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Case Study - CITIE

The City Initiatives for Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CITIE) project reveals how some of the world's most innovative cities boost innovation and entrepreneurship.

With traditional jobs increasingly at risk of automation, policy makers look towards a new generation of high-growth companies to boost the jobs market. Innovative tech companies are attractive to cities. Not only do they produce the jobs of tomorrow, but they are increasingly perceived as a symbol of civic vitality. The framework highlights how some of the world’s most successful cities have even adopted a management style more commonly found in the startup companies they hope to attract and support.

The research was conducted as part of the City Initiatives for Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship (CITIE) project, the product of a partnership between Future Cities Catapult, the Government-backed global centre of excellence in urban innovation, Nesta and Accenture. The Catapult supported this project to help accelerate the removal of barriers that prevent entrepreneurs with innovative solutions to urban challenges from competing in cities where a lack of policy experience and transparency is holding back progress.

The research highlighted that while city authorities can’t create tech communities or entrepreneurs, what they can do is optimise the policy levers that are within their control to design the best set of conditions for innovation to flourish. The CITIE project helps city leaders around the world understand how best to approach this.

Cities­ like New York City and London are happy to try things out and are not afraid to fail, the study has found. And they also increasingly deliver agile projects, prototyping, deploy user-led design and develop digital services. As a result, they are able to move quickly as the world changes around them, the reports says.

The world’s most innovative cities also tend to have teams, individuals or strategies in place who champion innovation across departmental siloes according to the study. This makes sure that very different areas of policy can work in harmony instead of clashing with each other. They are also ‘open’ by default, because they recognise that the kind of knowledge and ideas needed to drive change are unlikely to reside entirely within a city hall.

Diagnostic Tool

The CITIE partnership has produced a framework for understanding how policy in key areas at the city level can be used to support innovation and entrepreneurship. Future Cities Catapult has contributed an innovative data visualisation methodology to the project to allow cities to use the framework as a diagnostic tool. The tool helps cites and businesses understand how they perform compared to 40 global cities and highlights policy areas where they can do better, highlighting areas where policy changes could boost entrepreneurial solutions to common challenges.  The five cities that represented best practice globally for 2015 were:

  1. New York City
  2. London
  3. Helsinki
  4. Barcelona
  5. Amsterdam

Hotbeds for entrepreneurship

“When people ask what countries can do to foster innovation, they’re asking the wrong question. It’s really about what cities can do. Some cities across Europe, the US and beyond have become hotbeds for entrepreneurship, with innovative start-ups driving the growth of their economies and serving their inhabitants,” Neil Rimer, co-founder and partner at Index Ventures says in the report, which also highlights a range of examples and case studies that shine a light on specific policy used by cities around the world.

Building a local skills base for digital entrepreneurship is seen as a crucial element in attracting and retaining high-growth businesses. In London, for example, apprenticeship schemes already show a strong return on investment according to one of the project’s case studies. In the London region alone organisations saw an aggregate net benefit in 2012/2013 of £202 million, with the average net benefit per apprentice in London at £2,261. At the national level, research has shown that apprenticeships contributed £34 billion to the UK economy in 2014.

Explore the framework, diagnostic tool and case studies with city leaders further at www.citie.org.

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