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.