Everybody is an innovator: two years of experiments in innovating the city

The legacy of the URBACT Network Innovato-R

Like other cities, Torino is facing new societal challenges having an enormous potential as innovation “activators” because of the strong intense concentration of competencies, high-educated people, resources, and networks in the city.Therefore, the local administration has been trying to contribute to the development of our local social innovation ecosystem by entering into the innovation value chain as an enabling and facilitating actor, provided that it can enter into a dialogue with the other players in the ecosystem and be a proactive player itself. The Innova.TO project engaged in 2014 the ‘city‘s staff in a collaborative/cooperative “competition” – a call for ideas – to propose innovative projects that could improve the City Administration performance by reducing waste and the enhancement of resources.

In a few words, the spirit behind Innova.TO was to encourage its 10 thousand employees to see themselves as potential Innovato-R. Building new forms of engagement in which human resources are not just used for their function as a management tool of the institution, but are instead supported, stimulated to become agents of change, promoters of innovation capable of generating well-being and development for their community is the only way to improve the efficiency and efficacy of any organization, including public bodies.Moving in an environment where it is possible to propose ideas, develop and implement them allows the employee to play a leading role in the work environment, adding creativity to the competence. At the same time, if the work organization takes on the meaning of smart community, carrying out its own activity will no longer be just a duty to be fulfilled, but an opportunity to manifest one’s skills in the hope of contributing to the construction of a new way of working in its organization.

The InnovaTO initiative has been recognized as a best practice at the European level. It has merged into the European project “Innovato-R” (2018-2021), thanks to the Urbact Transfer Network Program, which sees the City of Turin as the lead partner to transfer the practice of the “InnovaTO” initiative to other six European administrations: Cluj-Napoca,Métropole du Grand Paris,Murcia, Porto, Rotterdam, Veszprém.