The ongoing project of identification, documentation, evaluation, transfer, adaptation and scaling up of urban innovations is at the heart of Mega-Cities Project. We are now focusing on the next generation of emerging youth leaders and innovators.
We define innovation transfer as the communication of ideas and experiences from one context to another along with their successful adaptation in the new setting.
Through our local teams in each city, we conduct a systematic search for promising urban innovations that are potentially replicable elsewhere and/or could be scaled up into public policy. Finding and documenting these out-of-the-box approaches is the first stage, after which they are assessed according to a set of criteria and narrowed down case studies of the most novel, practical and value-based experiences. These are then disseminated to other cities in the network. Where they meet a pressing need, transfer agreements are made with MCP acting as a good faith broker assisting in the mutual learning process and the adaptation of the innovation in the new setting.
Unlike a database or catalogue of successful urban innovations, we actively seek areas of need in each city and present the decision-maker or activist with a portfolio of several approaches that have worked successfully in other mega-cities. They can select what is most appropriate for their needs. Although much attention has been given to online information exchange, the ‘acid test’ in our work is whether or not the innovations can be transferred, take root, and thrive in their new locations.
Our approach is diametrically opposed to the idea of any one city being the model for others or any one innovation being a “best practice”. Each innovation only needs to be “better” than the system it is replacing. In the life cycle of innovation, once a new idea becomes adapted into public policy and routinized, new challenges tend to appear requiring new innovations.
In terms of “sharing approaches that work” in other places, even an incremental improvement in the logic of problem solving can make a great difference.
TRANSFERS TO DATE:
Internationally, we created “transfer partnerships“ among cities as they selected which innovations they were interested in bringing to their own cities. MCP brokered the transfer and adaptation of over 60 innovations across boundaries of neighborhoods, cultures, countries, political systems and levels of economic development.
Some examples of these transfer partnerships are: