For the first time in history, more than half of the world’s population lives in cities. Demand for services is increasing, but the capacity of local governments to deliver is challenged by diminishing budgets. At the same time enhanced connectivity, inexpensive mobile phones and the use of social media have radically altered the citizen’s behavior everywhere.

Forward-looking cities encourage co-creation of digital services with citizens. Municipalities can open up public data sets as raw material for software developers, and organize competitions to crowd source ideas and solutions to problems. This shifting paradigm provides an opportunity for even the most resource-constrained public authorities to invest in low-cost experimentation in ICT-enabled services. This paradigm shift provides an opportunity for resource-constrained municipal authorities to invest in services enabled by ICT. Besides reducing solution development costs, co-creation can generate a wider diversity of solutions and help to ensure that user needs and behaviors are properly accounted for in the final solution before the launch of service.


Smart Cities is a very elusive concept that has different views depending in different cultures and areas of the world. “The City as Laboratory” training program established by the World Bank, City of Barcelona and ESADE University will take a look at different views with a special emphasis to the ones that the World Bank is promoting in developing countries and the model of Barcelona together with experiences around the world.


The annual program brings together practitioners from North and South to learn from smart city strategies and practical examples of activities applied to support civic engagement, innovation ecosystems, Open Data and digital entrepreneurship. The capacity building objective is to strengthen the ability of municipal decision makers to apply open innovation approach in development of digital public services in cities. The training is based on real-life challenges complemented examples and presentations from initiatives that drive the new innovation ecosystem in the City of Barcelona.


For more information on The City as a Laboratory Training Program, please see attached document.