Open, Agile and Lean Startup Principles for Urban Innovation

Progress towards a more open and agile urban innovation is a must for city halls. The case could be named “Google versus City Hall”. Yes, cities change rapidly, but on too many occasions those changes are powered by the giants of the “new economy”: Google, Amazon, Airbnb, Uber… City Halls just lag behind those changes trying to control damages in the local economies and communities. We reckon that the smart city is built between a multiplicity of agents. The city hall, universities, local startups, big corporations, and, mostly, citizens. But also that a new type of conversation between cities and big corporations can happen. Continue reading

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Smart innovation through active citizen participation

Stockholm New magazine, Sweden Art Direction by Henrik Nygren, cut Rubylith-masking film 1994

Picture by http://www.followtheline.com/

Daniel Sarasa’s interview for Nordic Smart Cities about smart innovation, whose original content can be found here.

If people are given the power to decide and be part of the decision-making process, their mark is felt all around. The city of Zaragoza manages not only to aim for active citizen participation, but to actually reinvent itself with the help of its people.

How can municipalities realize their potential for innovation?

The potential for innovation in municipalities truly lies in cities and in the citizens. There is a lot of talent in cities, hence we, the city hall and the public servants, have to make sure that we can gather as much talent and ideas as we can and put it into these Smart City projects or into the innovation process. That is the main issue and the main challenge. The reason why this is not easy is because we are so used to planning the city with a top-down perspective and it requires a complete shift from Smart City project managers or from the public servants to change their perspective. We need to open up and be able to take into account the ideas of our citizens, the ideas of our local ecosystem. Continue reading

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Cities as innovation platforms

MCSInterview for the Master of City Sciences at Politechnic University of Madrid (UPM), whose original content can be found here.

Before becoming a professor, Daniel Sarasa (born 1972) was a student at MCS, so he can give us both perspectives about the master’s degree. He is Smart City Program Manager at Zaragoza City Hall and co-author of “Zaragozá’s Open Government Strategy 2012-2015. Towards a Smart Citizenship”. Moreover, he is co-editor and co-founder of openyourcity.com. Continue reading

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Turning critical infrastructures into citizen-centric platforms

Daniel-SarasaWe were pleased to participate in the last Critical Communications World event, held in Amsterdam on on June 2nd 2016 and to answer CCW Event Director Emma Banymandhub’s questions. Here is the full interview

For the third instalment of our Critical Communications World “A Day in the Life of” series, CCW Event Director Emma Banymandhub spoke to urban innovation storyteller and Smart City Program Manager for Zaragoza City Hall, Daniel Sarasa.

Daniel Sarasa will be presenting at Critical Communications World 2016’s free-to-attend Future Technologies zone from 1655-1715 on June 1 on the subject “Turning urban telecom infrastructures into citizen-centric platforms”. Continue reading

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Sofia. Strengthening the innovation muscles

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Photo by author

On April, 19th we were invited on stage at the Webit Festival in Sofia, Bulgaria, where we shared some of our experience and ideas about urban innovation on an agile talk at the “Smart Cities” track of the event. We hope we were able to transmit some of our passion about the potential of cities as engines of innovation, democracy and prosperity, and to show a glimpse of real projects and available tools towards the vision of connecting local people, ideas and talent with urban infrastructures. Continue reading

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Smart lighting, public space and urban innovation

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Photo by Carlo Ratti Associatti

The Italian magazine “Luce et Design” interviewed us for its April 2016 number. We talked about topics such as urban innovation strategies, smart lighting, digital art, public space and… refugees. We share a translation of the interview in English.

Luce Et Design: What was your training course?

I had my masters degree as a Telecom Engineer at the University of Zaragoza, back in 1997. After almost twenty years of practice I added to my training a masters degree in city sciences by the Politechnic University of Madrid.

LED: On which essential techniques and strategies did you base your intervention to turn Zaragoza into a Smart City?

Zaragoza’s implementation of its own unique Digital City model will at a particularly difficult time for the both city and its inhabitants have the concept of open source as its connecting theme: open data, free software, accessible networks and open government, meaning a truly transparent and participatory administration.

In addition to this, it shall have an open code architecture which gives rise to reconfigurable buildings (“open place making”), new digital public spaces that are made up of, used and reconfigured by the public itself; spaces where they exercise their participation, grow in knowledge and strengthen their digital links with the city. Continue reading

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Open Data and Smart City KPIs

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Photo by notrashproject.com

There are many initiatives to measure the “smartness” of cities and a jungle of smart city indexes that establish annual city comparisons. Open data can help fulfill the transparency gap in this field.

Sustainability, prosperity or democracy are three of the main challenges of today’s societies. Societies that are, essentially, urban, therefore making the study of urban data one of the most promising fields of progress nowadays. Of course, many of the answers to the challenges above can be found in cities. After many decades of mistrust, today most policy makers know that cities are great problem-solving tools. In fact, with near 60% of the world population inhabiting urban soil, there is little hope for the general progress of mankind outside the three pillars of sustainable, participatory and prosperous urban development.

A fourth element, innovation, adds to the former three to stand for the aforementioned process of problem-solving cycle in which cities are embarked. Continue reading

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