SPEED UP Public Event was organised in the framework of EUROCITIES Economic Development Forum. Municipality of Florence hosting partner, decided to focus on “Local Innovation Ecosystems” in order to spread lessons learnt during previous 3 years of the SPEED UP project and look for new inputs coming from a wide European network and useful to improve partners’ Regional Action Plans.

Over 120 city changers met in Florence from 27-29 March at the EUROCITIES Economic Development Forum to discuss precisely these issues by sharing knowledge between cities and look at ways to achieve scalability and impact the European innovation ecosystem

A keynote speech by Esteve Almirall focused on how to foster innovation at the local level, particularly looking at how cities can use new technologies and governance structures to foster co-creation of innovation as well as to offer public services in innovative ways.

 The role of inclusion and participation was highlighted, and the keynote speaker inspired the audience by reflecting on the need to start bottom-up to build a truly European model which is both sustainable, locally driven and inclusive.

The panel debate, which set the scene for the following activities, was centred around question of ‘why and how cities should build an innovation ecosystem’ and benefited from interventions of cities which highlighted their best-practices, but also from contributions of EU Commission experts which provided valuable inputs towards a European common definition for innovation ecosystem.

A highlight of the first day was the forum’s first ever ‘city lab’ – an innovation in itself that saw city representatives working through real problems they face in their cities to find common challenges that can be related to the European level.

During the innovation city lab city representatives were divided into subgroups, each trying to look at challenges and opportunities of innovation from a different point of view, but all trying to find common policy recommendations on how the EU can help building more sustainable innovation ecosystems.

The four subgroups included: Cooperation with EU Programs and Tools; Cooperation with Education and Research; Cooperation with Entrepreneurship and Start-ups; Cooperation with Citizenship; and Cooperation with Technological sector.

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