Kostas Bakoyannis


665,000 (2016)

Lead Innovation Officer

Amalia Zepou

Innovation is helping to:
  • Improve internal government operations

  • Improve resident outcomes

  • Save costs and improve efficiency within the public sector

  • Anticipate and manage future challenges

  • Simplify administrative procedures for firms and residents

Critical success factors:
  • Dedicated innovation team

  • Leadership from Mayor

  • Engagement with partners

  • Support from outside city administration

Spotlight on innovation in Athens

Athens has made efforts to bring civil society in decision-making, and in expanding the city’s collaborations with various stakeholders such as universities, the private sector, philanthropic foundations. This collaborative decision-making has taken place throughout a wide range of projects such as the use of school buildings, platforms for collaborating with initiatives related to refugees and grass-root community groups, etc.

Note: The City Innovation Snapshot (PDF version) was produced in 2019 and some aggregate findings have been updated with the latest survey results below.

Vision and approach to innovation capacity

Along with 50% of cities surveyed, Athens has an explicit innovation strategy. Similar to 24% of cities surveyed, Athens approaches innovation capacity in specific policy areas/domains.

Policy areas that Athens is focused on

Social inclusion and equity
Policy areas by number of cities

Athens utilizes 5 different innovation skills or roles

Project manager
Data scientist
Communication officer
Community engagement staff
Innovation roles by number of cities

Athens spreads its innovation capacity in many sectors such as Refugee, Children, Urban Planning, Digital, Culture, Tourism and the city hires external advisors to manage innovation initiatives.

Terms Athens most associates with innovation

Human-centered design
Resident engagement

Athens' most common innovation activities

Engaging residents in new ways
Developing new solutions based on digital technologies
e.g. use of drones or smart sensors
Facilitating organizational change within the municipality
e.g. silo-busting; new internal performance management; staff training and capacity building on innovation tools or techniques; reforms to contracting or procurement
Rethinking approaches to financing and partnerships
e.g. new public-private-partnerships; collaboration with neighboring jurisdictions
  1. 1

    Taking risks or testing new ideas

  2. 2

    Data-driven analytics/public data management

  3. 3

    Engaging residents in new ways

  4. 4

    Developing new solutions based on digital technologies

  5. 5

    Organizational change within the municipality

  6. 6

    Human-centered design

  7. 7

    Rethinking your city’s approach to financing partnerships

How is innovation funded here?

Like 81% of cities surveyed, Athens has dedicated funding to support innovation capacity.

Top sources of funding

International/multilateral institution budget
International/multilateral institution budget
This refers to resources from international and/or multilateral institutions’ budgets (i.e. European Union)
Municipal budget
Municipal budget
This could include, for instance, City Council approved funds; operating budget; a special funding process (bond, Mayoral special initiative funding, etc.); and participatory budgeting / citizen-selected budgeting.
Non-public funding
Non-financial resources
Non-financial resources
This could include staff on loan and/or other in-kind contributions (e.g. materials, infrastructure…)

Activities being funded

Launching or sustaining a project
Idea generation & brainstorming
47 cities
Launching or sustaining a project
79 cities
Idea generation & brainstorming
51 cities
Investing in digital systems
36 cities
Investing in physical infrastructure
30 cities
Paying for services

Athens pays for services with dedicated funding to support innovation.

How is innovation measured?

Athens has developed partnerships to promote its innovation capacity with city residents/resident associations, the philanthropic sector and academia. In particular, Athens has shown its innovation capacity in involving its citizens in solving and co-designing pilot programs.

To improve data use, the city has also developed data partnerships with the private sector, academia, philanthropy, and other cities.

Data availability by policy area


Sufficient data

Housing and built environment



Social inclusion and equity


Digital governance

Insufficient data

Economic Development


Waste and sewage

No Response


Policing and law enforcement


Labour market and skills

Environment and climate change

Public works