The Future State Co-Foundery’s inaugural cohort of cities have agreed on which problems to tackle first.
Ten cities have agreed on five priority problems "worth solving" which they will collectively foster investment-backed solutions for. They have already started working on two – citizen-driven air quality control and treatment in the community (related to body fluid balance).
The ten cities are working through the Future State Co-Foundery, which was announced in 2018 by Smart Liverpool, a partnership between Liverpool City Council and investment company Nova.
The cities are Liverpool, Oxford, Almere, Carouge, Paderborn, Tampere, Porto and Surabaya. Two others have opted to remain unnamed.
Paul Morrissey, Chairman, Smart Liverpool, said: “We realised fairly early on that cities don’t compete with each other so a solution in one city will probably be a solution in another city.
“The Future State Co-Foundery looks to explore very early-stage – in fact, what we call ‘vapour-stage’ – [ideas].”
"Cities don’t compete with each other so a solution in one city will probably be a solution in another city."
“We have participation from ten cities globally, from Indonesia to the US. We work with those people to surface problems which are worth solving and to work out which problems are the highest priority,” Morrissey explained. “Then we’ll take those problems and put them through a process of innovation. That process is the Co-Foundery.”
“Eventually, we’ll get a product or a service that all of those cities will have validated [addresses] problems worth solving for them, and then we go and build that product.”
So far, the process for the first cohort of cities has taken 18 months, rather than the intended 12 – and getting diverse cities and people to agree on the most important problem has been the key challenge, Morrissey says, with over 65 problems submitted to be whittled down.
“We’re working on two with some founders to drive those problems to solutions, Morrissey commented. “We will develop products – that is our raison d’etre at the end of the day. We have a very dedicated programme which follows that through mentoring, validation and growth through to scale.
“We do that with many other products in the commercial sector and this particular programme is to do that within the public sector, and specifically within smart cities.”
We will develop products – that is our raison d’etre at the end of the day.
Aside from an original joining fee of £6,000 to establish commitment, cities don’t pay any further money towards the development of solutions.
“They just give time,” Morrissey said. “We put all the rest of the resources into those solutions.”
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