The group presented at the City Regions as Innovators of Europe symposium at RMIT Europe in Barcelona, which saw industry, research, government and community representatives interested in working together on European innovation in the City Regions of Catalonia, Lombardy, Auvergne-Rhônes-Alpes and Baden-Württemberg.
Here several of the key panellists share their insights on some of the biggest challenges for urban innovation.
"Urban innovation involves many different stakeholders from government bodies, citizens, corporations, NGOs, NPOs through to start-ups. Creating consensus among them is the first challenge but even after consensus is built, there's a need to scale the innovation. And scaling of technology region-wide, city-wide and urban-wide is always critically difficult."
Deputy Head of Division, Mitsubishi UFJ Research and Consulting
"I really think the biggest challenge facing urban innovation, but also for us as a globe, is climate change. It's a massive problem that we're understanding. We've been working on it for a long time now. But the good news is that a lot of people are willing to work on it but we need to speed up that radical transformation."
Director of Entrepreneurship, EIT Climate-KIC
Balancing innovation and social inclusion
"There have been too many cases where innovations have developed and cities have grown that have led to social exclusion of particular groups as well as not seizing opportunities to improve the ecological context. Therefore enabling cities to become more ecologically sustainable while maintaining prosperity as well as being socially inclusive is a challenge."
Professor Jago Dodson
Director, Centre for Urban Research, RMIT University
Managing stakeholder interests
"The biggest challenge facing urban innovation is to balance the different interests of stakeholders."
Sector Lead, Urban Development and Sustainable Building, Baden-Württemberg International
The role of government
"Governments are struggling to find their role in how to deal with urban innovation. Shall they stimulate by lawmaking, providing networks, feeding financial instruments? The rate of change is so high – we need to ask how should governments behave in this network?"
Sebastiaan van Herk
Partner, Bax & Company
"The biggest challenge we have is to align innovation with climate change and resource efficiency, and to adapt the regulation of the markets so that innovation can be scaled much faster than it is today."
Regional Director for Europe, ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability
Story: Gabriela Torres