Ca l'Alier, headquarters of the urban innovation laboratory i.lab.
BCN Ciutat Digital

Barcelona, innovation laboratory

In a world that is being transformed at an ever-faster pace, cities must demonstrate their ability to adapt. In this context, innovation is essential for cities to create a new generation of public value and new solutions to the major future challenges facing humanity.

Barcelona has incorporated innovation into its way of running the city. Barcelona City Council's Digital Innovation Report, created by Mayoral Decree of 6 October 2016, began as a cross-departmental municipal instrument responsible for making the design and development of the digital innovation strategy and policies operational in the City of Barcelona, and enabling cross-departmental organisation and consultancy in the areas of digital and technological innovation. 

Based on this Report, we are now presenting the municipal innovation account “Barcelona, innovation laboratory”for the 2015-2019 term of office, which has just ended. It shows the main results achieved in the area of innovation, with a cross-departmental perspective of the various municipal areas involved in the report. 


City perspective

Our approach to Barcelona's innovation has been wide ranging, with the aim of including a social, socio-economic, digital, and city resident perspective on innovation. These dimensions are not mutually exclusive, but are perspectives that often provide mutual feedback and result in a new generation of public policies in which collaboration, co-creation, and joint decision-making with the general public facilitate a new way of defining the construction of our future and finding answers to current challenges.

Barcelona's innovation model  is characterised by a certain way of carrying out innovation, which can be expressed in four areas of action:

» Innovation focused on the challenges facing the city and its residents (bottom-up), not directed by technology.

» Digital innovation with the clear intent to undertake a transition towards technological sovereignty, where technology and data are used ethically.

» Collaborative, open innovation with multiple stakeholders, especially local stakeholders and city residents.

» Innovation open to the world, interacting with other cities to tackle challenges together.

In this context, Barcelona as an innovation laboratory deploys this innovation model in its public policies, projects with their own methodologies and areas of action, structuring them into three main groups: government, businesses and social and research organisations and the general public.

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