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Partnership models for smart cities

Submitted by Adam Beck on June 7, 2020

The world of smart cities deployment has tended to be a challenging one.

For years we have observed many behaviours and processes that do not naturally fit with the fast paced nature of deploying solutions that pupport to help generate greater value, and deliver better community outcomes.

Some of our key observations over the years include:

  • New technology and data solutions that may not be familiar to cities, and thus percieved as being risky
  • Solution providers, including start ups, do not have mass take-up with the solution yet, and seek the opportunity to pilot
  • Government procurement processes tcan be rigid, with little flexibility and opportunity to experiement
  • Fear of failure, if a new solution doesnt work
  • Partnerships, even when sought after, are still contractually based and push an unproportionate level of risk onto the private sector
  • Ownership of data, fear of loosing intellectual property and sharing of reward/value not evenly distributed
  • Fixed budgets and reporting processes that deter innovation and agile approaches.

We believe that true partnerships are based on trust, and that risk and reward should be shared. However this is the exception and not the norm. We also believe that the idea of collaboration - a concept so often referred to but so misunderstood - still remains untested by most local governments in the smart cities space.

However, smart cities is not necessarily a unique agenda when it comes to partnership models. Sure, there are some key challenges like the rapid pace of change and the dynamic nature of data and the issues around the protection of privacy, ethics and security. But we think the fundamentals remain the same.

So what ideas do we have for advancing partnership models for smart cities?

Here are ten of our favourite knowledge resources for providing greater insights into advancing successful partnership models for smart cities:

  1. The Alliance approach to smart cities | By Deloitte - outlining the fundamentals of a framework that brings financing, partnership, procurement and governance together to delivery the best possible smart cities outcomes
  2. The EcoDistricts Protocol | By EcoDistricts - which highlights the importance of a 'formation' phase whereby the necessary leadership, collaboration and decision making conditions are created to support action
  3. Amsterdam Smart City | By the Amsterdam Economic Board - hailed as a global leader in the way it engages its citizens and the private sector, Amsterdam Smart City continues to deliver outcomes through partnerships, as opposed to purely procurement
  4. Public Procurement Models for Smart Cities Solutions | By the European Commission - a succinct research paper that unpacks the barriers and opportunities to large scale roll out of smart cities solutions, with hints of opportunities for greater partnership-based approaches
  5. New Zealand Smart Cities Programme Evaluation | By Land Information New Zeland - one of the few smart cities programs globally that include a detailed evaluation of its process, and outcomes. The report provides multiple insights into the success of its various partnership approaches
  6. Global City Teams Challenge | by NIST - a far reaching partnership program led by the US government to stimulate public, private and third sector collaboration to advance standards-based solutions that can be replicated, and for others to learn from them
  7. European Innovation Partnership on Smart Cities | by European Union - a marketplace of 100's of projects and 1000'sof participants, this forum not only advances projects, but shares the knowledge through platforms like their Business Model Repository
  8. Future Street Canterbury Bankstown | By City of Canterbury Bankstown -  2019 award winner in the Smart Cities Council Smart Cities Awards, the City of Canterbury Bankstown used a unique opportunity to build a partnership with the private sector to deliver a signature community engagement and knowledge sharing program
  9. SmartImpact | By the European Union - this three year project was a partnership of 10 cities sharing experiences of the structures and processes needed to successfully plan, finance, develop and manage a smart city
  10. Smart Cities Activator | By Smart Cities Council - The Smart Cities Activator is an innovative online platform for collaborative, multi-stakeholder planning. It allows project teams to rapidly gather stakeholder input, use proven project templates and employ powerful online planning tools. Activator also allows work to occur collaboratively from multiple locations, in real time.