European cities and communities have been pursuing their dreams of a smart city for more than 10 years, but have found it difficult to demonstrate the impact of these innovations on vitality, sustainability and prosperity.
The reason for this uneven path to the future is the gap between the supply of technology and the demand for technology. The first stretches the “art of the possible” and the second struggles to keep pace and distinguish between advertising and really useful innovations that could lead to positive results that are important to people and businesses.
What European regional and city authorities need is a bottom-up approach that looks at the real needs of neighborhoods, people and businesses. Smart solutions and services must then be replicated, drawing on the skills and resources of the city’s innovation ecosystem.
In such a smooth model, it is important to develop policies that create positive incentives for technological innovation, support effective governance mechanisms, involve citizens in decision-making, ensure that digital data and data are applied in a reliable and transparent way, and help nourishing the local innovation ecosystem.
These policies are more important than ever now as EU regulators and governments seek to gain a stronger foothold in the ICT industry as a whole. This is because critical political, social and economic questions are being asked about the dominance of global technology companies, the risks of algorithmic bias and misinformation, the balance between digital sovereignty and the speed and cost of innovation, and double digital-green transition.
8 key areas of smart policy
We have identified a checklist and related global best practices for eight key smart policies that European urban and community leaders need to put in place to maximize the benefits and address the risks of innovation.