Innovation partnerships

Innovation partnership as competitive advantage


Through innovation partnerships, cities strengthen their national and international competitiveness. Experienced experts from Morgenstadt are constantly assisting network members in the definition of projects, acquisition of financing as well as developing and managing local innovation ecosystem in partner cities.

Morgenstadt’s innovation partnerships generate visibility through lighthouse projects, sustainable growth and its inclusive approach.

Innovation partnerships have been established with a range of cities, such as Dublin (IR), Leipzig (DE), Prague (CZ), Chemnitz (DE), Eindhoven (NL), Ludwigsburg (DE), Berlin (DE) and Buenos Aires (ARG).

© Henrik Dolle
A view of the national congress in Buenos Aires.

Lighthouse projects with cities all over the world


Multiple cities throughout the world benefit from Morgenstadt innovation partnerships, e.g. the Argentinian capital Buenos Aires. In total, six different planned projects have been arranged targeting mprovement of the life quality of the residents. The measures range from the lakeshore renaturalization of the Matanza river to a program for the improved usage of smart grids and smart meters.

Why innovation partnerships?


Local authorities in around the world face enormous challenges. Trends such as digitalization, demographic change, shifts in the work/life environment, as well as crises related to climate change, financial markets and global security and migration all have a direct impact at the local level. Cities and communities are faced with the task of finding local answers to global challenges. Local action is increasingly characterized by uncertainty for a range of reasons: 


•    conventional planning approaches are no long aligned with the rapid technological and social development experienced today; 

•    traditional communal structures, strategies and decision-making processes have reached their limits in the context of cross-sectoral projects and networked approaches to governance;

•    growing competition for the best minds and companies internationally presents business development opportunities and new areas of activity, but also new challenges for cities and municipalities when attracting economic activities at their locations. 


Preconditions for the development of smart neighborhoods, sustainable urban development or methods of digital citizenship include flexible management systems, high levels of expertise and competence in a range of areas, as well as an ability to foster long-term perspectives on planning. The innovative capacity of a city’s economy depends greatly on the management of technological progress and, for example, the willingness to provide experimental areas or living labs to foster innovation.

Cities that do not respond to these challenges increasingly fall behind, with dissatisfied citizens, a weakening economy and delayed development as a consequence. 

However, proactive response to these challenges can transform them into strengths offering a city an edge in terms of quality of life, sustainability and economic growth.

© Ludmilla Parsyak

Getting an edge over the competition


Important areas urban actors are focusing on making their city more attractive through improving the life quality, sustainability and economic performance. With innovation partnerships cities can deliver decisive benefits.

Morgenstadt Innovation Partnership - How does it work?



•    An innovation partnership is created between a city and a Fraunhofer Institute on behalf of the innovation network »Morgenstadt: City Insights«. In doing so, bilateral targets corresponding the current needs of the city are agreed on (e.g. building a local innovation hub, developing a research partnership with the local university, or supporting the implementation of a smart city strategy).

•    Within the framework of a one-week "deep-dive", a Fraunhofer team, together with representatives from the city, elaborates a target catalogue for the innovation partnership. Fraunhofer experts conduct interviews with local stakeholders from the city administration, companies, research and urban enterprises.

•    The target catalogue includes future high-priority measures aimed to enable sustainable, innovation-driven development of the city.

•    In the following months, the Fraunhofer Institute supports the city in transferring the measures into concrete innovation projects. Technological expertise, access to key partners, funding models and support for the accessing of funding are provided.

•    Regular workshops and an active exchange with partners from the municipalities, research and industry within the framework of the Morgenstadt network meetings ensure that the projects are anchored in an EU-wide context.



Structure of the Morgenstadt Innovation Partnership

Morgenstadt Innovation Partnerships - what is the result?


The result of the Morgenstadt Innovation Partnerships are successful local projects, integrated into the local landscape, based on innovative technologies and involvement of local stakeholders. They strengthen the image of the city as a pioneer of the sustainable and smart city. In the long term, Morgenstadt Innovation Partnerships enable a city to transform its processes and structures towards future-oriented urban development.



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