Dutch-Australian smart city innovation hubs workgroup

One of the most tangible elements of the smart city movement is that cities are increasingly establishing their own innovation hubs, next to the ones that have already been established by universities and private industry. We are starting to see cities with a smart city strategy in place increasingly taking a coordinating role between their local innovation centres. The city is seen as the natural hub for the various entrepreneurial activities that are taking place within their cities.

While national, state and local government smart city policies are critical – as is collaboration with private industry and R&D organisations. One of the most successful (and rewarding) developments of the smart city movement is that worldwide literally thousands of young entrepreneurs, start-ups and innovators are now members of these innovation hubs. The average age of these people is around 20. Many are still studying at colleges and universities, but what they all have in common is that they want to look after their own economic future, rather than wait for somebody to offer them a job. They obviously also already have the entrepreneurial spirit that is crucial to turn hard work into a success.

These people and the organisations that they will develop are going to be the economic drivers of our future smart cities. Over the next 10, 20, 30 years they will bring in the new jobs and they will increase economic activities within their cities, and in so doing they will also increase the economic value (tax basis) of the cities.

Within the international GSC3 smart city coalition there are now seven active cities in Australia: Adelaide, Canberra, Sydney, Newcastle, Lake Macquarie, Ipswich and Sunshine Coast. They have joined a larger group of smart cities that includes: Amsterdam, Rotterdam The Hague, Utrecht, Eindhoven, Chicago, Austrian Charlotte, Genoa and Bandung.

Obviously other cities are welcome to join in as well and in Australia ASCA (Australian Smart Communities Association), which is a member of GSC3 in its own right, can play a facilitating role in this.

An immediate result of the Dutch Smart City Mission to Australia is that a workgroup of the leaders of the innovation hubs in these cities has been established. Obviously simply by getting to know each other, as well as  each other’s work, will in itself create a sharing of information, knowledge and experience, and this will be beneficial for each of the cities.

However the real aim is to bring the actual entrepreneurs across all of these hubs in contact with each other and, wherever possible, for them to collaborate and learn from each other’s experiences. The good thing is that most of these hubs are linked to truly high-speed networks, which allows for teleconferences and even co-working.

The first steps of collaboration are set and I will keep you informed about the future development of this activity.

Paul Budde

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