Startups have the solution for Uppsala’s challenges
July 7, 2021
Two great collaboration stories that show how the municipality has been working towards innovation together with startups matched through Ignite Public.
Uppsala Municipality has been a member of Ignite since 2019. During the last two years, they have been matched with over 70 small, innovative companies and initiated many pilot collaborations with startups such as Parlametric, Nagoon and Bumbee Labs.
In this article you will read about two fantastic collaboration stories where startups have helped both the municipality’s cultural department and Destination Uppsala innovate despite the current pandemic times.
Gamifying Pelle Svanlös’ hometown
Destination Uppsala had a specific challenge in mind when they met 6 startups through an Ignite Matchday last October: to find innovative solutions that could help them gamify the way locals and visitors explore the city.
“We wanted to create experiences around Pelle Svanslös (known in English as Peter-No-Tail) in his own hometown. Uppsala needs to create more experiences to complement the ones we already have. There are many spots connected to Pelle around the city and we wanted to create cool experiences there,” says Helena Bovin, Marketing Director at Destination Uppsala.
“The fact that Destination Uppsala entered Ignite with a real and prioritized challenge made our work of scouting and preparing startups much easier. Of the 1500 startups we have in our database, we were able to present eight from all over the country. Among them was a startup from Umeå that turned out to deliver exactly what Destination Uppsala was looking for,” says Marit Finch Westin, Business Developer at Ignite.
This Umeå startup is Exenze Active, which develops engaging experiences using augmented reality, geolocation and IoT. The startup developed a game in collaboration with Thnx Innovation, Morningdew Media, Bidnerdonethat och Josefine Egerzegy, that was released on June 5. Visitors can play the game on their own mobiles at Carolinaparken and Stadsträdgården in Uppsala.
“To be able to meet Destination Uppsala through Ignite was a turning point for us at Exenze Active. This project has helped us strengthen our product, our service capacity and our processes. We can now deliver at the level of capacity that municipalities and large companies demand. This project has generated many new opportunities for our company and now we see a bright future ahead,” says Richard Lindberg, CEO at Exenze Active.
Uppsala Municipality is working on two projects for 2029: the application to become the European Capital of Culture and a housing exposition that will take place the same year.
“The projects have different goals and target groups, but they are mainly related to the same topics. The Capital of Culture will explore how the city has changed, for good and bad, with its growth. The housing exposition will show the innovative work that has been done while developing the municipality in a sustainable way,” says Patric Kiraly, project manager and responsible for Uppsala’s application to become European Capital of Culture 2029.
In order to develop the concept that will be part of the application, it is necessary a large process for co-creation between the municipality and various partners – including academia, private companies, public institutions and citizens.
“Culture is an important part of a people’s life. It shapes who you are and who you want to be. Therefore, it is extremely important to understand the residents’ view of themselves in relation to the cultural environment they are in, especially since Uppsala municipality intends to interpret what the city is and what it wants to be in our application,” he adds.
During the ongoing pandemic, it has been difficult to get a comprehensive picture that captures both the local spirit of the times and at the same time condenses the residents’ vision and image of the future of the city. That is when Ignite comes into play to help the municipality’s culture department solve this challenge by matching them with innovative startups.
“This challenge requires new ways of thinking and an innovative approach,” says Johanna Wiklander, Strategic Community Planner at Uppsala Municipality.
The challenge is to develop new and creative ways to dialogue with its citizens, companies and other key actors. The ideas that are collected will contribute to both the application to become the capital of culture and as inspiration for the design of housing exhibition.
“I’d like to develop a digital co-creative dialogue method where the ideas from key actors such as stakeholders and companies are compiled together with the ones from inside the municipality,” says Patric.
The goal of this work in collaboration with Innovationslabbet is to publish a first report in August 2021 based on the results collected with the help of a new effective solution.
“We’d also like to explore if this type of co-creative process strengthens participation in the development of our municipality,” he concludes.
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