This is the second journal for Kosice 2.0 project that puts the second year of its implementation journey into the spotlight focusing on the key progress moments and success stories while examining its development trajectory through the lens of the 7 implementation challenges.
1. Project description
The Kosice 2.0 project is a holistic initiative that manifests the power of culture and the creative sector to drive innovation in cities today when operating beyond their traditional boundaries. It taps into the dynamism of the emerging cultural ecosystem of Kosice to advance public sector performance, support the modernization process currently happening in the economy of the city, and contribute to improving the quality of life and the well-being of the citizens. It promotes a new philosophy that disrupts the current state of affairs in the local public governance operations introducing a data-driven mindset to policy-making and a citizen-centric approach to urban development. To do this the Kosice 2.0 project capitalizes on the vigorous cultural sector of the city and the infrastructure legacies of the European Capital of Culture 2013 to develop an integrated innovation ecosystem of meticulously designed components that work together to harness urban innovation and to improve the capacity of its municipality to design data-driven, evidence-based, citizen-centric policies and services.
At the heart of this innovation ecosystem lies a new urban research unit, the Citizens Experience and Well-Being Institute (CXI) which serves as the project’s main output. The CXI plays a vital role by gathering urban data, analyzing it, and disseminating the findings to the broader community through publications and thematic articles. Additionally, it actively supports the local startup ecosystem to increase their competitiveness while providing practical solutions for the city's pressing issues. Moreover, the CXI offers valuable recommendations to the municipality, enabling evidence-based policy design and enhancing the overall performance and services provided by the City. Surrounding the CXI, there exist various interconnected components that together form the new innovation ecosystem. These components complement the work of the Institute and serve as a foundation for the modernization of both the public sector and the city as a whole, aligning with the overarching vision of the project:
- The Urban Innovation Sphere initiative that offers a range of innovation programs and activities to early-stage startups, NGOs, tech enthusiasts, various professionals, and active citizens.
- The Bravo-Hub co-working facility that provides office spaces and supporting facilities to start-ups under the same roof.
- The open-data platform "Open Data Kosice" that collects and aggregates city data online and makes them openly accessible to the public.
- The Mobile Urban Lab, a fully equipped van that travels in the city and plugs into different urban areas collecting data and stimulating public debates on the future of the city.
- Public art interventions and media art installations in public space that visualize urban data collected by the CXI unit making them part of the urban life
- Educational and capacity-building programs offered to both municipal employees (Creative City), graduate students (Creative University), and engaged citizens (Cre-active Citizens)
- Design sprint workshops that put key urban challenges and City priorities into the spotlight and co-create solutions by teaming-up service providers and end-users.
Through the development and the piloting of this new integrated ecosystem, Kosice 2.0 project aims to modernize public service provision, digitize and open up data and information hidden behind bureaucratic processes, increase citizens’ participation in urban matters, nurture the city’s collective intelligence around pragmatic urban challenges, support a new generation of entrepreneurs and start-ups of the IT sector and ultimately help Kosice to reach its next development stage in a knowledge-intensive era becoming a truly creative city.
The project is implemented by a consortium of 9 partners that cover the whole spectrum of the quadruple helix supporting the creation of an integrated model through culture:
- Public Sector: City of Kosice, Creative Industry Kosice (City NPO), K13-Kosice Cultural Centers (City NPO)
- Private Sector: Civitta Slovakia, a.s., ANTIK Telecom, ASBIS
- Civil Society/NGOs: East Coast
- Research Institutes: Technical University Kosice, Faculty of Economics, and Faculty of Arts
The 2nd Kosice 2.0 project journal puts the second year of its implementation journey into the spotlight focusing on the key progress moments and success stories while examining its development trajectory through the lens of the 7 implementation challenges. During this timeframe, the project succeeded in launching and testing almost all of its innovation elements formulating its integrated ecosystem and manifesting the project in its complete form. With its innovation system in place, Kosice 2.0 project started attracting public attention and introducing itself to the broader community and to the City administration with more self-confidence. The results of this blossoming period impacted positively the project’s relationship with the municipality starting infiltrating public sector routines and becoming useful for the City leadership. At the same time Kosice 2.0 project strengthened its international position capitalizing mainly on the strong networks of its lead partner CIKE. This exciting process for the project and the team of partners created a fertile ground to envision the future of the initiative beyond the UIA funding period and the scalability or replication of its innovative elements.
The report is organized into 2 parts. The first one observes the project’s progress mapping the key implementation moments while highlighting their importance to the overall journey. The second part examines the project development trajectory through the lens of the 7 implementation challenges defined by the Urban Innovative Actions experience. It is the result of 2 study visits and a series of online and physical meetings and exchanges with the project management team, project partners, and stakeholders throughout the year including a collective reflection and learning-through-exchange meeting held in Kosice during the second study visit.
3. Progress Update
At the beginning of the second year, the project encountered significant external challenges. The reintroduction of public measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 created pressure on the team when organizing public events early in the year. Simultaneously, the influx of Ukrainian refugees resulting from the Russian invasion in the neighboring country added up to the external challenges faced. Despite these difficulties, the project remained steadfast in its development trajectory, delivering critical outputs throughout the second year. This was made possible by the project's agile, swift, and robust project management team, led by the experienced partner CIKE. The team managed to adapt to the challenging context, leveraging digital tools and incorporating innovative approaches within its range of activities and services:
- Certain events and activities were successfully transitioned to virtual spaces, such as design sprints and the public presentation of the Open Data platform. In other cases, the project team seized the opportunity to provide training to beneficiaries on digital tools, as demonstrated in the educational program for municipality employees, Creative City. Additionally, activities of the Challenger Urban: Creative Acceleration Program boot camp were opened to the international community, hosting startups from across Europe in a digital format.
- One of the project's hackathons was specifically dedicated to developing solutions and digital products aimed at supporting the Ukrainian population.
- Certain areas within the project's central premises were repurposed as emergency units to provide assistance to transit Ukrainian population.
- Project partners organized the transformation of existing buildings into temporary shelters to accommodate refugees.
Despite the formidable challenges faced during the second year, the project exhibited resilience and adaptability, ensuring the continuation of its mission. The progress of Kosice 2.0 during the reporting period can be highlighted through the following key moments: