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Crowdsourcing platform for open city innovation challenges

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - LIVECITIES (Crowdsourcing platform for open city innovation challenges)

Reporting period: 2018-05-01 to 2018-08-31

The objective of this feasibility study for LiveCities holds four main components: Technological feasibility, market assessment, Business Model assessment, and Risk and IP management.

The technological constraints of the project have come into question with the feedback from our initial implementations. The issues around scalability have been properly addressed and identified, while the use of data as a resource for open innovation has become a longer term goal, given the changes the project is facing. The customization potential of the platform has been identified as an important competitive element and will be critical in further development. Validating the project with customers has been the focus of these Phase 1 efforts and the success of such activity has lead to a significant pivoting exercise for Livecities into a corporate/institutional open innovation platform for project/partner identification with smart filtering, evaluation and selection processes and tools and a specific angle for Innovative Public Procurement.

Market assessment has been an important part of the this phase, we have quantified the participating startup/SME market, open innovation friendly corporate market and the potential institutional and government programs for public procurement. The focus has been on Europe, but the opportunities clearly exist elsewhere, as well. We have also made an important effort in exploring and validating the commercialization channels with specific focus on business networks and associations.

As far as the Business Model Assessment, the freemium model is confirmed as a sound choice to combine low barriers to adoption and a clear conversion path. The users/customers are both sides of the transaction: challenging government/corporations on one side and innovative SMEs/startups on the other. We offer powerful free value to try the service and additional value to those who seek to use these methodologies and opportunities in a more determined and strategic way.

As far as risk assessment, the technological risks have been properly sized, while market (commercial/social) risks will likely persist - despite the additional research and knowledge we have accumulated – until we are able to see the take up in sales.
While the original target market of city open innovation initiatives proved to exist as estimated, we found in our initial contacts that commercialization posed certain challenges as each city had very long project definition cycles, had specific project requirements and a very fragmented decision making.

In order to successfully explore the pivoting options, we followed a methodology based on design thinking principles and with a user centred approach. The process started with a review of the feedback we received from early pilot implementations. Given the obstacles of the initial idea, we opened up to different target users and value propositions that had been identified as potential opportunities in our research, as well as others. The result of such exploration led to a clear new target: enabling corporate/institutional open innovation projects/challenges/Innovative-Public-Procurement initiatives to successfully connect to suitable startups and SMEs looking for partnerships not only facilitating communications and visibility but also with smart filtering, evaluation and selection processes along with other operational support.

This hypothesis needed some validation and thus we prepared a series of interviews with potential customers to better understand the potential of such value proposition. The feedback has allowed us to test, iterate and ultimately validate the assumptions behind the value propositions and business model, as well as the path to market, i.e. the partnerships needed to ramp up our user and customers acquisition.

The results so far have been very positive indicating we have found an opportunity where – given a good implementation of the concepts outlined – there is significant demand and the potential for market success.
The development and successful deployment of the Livecities platform holds the potential for radically transforming the way that innovators (entrepreneurs, startups and innovative SMEs) interact and collaborate with corporation, institutions and government. The platform will scale the ability of the latter to publish challenges, contest and calls by streamlining the process, communications, filtering and selection in terms of complexity, time and cost.

The intended impact is to be able to accelerate the already significant increase in the resources dedicated to open and collaborative innovation projects both by the private and the public sector. The surge of these market dynamics holds the promise of mobilizing non-financial investment towards enabling growth for startups with innovative solutions while at the same time boosting the rate of innovation in large public and private organizations, with its immediate impact on the lives of their citizens/users/customers.

A special note for innovative public procurement processes: with a tool specifically designed to support such processes, we aim to boost the ability of government large and small to be a driving actor in the development of the innovation ecosystem and bring about much needed innovation to government and public services.
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