The general aim of the Smart Cities project was to create an innovation network between governments and academic partners leading to excellence in the domain of the development and take-up e-services.
At the European level, the project supported the creation and growth of communities of practice across the North Sea Region building organisational commitment to and capacity for inter-regional government service sharing.
New innovation networks through collaboration: Smart Cities built integrated academic/governmental people-based networks that enabled effective information sharing and use into economically relevant knowledge and technologies. Regional authorities must reach beyond traditional co-operation and chart new territories of cross-sectoral networking to ensure their regions and the North Sea Region remain competitive.
Information exchange to planned co-designed public e-services and methodologies: Cities and public organisations around the North Sea are transforming their regions through e-Government strategies.
Smart Cities believed that public services should not just be integrated but, crucially, co-designed using the triple helix. Public data should not just be shared, but be constantly refined through re-use, feedback loops and network evaluation. New public sector methodologies should be tested for user channel suitability and promotion. There was no EU solution for implementing an efficient regional innovation policy. Regions were tackling this challenge at different rates, using different methodologies, with limited success often ignoring existing methodologies, practices and support networks.
Co-design, integrated mainstreaming and academic involvement would lead to transnational transferable methodologies and e-services. Regional authorities already at the forefront of e-Government best practice in national arenas worked together in Smart Cities to carry out transnational benchmarking, joint development and collaborative learning crosssectorally.
This was supported by a transnational academic network which created a shared and validated model for the successful co-design, piloting and communication of practices, methodologies and tools.
Involving key policy makers through the full project life-cycle and co-designing with national authorities involved in the project ensured mainstreaming at a national and European level. The practical outcome of this cross-sectoral and transnational collaboration was a new baseline for e-services in the North Sea Region, with a strong potential for mainstreaming.
Where dissemination means “everybody knows”, mainstreaming means “everybody accepts solutions to be the best and plans to roll it out”.