Digitalisation for Attractive Places

April-November 2018
A development and co-creation project for Nordic cities and regions

Digital transformation offers immense opportunities for making places more attractive for residents, talent, investors and visitors.

Yet many places struggle to foster a strategic approach to digitalisation, to involve stakeholders and citizens in creating new solutions or to understand which technologies that offer most benefits. This poses the question:

How can digitalisation be used to create more attractive places?

The project will help you – cities and regions – to become frontrunners in digitalisation to become more attractive and take the lead in advancing the digital innovation. The purpose of the project is to:

  1. Provide participants best practices and tools for digitalisation of cities and other places
  2. You will learn, network and share experiences with your Nordic peers
  3. Gain new knowledge and tools though workshop, co-create innovative work methods
  4. Learn about the potential digital solutions and their implementation
  5. Prototyping potential solutions with our help

Download prospectus.

Important questions to be addressed:

  • How can different stakeholders – such as city/region, business, academia and social entrepreneurs – collaboratively employ digital transformation in order to create more attractive places?
  • How can the change needed to adopt new technologies and solutions be managed? How can resistance to new technologies be overcome?
  • How can places make open data available to stakeholders and target groups? And what are the risks and pitfalls? How can collaboration be encouraged and risks be mitigated ?
  • How can policymaking and work modes be more agile and innovative in order to unlock the full potential of digital technologies?
  • How can technologies/methods such as Virtual Reality (VR), Augmented Reality (AR), Big Data, blockchain and Machine Learning (AI) be used for making a place more attractive to residents, companies, investors, talents and tourists?

Join this Nordic digitalisation co-creation project and benefit from learning from best practises via research, workshops and experience sharing! 

Contact us to learn who has joined the project.

Figure: Outline of the Nordic digitalisation programme. 3 people per city/region can join as a team.

Why this project?

Cities and regions aim to grow their economy, innovation capacity and improve the welfare of their citizens. This is why digitalisation is high on their agenda and is close to becoming a hygiene factor. Many services provided by cities are expected to be provided digitally or have digital applications to improve their impact. Whether it is healthcare, social services, traffic, utility systems, elderly care, education or open data for smart cities – digitalisation will affect cities and places, and the services they provide.

In order to attract or retain residents, investments, visitors and talent cities need to push their capacities to innovate and work towards being more attractive. This requires a vision which can be shared and communicated, a strategy that guides priorities, and the right tools to move from words to action.

You will be working on exploring and developing these tools and practical examples.

More information

Target groups

If you and your city are:

  • Wondering how to activate your work on digitalisation to become more attractive as a place.
  • Working on your next strategic ICT investment
  • Analysing which most acute needs can be met with digital solutions
  • Monitoring areas with future rising costs that digitalisation can alleviate
  • Struggling to understand what users – the citizens – need

Or perhaps you are already:

  • In pursuit of the right applications and output from existing digital strategy
  • Trying to crystallise and connect scattered digital initiatives into a framework and vision

Then we invite you to participate in this timely and innovative development project for the digitalisation of Nordic cities and regions.

Digitalisation in a place setting is both about strategy, change leadership and collaboration, as well as digital solutions and the technology they are based on.


Future Place Leadership, a Stockholm based place management consultancy, will provide the strategic framework and management tools. ustwo, a Malmö and London based digital product studio, will provide the insights into digital tools. Together, we will provide all the necessary facilitation to get from words to action.

Structure and method for the project

Once the project starts, participants will benefit from:

1) Start-up meetings and briefings – online or live, we will “meet” and discuss with each partner the expectations. We will learn to know our partners and what their needs, strengths and objectives are. Aligning expectations and getting the full picture provide the best possible basis for a good project.

2) Research phase – by this stage we know the full composition of the partners (geographies, organisation type and size, challenges and expectations). Against this background, we will prepare our meeting and do research for this, to plan the conference and workshop agenda in terms of examples, tools, digital solutions to discuss and test.

3) Workshop – we will gather for a seminar. We will present and discuss results of best practice research and experience sharing. On top of knowledge input and networking the result of this meeting will be creating a number of potential prototype projects (new work modes, solutions or tools) that participants to this programme can consider to start implementing. Future Place Leadership and ustwo as facilitators will summarise and document seminar output and finalise the materials so that developed prototypes can be put to the test.

4) Prototyping period – participants will each choose 1-2 projects ideas or digital solutions/applications they would like to pursue during and after this project. For 3-4 months you will be testing an idea. We can we offer coaching support (virtual or physical or both) during this period, to help partners fine-tune and pivot prototypes and overcome the obstacles they might face when trying to implement new changes to their organisations.

5) Follow-up – we will assess progress and exchange experiences: lessons learned and challenges and success factors experienced. We will discuss how to scale more successful examples and how to make this last beyond this project.

Workshop methods

Interactive lectures, workshops on co-creating, design thinking. After workshops: application prototyping, pivoting ideas at home and then following up with us.

Design thinking as illustrated below can be used as the main co-creation method. The project will focus on co-creating in new ways, interactive discussions, sharing experiences, learning from best practices, ideation and process design.

Who are we looking for?

No technical ICT knowledge or background is required for participation. The project is open to all Nordic professionals working with economic development, place branding/marketing, destination/place development, investment promotion and/or digitalisation.

The project provides strategic and operational input. Those that want to move ahead and implement new solutions as well participants that want to work with refining existing work are welcome.

Some clients may join because they will get the chance to share experiences and tips and tricks about how to run digital transformation projects from likeminded people from other locations. Others may emphasise testing prototypes.

We will involve mainly public organisations which work with the development and management of cities and regions, be they

  • city governments/local authorities (e.g. city planning, digitalisation/IT, economic development, culture and education and tourism departments)
  • Regional Development Agencies
  • Investment Promotion Agencies (local and regional)
  • Destination Management Organisations (tourism),
  • cluster organisations and facilitators of innovation
  • start-up ecosystems and
  • other city economy stakeholders.

Places are limited.


Please contact us for more details regarding project content and practicalities.

Project participants pay a fee according to their category and number of inhabitants of their location. Up to 3 participants per partner:

  • National government agencies and ministries: 12,900
  • City/regional organisations (more than 100,000 inhabitants): 9,900
  • City/regional organisations (between 50,000-100,000 inhabitants): € 7,900 
  • City/regional organisations (less than 50,000 inhabitants): € 5,900 
  • Clusters and science parks: € 5,900

Get in touch with our

Marcus Andersson