Problem: What problem is this project trying to address?
When advising cities on urban area development, Sascha realized they were excluding their own governance in their plans for transformation. City bodies asked business and the citizen sector to transform, but did not include any changes within government operation to improve transparency.
Local governments are the most obscure of all government bodies and often the most corrupt. The nature of local politics is inherently risk-averse. Most political agendas are based on survival, rather solving problems. Cities operate on cyclical two election cycles “two years doing things, two years campaigning” that limit innovation. Often, cities do not tend to organize themselves around what is best for citizens. Improving efficiency in cities is a lofty goal, but in reality it can often cut jobs—and many of the middlemen whose jobs are in question are the same who sit on the city councils making such decisions.
The marketplace between innovations and the cities that need them is murky. There are few clear channels for learning about new innovations, or clear paths to procure and implement them. Great ideas lay dormant and unimplemented because of lack of political will, or proven examples which encourage adoption. At any one time, only one and ten cities are wiling to be innovative.
It is typical for a company to pitch a solution to up to 1,000 cities over a ten-year period after inventing a successful solution to secure 130 leads and eleven contracts. This translates into a cost of €7,500,000 for a small business just to find the right potential customers. For example, an Estonian group designed cell phone based parking meters. Five out of 1000 cities pitched bought the initiative, with many more choosing to independently replicate at much greater cost. It is much easier to adopt an existing model than spend exponentially more to reinvent a wheel, yet designers lack a broad platform and public offering to market and share their work.
Solution: What is the proposed solution? Please be specific!
Sascha Haselmayer is creating vehicles to spread innovation into cities and improve governance; radically altering the way cities deliver much-needed services; and using the concept of a city as a lab to mobilize a new community focused on making cities work for citizens. Founder of Living Labs Global, Sascha has created a concept that promotes cities as tools for new applications of technology, and has built a bridge between these innovations and the decision-makers in cities that procure them, creating a corps of mavens and accountable officials. Sascha’s work is not only opening major markets to innovative companies but also supplying the intelligence and transparency needed by cities to invest less public money to greater social impact. Sascha provides a "Showcase" service via online platforms, matchmaking, and an Award program that highlights the newest ideas and helps execute them—providing support for winning pilot projects that allow cities to test new ideas without risk and building a fellowship of smart cities. They are expanding their work through a "Market for Cities," a professional networking and market intelligence tool online. The concept will allow professionals to be tapped into relevant solutions in the international market to inform decisions, build more accountable and service-oriented public spending, and provide public access to data, increasing accountability.