 2011 Nollywood Piracy DVD Media Streaming

Read the Article on Cluster.eu

MicroPlace, Micro-loans in South Africa

Returning to the subject of micro-finance, the theme of the Cape Town category in the 2011 Living Labs Global Award, I’d like to mention another organization that is already facilitating micro-loans through their website platform. MicroPlace.org is a broker owned by Ebay and specializes in micro-loans to organizations. As opposed to Kiva, which offers the opportunity to lend directly to individual borrowers, MicroPlace connects lenders with larger groups, which can vary from a collection of entrepeneurs and low-income workers, to community development organizations and geographic-specific lending organizations. Most of the lending opportunities listed at MicroPlace explain that the lender will actually be investing in a security issued by another organization (usually a non-profit specializing in micro-finance, like the Calvert Institution) and that “your investment may be used to backfill funds that have already been disbursed to this project.” The interest and principal, then, is eventually paid back to the lender by the particular non-profit.

The minimum investment at MicroPlace is $20, though the website platform allows you to enter an amount of your choosing. Like Kiva, MicroPlace also offers pictures of the locals in need of funds and involved in the project, and a brief description of the difficulties facing the particular region and the details of the project at hand, so the lender has a sense of where their investment is going.

MicroPlace is mentioned as a good “group” investing option in this article on micro-finance and the credit crunch from The Wall Street Journal. Ashwini Narayanan, MicroPlace’s general manager, is quoted as saying the average loan per user is $1,700, but that some lenders have given as much as $250,000, and can earn between 1% and 3% on their investment per year.

Also, as a parting note, Grameen Bank founder and Nobel Peace Prize winner, Muhammad Yunus--often referred to as the “father of microfinance”--is now facing charges of defamation in his home country of Bangladesh for remarks he made to a journalist in 2007. Nobody really expects the charges to stick, but the investigation points to a larger issue, what some people are calling a “personal grudge” being pursued by the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, Sheikh Hasina, who’s been on rocky terms with Yunus ever since his brief foray into politics after winning the Nobel prize. Tom Cropper writing in the Guardian has a good wrap up of the situation here, claiming that the personal attacks, “could prove highly damaging not only for Yunus, but also the concept of business as a force for social good, particularly relating to microfinance.” Cropper goes so far as to say that “The future of the entire sector hangs very much in the balance,” pointing to an increased incidence of farmer suicides in India, politicians urging borrowers to default on repayments, and the

My war on regional digitized road and transport data in Stockholm

During the years 2006 – 2009 when working in the regional public transport I found an lucky opportunity to fill one of my companies most frustrating data black holes with ones and zeros. But you can’t win them all! Listen to my story. You are one year old when you learn to walk, you are five or six when you learn to ride a bike and at least 16 when learning to drive. All of us have as a primary means of traveling - walking (and here I include all in wheelchairs) and even motorists are occasionally forced to leave their car - at least to be able to refuel the car.

Although, since the modern era began, cities has focused on the car's traction, and to be frank , we have built cities such as displacing pedestrians as second-class citizens. When Sweden a few years ago legislated that motorists have an obligation to give way to pedestrians intending to cross the street - then motorists raged and state that this is a traffic hazard!

In wintertime all municipalities in Sweden are carefully plowing the roads. Although, in many of these municipalities leaders has decided that the property owners shall be responsible for clearing snow from sidewalks. How many property owners do you think it is along a normal Swedish roadside - and how likely do you make it a pedestrian is offered a safe and pleasant journey? And bike lanes often proves to be a perfect place for the snow brigade to put aside the snow.

In Sweden, the public exercise of power is highly decentralized and we have a very comprehensive municipal planning monopoly. But there is also very important to have a coherent national road infrastructure. Sweden therefore decided very early that it was important to establish a national database of road network. Yes, that is, the motorist road network, administrated by the National Swedish Road Administration. First on the runway by filling it with content was in fact the forest industry. They used this excellent almost free of charge resource to post their temporary forest roads so that their forest machines and trucks could find their way to all the remote and well hidden places where harvesting is currently underway. See there - an excellent commercial application of one of the society offered national data infrastructures!

In this decentralized Sweden, the municipalities are also responsible for the local road network. Therefore, also the digitization of the local road network has been a local affair and the Swedish Road Administration has therefore never been able to force any municipality neither to gather the data, nor to deliver it anywhere. Of course, the local politicians has limited budgets and if he / she has to choose among local public opinions, the one that demands for digitized road networks has never been particularly vociferous. In fact, even after 14 years of operation, this database NVDB has not yet signed contracts with all Swedish municipalities.

