3 August 2022

ICLEI Europe supports Members to evaluate the effectiveness of smart projects

ICLEI Europe is providing support to ICLEI Member Freiburg (Germany) and to the City of Cologne to develop paths for better monitoring and evaluation of the impact of smart city projects. This work includes collaboratively developing: an impact measurement and goal orientation system; indicators for impact assessment; flexible tools that can be applied in a number of local contexts; and standardisation.

Smart City projects, usually driven by the public sector, illustrate how cities modernise their services, and interact with citizens. The challenge: cities’ administrative structures can be obstacles to swift and successful implementation of smart solutions. The remedy: agile processes for more flexible and shorter planning processes and faster implementation of complex digital projects.

ICLEI Europe is working with Freiburg and Cologne to introduce a new system for goal-oriented impact measurement. The methodology helps cities set objectives and measure success factors that help develop and implement cross-cutting and integrated projects.

Freiburg, Cologne, and additional partners are working together to design methodological approaches, which address the needs of urban society and municipal support decision-makers that design Smart Cities. Ultimately, the best-practice strategy must be quantifiable and a more agile, dynamic administration can be a good starting point.

"Strategy is only the beginning - target horizons and their traceability need to be planned and designed as well as the next iteration. With this approach in our Smart City model project, we want to get a good deal closer to goal-oriented work, but also rid ourselves in time of activities that do not develop any benefit. We work with a hybrid project management and promote the self-organisation and commitment of the employees."

Ivan Acimovic, Head of the Smart City Project in Freiburg

Cross-city cooperation and an agile approach is key because it allows cities to create smaller, more concrete sub-goals and enact innovative solutions quickly.

"Un:box cologne sets new, innovative accents: interactive processes - from development to implementation to analysis - continuous learning and improvement. This requires rules for implementation. These must be transparent, easy to understand and implementable with little resistance. In other words, fewer bureaucratic dead ends and more dynamism. In reality, the creation of simple rules is often a complex process due to the many interdependencies. This must be stored, flexibly retrievable and at the same time resiliently organisable. OKRs help us here to optimise our error culture and perhaps even to put it on a completely new footing. In particular, they support us in responding even faster and better to the needs of urban society."

Dirk Blauhut, Head of the Smart City Project in Cologne

Decision makers make this agile work structure possible. It is important to be self-organised, to share visions and strategies with relevant partners, and to develop step-by-step solutions.

Freiburg and Cologne will share their experiences within the cooperation of all Smart City funded projects, including Model Projects Smart Cities (MPSC), intending to use the results to develop a standard that other cities will be able to use. ICLEI Europe, Cologne, and Freiburg invite other municipalities participating in the MPSC to actively contribute! Ultimately, this cooperation illustrates how inspirational exchange and the drive of ambitious experts in city administration benefit the urban community.

Read more on SmartCity publications in digital Freiburg and Stadt Köln.