Why did we do this?
Innovative tech companies are attractive to cities. Not only do they produce the jobs of tomorrow, but they are increasingly perceived as a symbol of civic vitality. There is a growing feedback loop between entrepreneurship outside of the city hall, and innovative governance within them. As a result, a growing number of city governments are turning their attention to what they can do to grow this part of their economy.
While city authorities can’t create tech communities or entrepreneurs, what they can do is optimise the policy levers that are within their control to design the best set of conditions for innovation to flourish. CITIE aimed to help city leaders around the world understand how best to approach this.
What did we do?
CITIE was the product of a partnership between Nesta, Accenture and the Future Cities Catapult. It provided city policymakers with a resource to support the development of policy initiatives to catalyse innovation and entrepreneurship in cities.
CITIE comprises four main components:
- A framework for understanding how policy in nine key areas at the city level can be used to support innovation and entrepreneurship.
- A diagnostic tool that allows cities to understand how they perform against this framework relative to over 60 global cities.
- A range of examples and case studies that shine a light on best practice from around the world.
- The results and analysis for:
Since 2015 we have researched how over 60 leading cities from around the world were supporting innovation and entrepreneurship. We tested them against a series of metrics that collectively answer three questions:
- How open is the city to new ideas and new businesses?
- How does the city optimise its infrastructure for high-growth businesses?
- How does the city build innovation into its own activities?
Our analysis revolved around nine policy roles that city governments can adopt to support innovation and entrepreneurship. The roles are Regulator, Advocate, Customer, Host, Investor, Connector, Strategist, Digital Governor and Datavore. They are designed to cover the full range of a city’s operations.
CITIE was designed to be used by policymakers in cities. To the greatest extent possible, it focused on those policy levers that city governments have at their disposal, although this inevitably varies from place to place.
We interviewed leading cities to draw out key learnings in our case studies that are designed to highlight what good practice looks like globally so that other cities can learn from it.
What we learnt
Our analysis of over 50 global cities shows a rich diversity of approaches to catalysing innovation and entrepreneurship: there is no single pathway to success. Nevertheless, high-performing city governments recognise that new ideas and technologies create a big opportunity to do things differently and make better places to live.
This tends to provoke three responses in the way that they work:
1. They make sure that very different areas of policy need to work in concert
Good policy in one area can be undermined by bad policy in another. As a result, they tend to have teams, individuals or strategies in place which champion innovation across departmental silos.
2. They are open by default
They recognise that the kind of knowledge and ideas needed to drive change are unlikely to reside entirely within city hall. As a result, they habitually find ways to work with outsiders in solving urban problems.
3. They employ styles of working that are more closely associated with start-ups than bureaucrats
They are happy to try things out and are not afraid to fail. And they are increasingly delivering agile projects, prototyping, deploying user-led design and developing digital services. As a result, they are able to move quickly as the world changes around them.
The CITIE framework followed Nesta’s previous work in cities, building on projects such as: