Urban Innovations – activities

Our task: to use innovation and experimentation to accelerate transition for the territories.

The Urban Innovations hub engages in three main activities: :

  • “Experimentation Territories”: supporting territories and businesses in trialling innovative solutions under real-life conditions so that they can be tested, improved and then deployed on a wider scale. Our first partnerships on experimentation programmes include Paris La Défense, Euroméditerranée, La Réunion, etc.
  • “Evaluations of major urban innovation programmes”: establishing mechanisms for the environmental and socio-economic evaluation of national or regional urban innovation programmes. Efficacity is currently involved in supporting two major national programmes, “Ville de Demain/EcoCités” and “Territoires d’innovations”, and is also assisting French development agency AFD and the Indian government with similar programmes in India.
  • “Mutual aid circles”, a new type of network based on mutual aid and sharing to help territories’ operational staff accelerate their sustainable city projects.

Our offerings and expertis

Our offerings are tailored to four issues frequently encountered by territories keen to innovate in the field of the sustainable city, by asking each of them three key questions:


  1. Innovation strategy
    • What do you hope to achieve?
    • What are your priorities?
    • What specific organization are you putting in place?
  2. Inspirational approaches
    • How to create collaborative dynamics?
    • How to work transversally?
    • How to encourage users to participate?
  3. Concrete projects
    • How to source and select the right projects?
    • What legal, contractual and financial framework to adopt?
    • How to implement in real terms?
  4. Evaluation
    • How to define the criteria of success for a project?
    • What indicators to use?
    • How to evaluate a major programme consisting of different projects?

Sustainable city innovation strategy

We help you lay the groundwork in order to:


  • Clarify your intentios
    • What is your vision?
    • What result are you aiming for?
    • What would make you proud?
  • Draw up the roadmap
    • What is of the greatest importance to you?
    • What would be your deployment strategy?
    • Where would you like to start?
  • Define roles and processes 
    • Who should do what?
    • Do you need to create new roles? Adapt existing positions?
    • What processes would help you?
  • Create the necessary tools
    • What tools do you need?

Inspirational approaches

In support of your approach, we help you to introduce methods to encourage engagement by all concerned.

  • Collaborative dynamics
    • Create transversality and cooperation
    • Mobilize individuals and organisations
  • User-centred approaches (design thinking)
    • Identify the irritants for users
    • Formulate issues, generate lines of action
    • Prototype and test solutions
  • Participative workshops
    • Create and run productive, stimulating workshops (5 to 150 participants)
  • Agile methods
    • Prototype solutions
    • Test and learn
  • Network organization
    • Bring operational staff from territories together at mutual aid and support circles.

Implementation of concrete projects

To put your strategy into action, we help you to implement concrete projects (products/services) on all sustainable city themes, such as:

Energy (renewable and recovered, lighting, etc.), quality of life (urban cooling, nature in the city, air quality, water management, etc.), low-carbon building, sustainable mobility, local dynamics (stakeholder federations, community organization, etc.).

  • Sourcing inspiration
    • Interviews with interested parties, intelligence reports, learning expeditions
    • Identification of innovations
  • Calls for projects
    • Drawing up technical, legal and financial specifications
    • Assessment of submissions
  • Legal and contractual frameworks
    • Identification of contractual scenarios
    • Clarification of roles and responsibilities
  • Technical support and R&D
    • Calling on the experts within our ecosystem
    • Use of Efficacity software tools
  • Project monitoring
    • Project steering
    • Coordination

Evaluation of innovation projects and programmes

We help you learn about and improve your projects and major programmes, by introducing evaluation processes:

  • Assistance with implementation
    • Development of evaluation methods shared between all the partners
    • Creation of sets of indicators (macro, thematic, strategic)
    • Drafting of operational files (data source, calculation method)
    • Provision of an online monitoring tool and a library of indicators
  • Process monitoring
    • Raising awareness of evaluation, mobilizing actors
    • Assisting project sponsors with evaluation
    • Identification of factors for success and obstacles
    • Annual reviews, barometers
  • Types of evaluation possible 
    • Technical evaluations, physical metrics
    • Evaluations of uses (qualitative, quantitative)
    • Environmental evaluations (carbon balance, LCA)
    • Economic evaluations (cost-benefit analysis)