In fact, when NVDB established in 1996, bike lanes were not even on the horizon. Today as the National Traffic Administration offers the possibility after many years of nagging (not the least from me) quite many municipalities have supplied data, but there is still no one offering municipalities an opportunity to store a digitized pedestrian lane database.

I used to work in SL, the Stockholm County Public Transportation Authority, and there I was responsible for the development of Internet and mobile services. Such a core service is the travel planner. SL's network is an integrated intermodal network that spans 26 municipalities and, yes, you already understand the problem. All the county has actually delivered the digitized road network and that means that all players, especially yellow pages business and Garmin and TomTom etc have been able to develop great services. But in public transport you are totally dependent on that the footpaths are digitized - for all public transport passengers must get to and from stations and bus stops. For SL, the lack of an across municipal boundaries associated digitized pedestrian network the travel planner becoming increasingly a problem as customers always expect better and more advanced services.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sw78Pwtg38w&w=425&h=350]

A few years ago when Stockholm won the opportunity to host the ITS World Congress, I saw an opportunity to change this. I put on the top of my (read SL) wish list a coherent and digitized route network for walking and biking. I quite easily in these collaborative surrounding of the National Swedish Road Administration, the National Swedish Rail Administration, The National Swedish Transport Administration, the City of Stockholm, the National Swedish Railway Company and many, many other stakeholders found friends of the mission, realizing the importance of this. Mobility services for people with impairments, police and rescue services must be found to the door even on local private pedestrian areas in closed yards, the postal service must even find doors in the z-axis, so this should be a easy piece, I thought. I built relations with ALL, and all agreed on the importance of access to such data - but no one was willing to either take responsibility or to share responsibility, this includes my former employer.

In despair I went to one of the largest commercial global players in GIS. They had a great interest - to map the inner city of Stockholm on the basis of the business traveler's perspective ... but could not see any profit to make in the mapping of walking paths in the Stockholm archipelago. No luck again.

Finally I found one guy with the same burning fire inside for the same thing as me, he ran the exact same question from one of the largest and leading infrastructure consultancy firms, actually he was the CEO of a large subsidiary specializing in GIS.

Today he is no longer there and still today you cannot find a coherent pedestrian and bicycle road network in this county.

This, ladies and gentlemen, this is my biggest carrier failure. And I indeed take it very personal.

- Åke Lindström, Market Director Kista Science City

My war on regional digitized road and transport data in Stockholm

During the years 2006 – 2009 when working in the regional public transport I found an lucky opportunity to fill one of my companies most frustrating data black holes with ones and zeros. But you can’t win them all! Listen to my story. You are one year old when you learn to walk, you are five or six when you learn to ride a bike and at least 16 when learning to drive. All of us have as a primary means of traveling - walking (and here I include all in wheelchairs) and even motorists are occasionally forced to leave their car - at least to be able to refuel the car.

Although, since the modern era began, cities has focused on the car's traction, and to be frank , we have built cities such as displacing pedestrians as second-class citizens. When Sweden a few years ago legislated that motorists have an obligation to give way to pedestrians intending to cross the street - then motorists raged and state that this is a traffic hazard!

In wintertime all municipalities in Sweden are carefully plowing the roads. Although, in many of these municipalities leaders has decided that the property owners shall be responsible for clearing snow from sidewalks. How many property owners do you think it is along a normal Swedish roadside - and how likely do you make it a pedestrian is offered a safe and pleasant journey? And bike lanes often proves to be a perfect place for the snow brigade to put aside the snow.

In Sweden, the public exercise of power is highly decentralized and we have a very comprehensive municipal planning monopoly. But there is also very important to have a coherent national road infrastructure. Sweden therefore decided very early that it was important to establish a national database of road network. Yes, that is, the motorist road network, administrated by the National Swedish Road Administration. First on the runway by filling it with content was in fact the forest industry. They used this excellent almost free of charge resource to post their temporary forest roads so that their forest machines and trucks could find their way to all the remote and well hidden places where harvesting is currently underway. See there - an excellent commercial application of one of the society offered national data infrastructures!

