The GEniUS! Open innovation project was part of URBACT programme which enables the exchange of knowledge and experience between cities through defined projects and networks. GeniUS! Open tested the transfer of practice from the City of York (UK) to Tallinn (Estonia), San Sebastian (Spain) and Siracusa (Italy).
The practice being transferred was an open innovation method of engaging citizens to identify and solve urban challenges. Our grand reflection on the success of the transfer of open innovation practice related to how willing each city was to be humble, open, curious and brave! The more they embodied these traits the more successful they were in engaging citizens, generating ideas and creating better places.
Excerpt from the report:
“Why is open innovation relevant? In the current climate, systems such including cities are facing increasingly difficult conditions. The are constrained by financial pressures, open to scrutiny, and face even greater demands for accountability and public value. The traditional methods of running organisations (and approaching change) often fail to cope with these changes demands. The mechanistic view and methodologies of change are rooted in the traditions of the industrial age, where systems are managed through hierarchical leadership and operational procedures tha are internally focused and ‘closed’. Using open innovation is a different mindset and approach to this traditional closed perspective. This practice of openness unlocks knowledge and assets that are invaluable to cash strapped city administrators. It brings about engagement in communities because it promotes transparency. It empowers citizens by involving them in the process which effect their lives. Open innovation processes enforce that the final innovation itself is more relevant and scalable because it has been shaped by the user who know how it will work best and how how it will fit in their environment.”