Open Cities is a project co-founded by the European Union that aims to validate how to approach Open & User Driven Innovation methodologies to the Public Sector in a scenario of Future Internet Services for Smart Cities. It will do so, by leveraging existing tools, trials and platforms in Crowdsourcing, Open Data, Fiber to the Home and Open Sensor Networks in seven major European cities: Helsinki, Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, Rome, Barcelona and Bologna.

The project is structured in 6 workpackages:

Even if Open Innovation is the "de facto" standard in innovation management in the private sector, we know little of how to apply it to the public sector and this is even truer when involving technological platforms, especially in aspects such as governance or incentives.

Open Cities it is a 30 months project funded under the ICT Policy Support Programme (ICT PSP) that aims to explore this gap with five main objectives:

  1. Distill insights and best practices on how to apply Open Innovation in the Public Sector.
  2. Gain understanding on the management of Technological Platforms in an Open Innovation context.
  3. Validate the use of pan-European Platforms for Crowdsourcing, Open Data, FTTH networks and Open Sensor Networks.
  4. Trigger the development of Advanced Future Internet Services.
  5. Understanding how Living Labs could be effectively applied for promoting the adoption and co-creating of innovation in Smart Cities.

Open Cities is a project coordinated by the Spanish Business School ESADE and count with the collaboration of other 14 european institutions.



We are witnessing a transformation in Cities that requires them not only implement existing solutions but innovate and co-create new ones. However, there is an important gap between what we know in innovation management and the actual practices and this gap is even bigger if we consider the practices in Cities.


The Project aims to validate how to approach Open & user Driven Innovation methodologies to the Public Sector in a scenario of Future Internet services for Smart Cities in five innovative and representative European cities: Helsinki, Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris and Barcelona.

Main objectives:

Open Cities aims to advance our understanding on Open innovation management in the public sector by conducting experimental driven research in real life settings around Future Internet services for Smart Cities. In order to accomplish this objective, on-line platforms and repositories should be built and advance Future Internet services should be put in place, so their dynamics, limits, adequacy and best practices could be distilled and inferred. Therefore the four main objectives of Open Cities could be further  broken down in concrete sub-objectives that refer to the specific areas that the project addresses.

  1. Open Innovation in the Public Sector. Understanding better how Open & User Innovation can be applied to the Public Sector and specifically to fostering Future Internet Services in Smart Cities is a key objective of the project.
    1. Asses the integration of Open Innovation in the Public Sector, its limits and needs for change in terms of governance, structure, type of public institution, stakeholders and suitability of topics.
    2. Explore the Integration and governance of technological platforms in Open Innovation in the context of Public-Private Partnerships.
    3. Research on the role and effectiveness of incentives in Open Innovation mechanisms, such a platforms, competitions, … in the Public Sector.
    4. Validate different Open Innovation approaches in the Public Sector: i) Broadcasting search (as Innocentive), ii) Selection assisted (as Nine Sigma), iii) assisted uptake of services, their possibilities, appropriability and limits.
  2. Living Labs in Smart Cities: Urban Labs. Understanding how Living Labs could be effectively applied for promoting the adoption and co-creation of innovation in Smart Cities.
    1. Promoting pan European competitions offering piloting and user co-creation as a prize.
    2. Fostering an European Market for innovations in Smart Cities.
    3. Understanding the double sided process of learning both at producer level and at consumer level: cities and users.
  3. Pan European Platform. The development and validation of pan European platforms for Crowdsourcing, Open Data and Open Sensor Networks.
    1. Evolve and localize a Crowdsourcing platform to a European level.
    2. Build a pan European Open Data repository with de contribution of four major European cities.
    3. Develop an exemplary case by integrating existing Sensor Networks platforms into an Internet, allowing its access through programmatic interfaces such as web services.
    4. Transform Fiber to the Home networks into Future Internet Services Platforms with applications that leverage on them.
  4. Future Internet Services & Ideas. The delivery of Future Internet Services applications and ideas especially in the realm of mobile devices and Augmented Reality applications.
    1. Deliver exemplary advanced Future Internet mobile services that can trigger the development of other apps and services by its diffusion through the developer community.
    2. Spur the development of Advantage services that leverage on existing Fiber to the Home Networks.
    3. Foster the creation of Future Internet services by using Open Data and Sensor Networks as a trigger and opportunity.
    4. Raise novel ideas on the realm of Future Internet by using Crowdsourcing.
    5. Create awareness on the developed platforms at EU level among developers and companies with the ambition to contribute to the development of an European space for Future Internet Services in Smart Cities.


Cities will learn how to integrate Open Innovation methodologies in their fabric and users will benefit from pilots on Future Internet services around Augmented Reality in mobile devices as a result of the project. The aim is that the project could help in jump-start a dynamic of private and public-private provide services triggered by opening common resources such as Data, Platforms and Networks.

Open Innovation Intermediaries use ad-hoc collaborative web 2.0 platforms for Crowdsourcing, Competitions or as way to broadcast and gather challenges and ideas. A porting of these platforms will be used in the project.

Also the project will deliver a pan-European Open Data repository implemented in the participant cities and a platform interconnecting Sensor Data coming form fix and mobile sensors with Open services.

Example mashups and applications will be created in order to stimulate the process of diffusion and adoption among developer communities.

Cities will provide contents in terms of Opening Data and Opening Networks for general use.

The project will provide three different types of contributions: a) New understandings on how to approach Open Innovation from the Public Sector and especially towards Smart Cities, b) Functioning platforms for Open Data and Open Networks encompassing several important cities in Europe and c) Actual Future Internet Services provided by developers using this platforms.

The sustainability of these 3 results will be ensured by the presence of all relevant actors: city authorities, academia and research institutions, companies and more important, real users using the services and creating the necessary demand for Future Internet services in Smart Cities.