Home > Digital technology in four urban domains > Stimulate local economic development > Define a roadmap to boost local economic development

Stimulate local economic development

Step 5

Define a roadmap to boost local economic development


It is in the interests of local authorities to position themselves above all as facilitators, mediators and promoters of third party dynamics.

Among the more sustainable actions, and in order to scale up, the offer of work spaces dedicated to digital innovation is a key issue. In a context of often limited financial resources, they can start to encourage the emergence of third places Third places Correspond to social environments other than home and work. These are physical spaces where individuals can meet, come together and exchange informally in response to the needs of a community present. Third places all have their own personality, depending on their location and the community that is present there. Co working spaces are considered specific third places. (coworking Coworking Type of organisation of work comprising two notions: a shared work space and a network of workers (community) encouraging exchanges and opening. Coworking spaces are considered third places. ) or the creation of innovative activity centres (potentially in connection with training organizations) run by third party stakeholders (local companies and banks) involved in digital technology. Furthermore, a municipality simply making available premises that are equipped and connected, in the form of cooperative work spaces, can also be an easy, inexpensive first stage towards facilitating working conditions, meetings, collective emulation and therefore the structuring of the local digital ecosystem.

Lastly, local authorities with more financial resources could help to fund certain buildings dedicated to innovation (incubators Incubators Support structure for business creation projects. Provide know-how, a network and logistics during the first stages of the life of the company. Incubators address companies that are very young or in the course of being incorporated.
Incubators stand out by the services they propose, whether or not they are profitable or by the type of projects they target.
Since the mid 2000s, “second generation incubators” have appeared known as accelerators, offering aid for the creation of a firm in exchange for shares in the new company.
or accelerators) and/or the associated offer of services to start-ups.

Local economic innovation schemes in favour of the digital economy
Inspired by Roland Berger, 2017

Intermittent events can also allow local authorities to engage their ecosystem on specific questions or problems. Often organised in the form of innovation contests (hackathon for example), these schemes allow a local authority, possibly in partnership with traditional private firms, to select the innovations they wish to support and the methods of providing support. It may be a question of a preliminary stage prior to the integration of an incubator, the presenting of a prize so that the company can expand, or support in the form of bootcamps Bootcamps Inspired by American military training camps and sometimes called “start-up week-ends”, these are intensive coaching and learning sessions of a few days among peers, to boost entrepreneurship projects.

, training or mentoring over the innovation development period.

Practical exercise

Define a roadmap for encouraging the use of digital tools in local economic development

List the main constraints on the development of start-ups

  • Human resources: are skills lacking in development, innovative methodologies, user design, commercial product design?
  • Technical resources: is there adequate computer ownership, work spaces and connectivity? Is there enough data available?
  • Financial resources: do entrepreneurs have trouble contacting banks and investors, making their products attractive and credible to financial backers?
  • Administrative resources and managers: are procedures too long, complex and restrictive or unsuitable for digital innovation?

Define interventions favourable to innovation

If the aim is to foster the emergence of start-ups, should priority be given to:

  • offering premises and conditions for working and collaboration;
  • facilitating procedures for setting up a business;
  • making sure valuable data is available;
  • calls for projects accompanied with subsidies or seed capital?

If the aim is to boost an existing ecosystem and make openings sustainable, should emphasis be placed on:

  • bringing traditional and innovative economic sectors into contact to develop collaborative solutions via open innovation, forums and trade fairs;
  • training and employment of skilled young people by creating universities/start-up centres;
  • organising competitions around public data to make it more visible and open up markets?

DataCity: open innovation system
Casablanca, Morocco

A municipality orients innovation towards the resolution of public urban problems.

In 2017, the town of Casablanca partnered with the company NUMA to set up the DataCity initiative, already experimented in Paris in 2015. This is an open, nine-month innovation programme concerning the municipality’s urban problems and challenges to seek concrete solutions on site.


The solutions proposed were prototyped by start-ups, in collaboration with the programme partners (RATP Dév, Casa Tram, Inwi, Lydec, Michelin, LafargeHolcim, city of Casablanca). In a co-construction approach with the municipality of Casa, the latter made data and internal expertise available, as well as concrete experimentation fields. The programme allowed the creation of opportunities for medium-term commercial partnerships between firms and start-ups.

The intellectual property of the solutions developed remains in the hands of the start-ups so that they can be the first beneficiaries of the programme.

Eight Moroccan start-ups were selected, including, for example, Kezakoo, which develops training materials for building applicators to support improved quality in the building industry in Casablanca.

Lessons learnt

  • With few means, the municipality can be at the heart of a partnership approach allying start-ups, firms and inhabitants.
  • Over a period of nine months, the local authority engaged in a rationale of stimulation of the local economy.

Share: Linkdin Google + Twitter Facebook