Fredrikstad Municipality

Smart City challenge

With the advent of mobile phones and the Internet, local governments are increasingly communicating with their citizens through mobile phone texts, social media and e-mail.

Within the next ten years, it is likely that cities and municipalities world-wide will communicate with their citizens with tailored digital multi-platform means of communication. One can imagine that citizens will have one or more apps that will let public authorities have interactive and automated ways of notifying citizens of important, useful or even relationship-building information, and that the same app will let the citizen give feedback to their authorities, including data points that only can be crowdsourced from citizens. An inspiration for such apps is likely to be taken from the B2C commercial world of e.g. e-commerce and loyalty programmes, allowing for i.e. machine learning techniques to optimise the communication.

Problem roots: Such systems will require well-structured and facilitated data, innovative use of unstructured, linked open data, as well as personal data about citizens that local government does not normally have but can obtain within the remit of the GDPR directive. We cannot know in advance exactly what kind of data will be needed, or why. Nevertheless, we can – and need – to make some qualified guesses n advance in order to stimulate the developments of such systems.

Many cities around the globe are already working on creating similar concepts. However, if each city want to have this produced today, they are likely to have such systems produced for current local needs and possibilities. This – in turn – means that each city (and thus their taxpayers) will basically pay for such customised systems themselves, most often not allowing for the the innovation that competition normally offers.

Main obstacles:

  • Identifying and facilitating open data, APIs and systems – in the right order and at the right time
  • Creating a common arena and platform for this particular co-operation and work

Consequences of the problem / what will happen when the problem is solved: If we don’t solve the problem, it will stifle innovation and make this aspect of co-creation unattainable for a quadruple helix approach.

If we solve the problem, it will lead to speedy innovation, save tax payer money, and make it possible for citizen to get just the right product, for the cities to deliver just the right service, and for business to find just the right business model.

Existing solutions: So far this is an idea for a project. If we can start it as a co-operation between a handful of Nordic quadruple helix players, it can grow from there. In Norway there is a project call “Min Side” on its way, maybe there are similar projects in other Nordic countries? How can we integrate and adapt the approaches?

Gard Jenssen
Fredrikstad kommune
Programme Manager
What is the city looking for?
  • Interested partners
  • Funding
  • Knowledge

The dream scenario is to form a Nordic quadruple helix consortium and set this up as a long-term project.

Also, we are looking to find out how other cities have approached this problem.


  • If you are a city: How do you think you will communicate with citizens (people or businesses) 5 years from now?
  • If you are a citizen or a business: How would you like to communicate with your city administration 5 years from now?
  • If you are a business: What would be your needs for data, standards and platforms if you envision e.g. to create a city app for citizens 5 years from now that would be the main city app (serving both public and commercial needs for citizens and businesses)?
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