The UMii Position Paper aims at empowering city leaders to embrace innovation in their urban strategy and to enable sustainable, resilient and inclusive mobility solutions. The paper recognises that innovation comes from the level of maturity of cities’ ecosystems. Fostering innovation requires from cities to review their organisation and institutions, to become more flexible and to have the capacity to adapt more proactively and rapidly to changes.
Although most cities leaders recognise innovation as one of the main tools to improve their competitiveness, growth and liveability, innovation brings more challenges for cities as it implies changes in the market and more importantly in the distribution of power and responsibilities.
To this extend, there is a need to understand what innovation means for cities and to evaluate and identify what are the key enablers for cities to foster innovation. Being an innovative city doesn’t necessarily call for the adoption of ground-breaking technologies.
In many occasions, innovation can be enabled with the implementation of new types of governance, regulation framework, planning processes or any other new or significantly improved solutions or practices.
As a recent study showed, cities need to adapt fast to be ready for the “technological revolution in transportation” but they also need to get it right, as decisions made now could lock in the future of the city and its citizens. Nevertheless, “innovation has increasingly a global character”. Collaboration and access to knowledge are increasingly important ingredients of innovation. To improve their innovation ecosystems, cities need to learn from each other and to share the benefit of innovation while maximising its capacity. Creating a platform where Mayors and cities leaders can share knowledge and experience, and collaborate worldwide can play a crucial role in the development of more innovative and liveable cities.
Based on the findings of the Urban Mobility innovation index – a framework that assesses the maturity of the innovation ecosystem in urban mobility of 30 cities worldwide, this position paper highlights some good practices and provides recommendations for Mayors and other decisions makers at all levels, to embrace innovation and challenge the way urban mobility has been traditionally planned, funded, operated and maintained. It provides key enablers to unlock cities’ potential for innovation.