In this decentralized Sweden, the municipalities are also responsible for the local road network. Therefore, also the digitization of the local road network has been a local affair and the Swedish Road Administration has therefore never been able to force any municipality neither to gather the data, nor to deliver it anywhere. Of course, the local politicians has limited budgets and if he / she has to choose among local public opinions, the one that demands for digitized road networks has never been particularly vociferous. In fact, even after 14 years of operation, this database NVDB has not yet signed contracts with all Swedish municipalities.

In fact, when NVDB established in 1996, bike lanes were not even on the horizon. Today as the National Traffic Administration offers the possibility after many years of nagging (not the least from me) quite many municipalities have supplied data, but there is still no one offering municipalities an opportunity to store a digitized pedestrian lane database.

I used to work in SL, the Stockholm County Public Transportation Authority, and there I was responsible for the development of Internet and mobile services. Such a core service is the travel planner. SL's network is an integrated intermodal network that spans 26 municipalities and, yes, you already understand the problem. All the county has actually delivered the digitized road network and that means that all players, especially yellow pages business and Garmin and TomTom etc have been able to develop great services. But in public transport you are totally dependent on that the footpaths are digitized - for all public transport passengers must get to and from stations and bus stops. For SL, the lack of an across municipal boundaries associated digitized pedestrian network the travel planner becoming increasingly a problem as customers always expect better and more advanced services.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sw78Pwtg38w&w=425&h=350]

A few years ago when Stockholm won the opportunity to host the ITS World Congress, I saw an opportunity to change this. I put on the top of my (read SL) wish list a coherent and digitized route network for walking and biking. I quite easily in these collaborative surrounding of the National Swedish Road Administration, the National Swedish Rail Administration, The National Swedish Transport Administration, the City of Stockholm, the National Swedish Railway Company and many, many other stakeholders found friends of the mission, realizing the importance of this. Mobility services for people with impairments, police and rescue services must be found to the door even on local private pedestrian areas in closed yards, the postal service must even find doors in the z-axis, so this should be a easy piece, I thought. I built relations with ALL, and all agreed on the importance of access to such data - but no one was willing to either take responsibility or to share responsibility, this includes my former employer.

In despair I went to one of the largest commercial global players in GIS. They had a great interest - to map the inner city of Stockholm on the basis of the business traveler's perspective ... but could not see any profit to make in the mapping of walking paths in the Stockholm archipelago. No luck again.

Finally I found one guy with the same burning fire inside for the same thing as me, he ran the exact same question from one of the largest and leading infrastructure consultancy firms, actually he was the CEO of a large subsidiary specializing in GIS.

Today he is no longer there and still today you cannot find a coherent pedestrian and bicycle road network in this county.

This, ladies and gentlemen, this is my biggest carrier failure. And I indeed take it very personal.

- Åke Lindström, Market Director Kista Science City

The Vector Project Visioning Workshop.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XsDLzqWGrQk&w=425&h=350] At our Summit on Service Innovation last week in Copenhagen we ran 9 parallel Visioning Workshops, such as the one facilitated by Neil Clavin and Maya Wiseman on their Vector Project Showcase. The above video was edited by Viktorija Prak, a very talented student supporting Neil and Maya in the workshop, in which business leaders, strategists, researchers and cities invented new urban technologies to redefine the role of bikes in our cities.

Connecting cities: a Cluster.eu interview with Sascha Haselmayer

Cluster.eu, a great online and published magazine, gave me some challenging questions about our book "Connected Cities: Your 256 Billion Euro Dividend". Read it here - Connecting cities: an interview with Sascha Haselmayer.

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.

A Network Without Cell Towers?

In moments of crisis--natural disasters, floods, war---cell phones often fail us because the mobile phone infrastructure is inherently vulnerable to the disaster as well. This reality creates quite the conundrum for most those of us out there who view cell phones as an essential emergency tool. Australian researchers venture to solve this intrinsic weakness by introducing a system of cell phone networks that do not require cell phone towers. Rather, Serval, the towerless-mobile phone network, relies solely upon an independent (temporary) router system generated by wifi-enabled mobile phones. The key here is that any two phones that contain the Serval software can create a temporary network and allow voice transmissions without utilizing a mobile phone tower.

Paul Gardner-Stephen, a computer scientist at Flinders University who heads up the Serval project remarked that "It’s about bringing convenient and flexible telecommunications into situations where ordinarily it would be very difficult to do that.”

After having tested the software in a remote desert of Australia, the team is mostly thrilled with the development of the system. In the future they hope to expand the range of the Serval software so that calls can be made to phones outside of a 100 meter radius or so.

