Bristol Connected City

Laying the foundations for a smart, well connected future

Unifying Bristol’s smart city capabilities

Bristol City Council has recently brought together its Bristol Operations Centre, Bristol is Open and City Innovation Team, aligning its innovation and delivery capabilities into a single service – the Connected City team.

This will help us to strengthen the city’s digital foundations, so that it becomes well-connected and better placed to deliver the technological innovation we need to keep the city moving, healthy and safe.

Everything the team deliver is focused on ensuring Bristol achieves its exceptional potential, including working collaboratively with partners to co-design solutions with a focus on social value. This will mean Bristol can be a smart city, which is sustainable and prosperous for everyone.

City Innovation Team

Bristol City Council’s City Innovation Team is one of a kind within local government in England. It is a small, diverse team including in-house innovation advisors with expertise in smart technologies, data, human factors, user-centred design, design thinking, social innovation, community engagement and futures thinking. The team works with various services internally across the council as well as city partners to support innovation, tackle urban issues, and implement smart city solutions.

Ideas are taken from inception through to design and development and then deployed into mainstream service delivery. Pilots are run to demonstrate emerging technologies and the potential benefit of these technologies to the city and its citizens. The team’s success lies in their ability to rapidly learn and iterate at the outset before transitioning proven pilots into business as usual operations and service delivery.

Responsible innovation and the role of smart citizens

Cities are increasingly important in the emerging data economy, representing an important source of data that enables modern technology firms and start-ups to prosper. While we want Bristol to become well-connected and data-enabled, there is a risk that this transformation undermines the social benefits that we seek to deliver. In Bristol, we believe that smart cities need smart citizens, and that a people-centred approach will lead to a more inclusive city-wide transformation. However, we also need a broader ethos of responsible innovation to ensure the ethical, societal and regulatory challenges of smart cities are met. We believe a smart Bristol should be about the use of technology and data for public good.

The role of City Innovation in delivering Bristol’s priorities

At the beginning of 2019, Bristol launched its first ever One City Plan setting out ambitious targets for the future of Bristol, decade by decade up to 2050. Partners from across the city’s business, charitable, academic and public sectors all contributed to the first draft of the plan which aims to make Bristol fair, healthy and sustainable with reduced inequality.

Bristol’s One City Plan, along with council and regional strategies, present opportunities to harness new ideas, tools, technology and novel approaches to achieve desired goals. Complex city challenges such as public safety, the needs of older people and effective health and social care will require collective talent, clever technologies and a committed focus to address the real problems that affect Bristol. As a result, the City Innovation Team and wider Connected City team will work with key partners from across the city to collaboratively design, develop and deploy the innovation process and solutions. The team brings an understanding of relevant technology and data solutions, as well as potential partners, funding sources, and the ability to transition new solutions into mainstream public services.

Ambitions for a city-wide innovation ecosystem

We want to nurture a city-wide approach to developing a smart Bristol, which will encourage digital innovation and city-led initiatives across a diverse and inclusive network of institutions, communities, and individual entrepreneurs. It will ensure that smart city innovation is undertaken by the city, for the city. To achieve this we intend to bring together the collective creativity of Bristol to help co-design solutions to complex city challenges. Across Bristol there are rich, diverse, energised communities of innovators and entrepreneurs, all passionate about making Bristol a great place to work, visit and live. Together, our influence on the digital fabric of this city could be phenomenal. Our ambition is to empower community-led innovation and attract the most ambitious and innovative partners from around the world into this ecosystem.

Bristol Connected City

www.connectingbristol.org
+44 (0) 117 352 1055
city.innovation@bristol.gov.uk
City Hall, College Green, Bristol BS1 5TR

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