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New boost for urban innovation in Barcelona

The world is undergoing constant change, and the Covid-19 crisis has intensified this yet further, generating exceptional uncertainty on a global scale, affecting cities in particular. In this process of transformation, we find ourselves in a new scenario where the questions have changed and we are forced to innovate in our responses. Social needs are changing and we must come up with new policies, a new range of public services which respond to the new demands of citizens.

The new government measure to boost urban innovation in Barcelona (October 2021) [Spanish] (PDF) comes at a point where the city government has proved its capacity in tackling the social and healthcare emergency, responding with agile, flexible and democratic governance. It is also leading this change through a bold and proactive approach, to make Barcelona a healthier, more sustainable, equal and competitive city, better connected and more responsible.

The measure organises the tools available to Barcelona City Council to speed up this change, innovate in services and governance, and accelerate innovation for and in the city.

Barcelona promotes innovation as a means of leverage for transformation and acceleration, to improve people’s quality of life, fight climate change and foster urban resilience.

The lines of action in the measure are:

  • Internal innovation at the City Council, promoting change in the innovation culture of the administration.
  • Innovation with the entire ecosystem, driving innovation with the city and its people.
  • Innovation in public management, structuring methodologies and articulating new tools to drive innovation.
  • Speeding up innovation processes, promoting the city as a natural space for experimentation.

Notable actions provided for in the measure include:

  • Creating the figure of the innovation officer, with people who already belong to municipal teams tasked with driving innovation in their field.
  • Launch of urban challenges, methodology for testing pilot projects and finding solutions for a need which means calling out to the innovation ecosystem, as the product or service sought is not available on the market.
  • Launch of the Innovation Laboratory, an open tool at the Ca l’Alier urban innovation centre to research, trial and develop urban innovation services. This will help accelerate the generation of urban improvement projects which need testing in real environments to optimise them and improve the way they work.

The measure seeks to turn innovation into a driver for social, economic and technological transformation in Barcelona, and the tool for consolidating the city as a European and global leader.

Government measure to boost urban innovation in Barcelona [Spanish] (PDF)

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