London has been named the best city in Europe to develop and grow digital “tech for good” for social and environmental challenges.
According to new research from global innovation foundation Nesta, the European Digital Social Innovation Index (EDSII) and interactive map produced ranks 60 European cities on 32 indicators which are important for digital social innovation (DSI) and tech for good to thrive.
The indicators are grouped into six themes: Funding; Skills; Civil Society; Collaboration; Infrastructure; and Diversity and Inclusion.
The EDSII found that London has a significant lead over the second-best city, Amsterdam, with Copenhagen, Stockholm and Paris rounding up the top five.
London ranked highly across all themes but fared particularly well on skills, with a high number of research institutions working on subjects relevant to DSI, and on collaboration, with a strong culture of collaboration between civil society, the tech sector and the public sector.
The EDSII focuses on ecosystem factors within the ranked cities. Nesta, in partnership with DSI4EU partner Barcelona Activa, has also published an Ideas Bank of case studies from across Europe of how governments, funders and other stakeholders are supporting DSI, tech for good and civic tech.
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“Digitial social innovation has enormous potential to tackle our biggest challenges and empower citizens,” said Matt Stokes, senior researcher of government innovation at Nesta.
“The European DSI Index is the first attempt to systematically understand what factors help DSI and tech for good initiatives to develop, grow and become sustainable, and how urban ecosystems across the continent compare.
“Given London’s role as the tech capital of Europe, it’s perhaps not surprising to see it is also the best place for digital social innovators to develop, with a high concentration of skills, research, funding and infrastructure.
“But a lot more can still be done to proactively support the field through funding, support and awareness-raising.
“We’re calling on policymakers to build upon these great results to boost investment and advocacy for tech for good, and to learn from other leading cities across Europe as profiled in our Ideas Bank.”
London’s chief digital officer, Theo Blackwell, added: “We’re hugely proud that London has been recognised in this way.
“Technology is playing a critical role in meeting some of the big challenges facing our city and at City Hall we’ve worked hard to ensure this potential is being realised for the benefit of all Londoners – from crowdfunding platforms to open calls to the tech sector to solve problems in housing, transport and air quality.”