A Network Without Cell Towers?

In moments of crisis--natural disasters, floods, war---cell phones often fail us because the mobile phone infrastructure is inherently vulnerable to the disaster as well. This reality creates quite the conundrum for most those of us out there who view cell phones as an essential emergency tool. Australian researchers venture to solve this intrinsic weakness by introducing a system of cell phone networks that do not require cell phone towers. Rather, Serval, the towerless-mobile phone network, relies solely upon an independent (temporary) router system generated by wifi-enabled mobile phones. The key here is that any two phones that contain the Serval software can create a temporary network and allow voice transmissions without utilizing a mobile phone tower.

Paul Gardner-Stephen, a computer scientist at Flinders University who heads up the Serval project remarked that "It’s about bringing convenient and flexible telecommunications into situations where ordinarily it would be very difficult to do that.”

After having tested the software in a remote desert of Australia, the team is mostly thrilled with the development of the system. In the future they hope to expand the range of the Serval software so that calls can be made to phones outside of a 100 meter radius or so.

Learning a Language on the Web

A couple newspaper articles over the last six months have featured innovative online language learning websites and platforms. I thought I'd give you a round up of the seemingly best or most intriguing models out there. On the most basic end of services is , an online market for digital recordings. Individuals can post passages that they are interested in hearing spoken aloud and any interested respondent can post a recording of the passage read aloud.

A more formal language learning networking tool is MyLanguageExchange.com. There are other models for this service out there but this site seems to have gained the most traction, making it especially easy to connect with a diverse group of foreigners that speak the language that you would like to learn. The service is extremely straightforward---the site simply maintains a database of people who know certain languages but would like to learn others. The website claims that it has 1.5 million users that speak some 115 languages. Not too shabby.

Probably the most engaging website out there is livemocha.com, a website which facilitates language learning by connecting language learning buddies from around the world and then providing them with a platform to exchange messages, vide-chat and correct each other. A friend of mine has been using the platform to brush up on her russian---she took it for seven years in elementary school and secondary school but hasn't needed to speak it in years. Though her language learning buddy can be a bit hard on her at times, scowling or laughing when she makes a pretty big mistake, she's much preferred the online exercise to book learning or other interactive alternative like Rosetta Stone.

Though some of the services cost money for the gold-standard version of their platform, the price is arguably a bargain when compared to language classes taught in person or high-priced software packages.

I will continue to keep my eyes peeled for any new and innovative services that come my way.

I've found that language professors too are trying to incorporate these platforms into their curriculum.

The Case of Tourism and Roaming

In our Handbook on innovation in services and mobility in cities, we published comparative data on the cost and impact of digital vs paper tourist maps. One of our conclusions is that digital mobility costs 1,011x more than paper maps. The updated table below, reflecting the latest available data on global tourism in cities (2008), shows the scale of the burden roaming poses on cities. Table taken from "Connected Cities: Your 256 Billion Euro Dividend"

Our data shows that, as an example, the 15 million international tourists visiting London in 2008 would have had to pay a total of EUR 102 billion in roaming charges to access the 22 million paper maps they collected that year. This is about 5x the total spending of tourists in London per year. Yet, the paper maps resource consumption constituted the equivalent of 19,000 trees - never mind the burden on dealing with the 1,600 hectares of discarded paper to the recycling systems.

But these numbers are fictional, since no tourist coughs up the EUR 4,550 per visit that these numbers imply. instead, visitors chose to disable data services and roaming, pick up a free paper map (subsidized by the local tourist industry), continuing to make use of all its functions: scribbling, asking for directions, sharing & tearing, and tracing their route. All that at a cost of zero Euros.

What then, has to change? In our book we argue that we need to fundamentally change the way we organise the cost of digital services in cities, eliminating roaming whilst adding significant commercial upsides to the operators to the tune of EUR 2 billion per year. Roaming is about 182x as costly as local data tariffs on prepaid plans, meaning that London could replace its paper maps for about EUR 560 million - or a mere 2.8% of tourist expenditure. These numbers do not take into account the efficiency gains in bulk-costs and data consumption by reversing our business models, which would reduce costs to around 1.4% of spending and could make London (or any other city choosing to become the first to tackle this issue) the first roaming-free tourist destination in the world.

Who would finance this? How about those that pay for the maps already dedicating a small percentage of their revenue instead to making theirs the most innovative and attractive tourist destination in the world...