20.06.2018 Technology for a better London: The Mayor of London’s Civic Innovation Challenge

20.06.2018 Technology for a better London: The Mayor of London’s Civic Innovation Challenge

On 11th of June 2018 Sadiq Khan, the Mayor of London, launched the new initiative that will match tech startups and SMEs with leading companies and public organisations to solve some of London’s biggest challenges – the Civic Innovation Challenge – as part of his vision to make London the world’s smartest city.

The Civic Innovation Challenge is going to play a major role in establishing London as a test-bed for technological innovation, as well as supporting the development of smart infrastructure and attracting investment in dynamic new businesses. A major city-wide initiative is meant to harness London’s tech talent in tackling some of the capital’s most pressing problems – including poor air quality, climate change, lack of housing, urban design, digital connectivity and London’s ageing population.

Startups and SMEs on the challenge will work together with corporates and public organisations to develop and test their solutions, while receiving business support and mentoring from Bethnal Green Ventures. This is a valuable opportunity for startups and SMEs to validate their solutions directly with potential customers and partners.

About the Civic Innovation Challenge:

  • Each challenge has been developed together with a challenge partner (a leading public organisation or a corporate looking to collaborate with startups to solve those challenges).
  • The challenge partners for 2018 are Transport for London, National Grid, Lloyds Banking Group, Our Healthier South East London STP, Hackney Council and Ealing Council.
  • There are seven Civic Innovation Challenges to solve, targeted at reducing inequality, tackling climate change and supporting London’s ageing population:
  1. Dementia Services
  2. Active Travel
  3. Electric Vehicles
  4. Delivering Affordable Homes
  5. Financial Inclusion and Digital Skills
  6. Loneliness and Isolation
  7. Physical Activity


Examples of the challenges include:

  • Inequality: Lloyds Banking Group is searching for creative solutions to tackle inequality by increasing financial inclusion, which is shown to restrict people’s economic opportunities and make it harder to move out of poverty. The projects will be aimed at helping Londoners access banking and other services as well as helping them manage their money more effectively.
  • Dementia Services: NHS trusts in south east London will search for partners to help develop a digital archive of material reminiscence therapy designed for Londoners of a Black, Asian and minority ethnic (BAME) background. This therapy uses video, audio and images to trigger long-term memories in dementia patients, but currently services tend to only be relevant to white Londoners;
  • Inequality and climate change: to tackle inequality and climate change – and make the city more liveable – TfL is looking for tech startups to help encourage all people to walk more instead of using polluting forms of transport, as well as solutions which can help TfL deliver homes across London, in line with the London Plan.

The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said: “A year ago I announced my ambition to make London the world’s leading smart city. Today I am proud to unveil my vision for making that ambition a reality. We need a step-change in how we harness innovation for the benefit of all Londoners.

“Many of London’s advances in the application of data and smart technologies are globally recognized. We have clearly taken great steps but I want us to do even more to meet the needs of Londoners.

“As one of the world’s leading technology hubs, we need to be bold and think big, to experiment and try things out that have not been done elsewhere. I see London’s future as a global ‘test-bed city’ for civic innovation, where the best ideas are developed, amplified and scaled.

“To solve the biggest problems our great city faces, I am calling for an ever-more collaborative approach than ever. We need our public services, major universities and technology community to mobilize their resources in new ways and partner with us to make London a fairer and more prosperous place.”