Why cities should look to data-driven solutions to improve public services
Startups and SMEs have valuable data-driven solutions to improve public services, however, there are implementation obstacles separating cities from these solutions. INTERREG 2 Seas project, SCIFI, aims to activate the market for data-driven solutions by removing these obstacles.
As cities both depend on data and are able to obtain large amounts of it, they are well positioned to be launching customers for innovative, smart technology products and services. Nevertheless, cities need the technical knowledge that will allow them to utilise and adapt useful solutions for smart public services. It’s time for them to look for smart, tailored solutions and avoid buying into trends, which often conclude to solutions that don’t necessarily fit the needs of the city.
Using a network of universities, knowledge centres and service providers, SCIFI will bring together the cities of Bruges, Mechelen, Delft and Saint-Quentin, and provide them with a platform for collaboration to face common challenges. The project will build coaching programs on how to open up data and bring it to the market, establish innovative cross-border solutions, make the solutions sustainable and replicate them in other cities. The project pioneers cross-border procurement: allowing a city with one solution to apply it to another city in need of innovative public service solutions.
SCIFI intends to develop a replicable Smart city innovation framework, allowing cities to solve common problems and save time and money. The framework will increase the competitiveness of the 2 Seas region in the field of urban innovation, stimulate the innovative sectors of the regional economy and increase quality of life for citizens in 2 Seas cities.
An Accelerator for Cities and Businesses to co-create practical, sustainable solutions for city challenges, will also be launched. The Accelerator programme coaches both businesses and cities on selecting and opening relevant datasets, adapting to EU data standards and formats, addressing issues of IPR and software-specific business models and engaging public sector stakeholders including citizens and policy makers.
By acting together, medium-sized cities can better pool the innovative potential of the 2 Seas region. Through a network of local and transnational actors, SCIFI will increase the growth potential for regional businesses, leverage the world-class knowledge institutions in the region and provide cities with wider access to innovative products and services.