100ideasZGZ: Towards a "zero ideas wasted" city
City/Region : Zaragoza City Hall , Spain

“100ideasZGZ” is the civic innovation programme aiming to connect bottom-up ideas with the city itself. As a whole, the programme represents “a zero waste of ideas paradigm”, in which good ideas are identified, filtered, evolved through crowd-wisdom, and are then transformed into real pilots whose impact is disseminated back to the community through the power of artistic representation of urban data. This in turn fosters a cultural shift in citizens towards city making. “100IdeasZGZ” connects bottom-up ideas from civic communities with the technical skills of local geeks. An essential part of 100IdeasZGZ is “CrowdfundingZGZ”, which allows the funding of projects at the prototype stage.

Agendas addressed
Urban mobilityBiodiversityPublic space
Local economies and employment
Pathways followed
  • Involve citizens through participatory implementation
  • Encourage local private and civic engagement
  • Apply innovative financing approaches
  • Pursue a shift towards a circular economy
  • Prepare policies for socio-cultural changes due to innovation
Civic Hackathon - Agora phase

Urban mobility, revitalisation of neighbourhoods and unemployment are high priorities in Zaragoza's urban agenda. On the other hand, the generations inhabiting Zaragoza are the most informed and best educated in history, and they demand a higher degree of participation in city matters. In parallel, the capacity of the City Hall, responsible and accountable for the planning and management of city services, has been hampered by the tough economic context and subsequent staff hiring restrictions. In this context, the City Hall has a shifting role from leader to facilitator of urban innovation, and has decided not only to open new facilities such as the “Open Urban Lab” to carry out collaborative city making, but also to deliver new smart city tools such as Zaragoza's Citizen Card and to launch new programmes such as “Participatory budgeting” or “100ideasZGZ” to form an effective ecosystem of urban innovation.

In Action
Prometeo: Open Source Energy group

"100ideasZGZ" implements a whole urban innovation cycle aiming to promote a social change in attitude towards "city making". Therefore, the facts and figures that illustrate the process are more qualitative than quantitative, and are related to the actual sentiment of engagement and empathy between the citizens and its city:

- Civic hacktahon. When it comes to smart city initiatives, too often technology appears as the answer, but we fail to pose the relevant questions. Our civic hackathon tackles this problem by gathering together civic communities, city hall staff, university students, neighbours and entrepreneurs to find the right questions first, and to launch subsequent urban challenges to solve them. More than 20 ideas have already come out of this process in two years and are already in different phases of implementation. It is important to note that civic hackathons are accesible to non-technical public: no technical skills are required;

- Co-creation of solutions. Valuable ideas enter the "Open Urban Lab" open innovation dynamics. These sessions require the participation of relevant stakeholders and professional mentoring to make sure that sessions develop into actual solutions. Design thinking and lean start-up approaches, combined with entertaining dynamics, are often used at this stage. 10 solutions have been worked out at the lab, involving more than 500 individuals throughout its design process. One of the co-created solutions is "Comparte ZGZ" ("Share Zaragoza"), a mobile service that, according to its promoters, "enables a citizen to share tickets and discounts (bus, theaters, etc) with a visitor, friend or relative";

- Prototyping hackathons, whose main goal is to match the developers’ community skills with the needs of the teams working on physical products or digital services. The “Prototyping Hackathon” has a post-production phase, in which the best teams work on-line until they deliver final and stable software. An additional impact of this phase is the improvement and enlarging of the city open data catalog, pushed by the needs of developing teams;

- "CrowdfundingZGZ". The last stage of "100ideasZGZ" is to fund the implementation of prototypes in real conditions. CrowdfundingZGZ additionally enlarges the community supporting the different projects and provides further ligitimacy for the city hall when it comes to deciding which projects should be scaled into pilots. The city "doubles" each euro received by succesful projects. On its first campaign, more than €50,000 were mobilised to fund 3 succesful prototypes, engaging more than 200 micro-funders.



The city started "100ideasZGZ" in 2015. Since then we have been able to give back some important results to the different communities in Zaragoza, as a pay-off for their committed engagement:

- The playground of a public school has been completely recreated and improved through the project "Imagina tu Patio"

- "Ecohub", a "last mile" delivery service, eco-friendly and socially responsible, has been designed

- "Guerrilla Beat", a programme for street performances to enhance the public visibility of local shops, has been funded

- "Educazero", a set of educational materials and programmes to promote energy saving practices for kids, has been produced

- "BiciSur", a new set of public parking spaces for bikes to increase intermodality between the railway and the private bikes in the southern neighbourhoods of the city, has been co-created

- "Want it!", a mobile service interwined with the "Zaragoza Citizen Card" comprising offers, discounts and loyalty services for local shops, has been launched

- "La Cantina", a collaborative space for drinking coffee and sharing knowledge inside "Etopia. Center for Arts and Technology", has been implemented

- "Localizate en ZGZ", a system to match business ideas with vacant offices at ground level, has been defined.

These are the most tangible results derived so far from "100ideasZGZ". However, more intangible outcomes, like the engagement level of civic communities participating on the programme, or the acquired knowledge about different urban fields, are even more important.


"100ideasZGZ" is little by little achieving some small but important goals, both qualitative and quantitative. On the qualitative front, the project is becoming of increased interest among the main innovation stakeholders in the city:

- The University is actively contributing to the process by adjusting some of its subjects and research around the co-creation processes at "100ideasZGZ". This is how the process "Re-creating the Zaragoza Citizen Card" was achieved.

- The business community of the city is also committed with the program, sponsoring it and providing additional funding.

- Non-technical communities are also engaged and already benefiting from the co-creation processes. The project "Imagine the playground of your school" is an example.

- "100ideasZGZ", alongside with the "Participatory budgeting" programme and the "Open Data Policy", are establishing a powerful and coherent narrative about collaborative city making, a narrative that goes beyond technology to address the city's priorities (mobility, sustainability, employment and neighborhood revitalisation) through civic innovation.

On the quantitative side, almost 1,000 citizens, with a variety of roles and engagement levels, have participated in the programme so far. The programme has been able to mobilize €50,000 exclusively for funding small scale prototypes and 8 areas of the city hall have been collaborating (mobility, energy, entrepreneurship, IT, smart city, participation, public markets and social services), strenghening cross-sector approaches towards smart city projects.

The programme is being monitored in line with the CITYKeys framework. CITYKeys is one of the horizontal projects of Horzion 2020 specifically targeted to provide a set of KPIs to measure the transition of projects and cities towards a smarter, more participatory and more innovative Europe.

Challenges and lessons learned

"100IdeasZGZ" is an ongoing journey through collaborative city making. As such, it goes beyond the mere use of technology to improve city life and produces a continuous flow of knowledge that feeds back into the process. For instance, we have learned that:

- Cities need human APIs to make city making accesible and understandable;

- It is crucial to have innovation mediators, speaking the language of citizens, to lower the barriers that technology imposes;

- The start-up path to innovation is important, but there are other valid paths, such as "workers' cooperatives";

- "Engaging-by-doing-and-learning" is a highly-effective participation tool.



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