About this good practice
As a sub-action to support the aim of the development plan, Tartu wants to promote itself as a testbed and/or pilot user of smart and innovative public solutions. The aim of the sub-action and the tackled problems are two-fold: a) materialize the image of Tartu as a start-up minded city, b) offer the best possible services and living environment to the inhabitants of the city.
The practice reaches its objectives via regular and coordinated cooperation between the key stakeholders that is led by the city government. The option is promoted by the officials of the city government and business support structures located in the city (e.g. Tartu Science Park). The key stakeholders, who help the city government in the current mission include networks of the city and cooperation partners of the city (business support organisations, universities, start-up ecosystem, etc) and Estonian national business promotion agencies.
The key stakeholders are equipped with the value proposition/pitch of the city, landing page (https://business.tartu.ee/projects/) and key contacts with whom to agree upon testing process details (https://business.tartu.ee/kontakt/).
The main beneficiaries of the practice are:
- the companies, which are looking for testbeds for their smart city solutions,
- different departments of the city government, which host the actual testing;
- citizens of Tartu, who get access to better public services.
To set up the practice, the city government needed approximately one week to collect the materials for the landing page, agree on the responsibilities an of staff and design the web page.
There is no need for additional financial resources.
Evidence of success
Currently, the website https://business.tartu.ee/projects/ presents 10 smart services and projects, which are or have been carried out in Tartu during the last 4-5 years.
To highlight a few:
- smart pedestrian crossings, which improve the safety of the crossings and monitor the weather and traffic at the sites;
- SmartEnCity - a benchmark for renovating old Soviet apartment buildings into energy-efficient and modern houses.
Potential for learning or transfer
The practice can be replicated or at least partly used by any city or region that is interested in modernising and digitalising its public services and engaging its officials in innovation deployment processes.
The practice does not require significant financial resources, thus the likelihood of having a clearly visible return on investment (the time invested) is high. However, the process needs commitment, persistence, and decisiveness in execution.
Challenging aspects are related to cooperation between departments of a city government and cooperation between different organisations, who deal with the promotion of a city/region. Therefore, the approach requires systematic leading of the process.