Leuven has recently joined iKEN, a global co-creation and ideas platform that harnesses the power of human connection to innovate new solutions for cities to improve lives and build fairer, more inclusive societies.
iKEN connects Europe’s leading cities of innovation to researchers, innovators, entrepreneurs, policy-makers and investors world-wide to develop fresh ideas, share best practice and unlock the power of co-creation to transform innovation policy and practice around the world.
Innovation was once the exclusive domain of big cities like Amsterdam or Paris. But increasingly, the locus of innovation shifts towards mid-sized cities, which are finding that their size is not so much an impediment to innovation as it is an asset. There, innovation is driven by tight-knit networks, in which stakeholders share resources, align their goals, and strengthen each other’s ideas.
Leuven is at the forefront of this new wave of innovation. Through citywide networks like Leuven 2030 and Leuven MindGate, the city is harnessing the talent and expertise of its highly educated and highly diverse population, and using it to tackle pressing societal challenges like climate change. By providing platforms for cooperation, Leuven is offering stakeholders, from local government and research institutions to companies and citizens, the chance to join forces to achieve common goals.
This model of collaborative governance has strengthened Leuven’s innovation ecosystem, making it more agile and more responsive to opportunities. It has built trust and has brought stakeholders closer together. This has expanded Leuven’s capacity for innovation, and has helped it become a more vibrant, more sustainable, and more inclusive city.