Open Innovation 2.0 (OI2.0) is a new paradigm where government, industry, academia and citizens work together to co-create the future and drive structural changes far beyond the scope of what any one organization or person could do alone. It is about sharing ideas, results and intellectual creativity to maximize economic and social impact.

Collaborative skills, open data, as well as shared ideas, values and processes:  all of these are needed to generate a wealth of benefits for future cities and their citizens.

What is OI2.0 for future cities?

The future cities vision is about the effective integration of physical, digital and human systems to deliver a sustainable, prosperous and inclusive life for citizens. OI2.0 for future cities is about extensive collaboration among local government, businesses, researchers and citizens - where all participants jointly create the future city vision.Quadruple Helix Innovation

OI2.0 embraces both the Quadruple Helix Innovation Model for collaboration between government, industry, academia and citizens (see figure), and public-private-people partnerships (4Ps). In the past, the fourth dimension of “people” had not been considered part of this ecosystem.

Using this joint model of Quadruple Helix and 4Ps to solve government challenges, achieve digital government and create sustainable government tops the agenda of the European Union’s Open Innovation Strategy and Policy Group (OISPG)—an EU-wide think tank uniting industrial groups, academia, governments and private individuals to support policies for open innovation at the European Commission.

This topic recently has drawn considerable attention. Several studies have suggested methods for smart, sustainable cities and citizen collaboration with the goal of social benefit. Leading companies have offered ways to implement different sustainable city solutions. To date, however, there is no clear method for effectively engaging citizens in the open innovation process and using social capital as a key factor.

I am convinced the success of future cities requires these three things:

  1. An effective, open innovation ecosystem
  2. Sustainability
  3. Collaboration with citizens based on social capital 

The future cities ecosystem is becoming more complex due to evolving factors influencing each stakeholder group. Businesses want to make more money, researchers seek novel scientific breakthroughs, citizens want a better life, and governments want to support well-being and sustainability. Involving citizens in the innovation process allows for rapid prototyping that can foster entrepreneurship, create jobs and boost sustainable growth.

New methods are needed to empower citizen engagement through technology-intensive, user-driven services. Moving from theory to practice and creating a functional open innovation ecosystem requires that such methods be tested in practice, not just studied academically. This experimentation should take place in cities with different attributes (e.g., size, geography, climate, culture, etc.) to understand how to scale based on a common, truly effective and valuable representation of a future cities ecosystem.

CGI is a founding member of OISPG where we pursue this topic and share our know-how and experiences with the European Commission, industry and research institutes. For example, Burgernet and Participation Next are excellent examples of citizen participation benefitting multiple city stakeholders.

I look forward to providing future updates on these activities.

About this author

Picture of Dr. Gohar Sargsyan

Dr. Gohar Sargsyan

Innovation and sustainability consultant

Dr. Sargsyan is an experienced program director and business management consultant in international multidisciplinary environments in both the public and private sectors. An IT expert, she provides consulting services to CGI clients focused on IT innovation and sustainability.

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