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Paris, France

Urban Lab of “Paris and Co”: how a city guides and stimulates innovation on its own territory

Thematic experimentation programmes to guide and stimulate the prototyping of solutions by young entrepreneurs.

Paris&Co is the economic development and innovation agency of the city of Paris. It specialises in the themes of attractivity and innovation to create jobs and economic value. Urban Lab is the urban experimentation laboratory of this agency. Its mission is to organise and accompany innovative solution experimentation projects on Parisian territory, and in this way help entrepreneurs test their prototypes and services in a real situation.

Paris&Co proposes a micro-donation and technical support to the entrepreneur for testing in real conditions, evaluating and then deploying.

Launched in partnership with the city of Paris once a year, programmes explore a theme by selecting a dozen experiments for each edition. The city chose to experiment thematically smart urban furniture (2010-11), improved air quality (2017-2018), convenience retail (2015-2016). An evaluation, outsourced and performed by evaluation specialists, offers global teaching on the levers of success and obstacles to innovation on this theme.

Based on more than ten experimentation programmes launched in partnership with the City of Paris since its creation in 2010, Urban Lab maintains preferential relations with the operational departments of the city, and with the offices of the deputy mayors.

Lessons learnt

  • A city commits to innovation by defining one theme each year and financing and supporting the winners selected from calls for projects.
  • An ad hoc structure is financed by the city and some committed companies of the territory.

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