Organizing innovation contests for public procurement of innovation: A case study of smart city hackathons in Tampere, Finland

Matti Pihlajamaa (Corresponding Author), Maria Merisalo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

Abstract

Public procurement of innovation is a key policy instrument for improving the quality of public services and achieving wider benefits for society. Recently, innovation contests have re-emerged as a means to procure innovative new solutions. There is, however, limited understanding of how innovation contests should be organized in the public sector. In this study, we investigate the organization of two smart city hackathon-style innovation contests in Tampere, Finland. We examine the contests’ structure and goals, the definition of a problem statement, the motivation of potential participants, and their outcomes. We find that innovation contests may be used for, not only sourcing novel technologies, but also for engaging in conversations with companies, and developing an understanding of local problems and potential solutions. We further discuss the issues that arise from the integration of multiple goals in a single contest. We provide practical guidance for organizing innovation contests and evaluate their role for public procurement of innovation and local development.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages19
JournalEuropean Planning Studies
Early online date28 Feb 2021
DOIs
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 28 Feb 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Keywords

  • Innovation contest
  • public procurement
  • innovation
  • hackathon
  • smart city

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