Oh Keo-don


3,500,000 (2019)

Innovation Website
Innovation is helping to:
  • Improve resident outcomes

  • Improve service delivery

  • Anticipate and manage future challenges

Critical success factors:
  • Dedicated funding

  • Focus on measurement

  • Dedicated innovation team

  • Culture of innovation in city

  • Support from outside city administration

  • Leadership from City Manager

  • Human resource support

Spotlight on innovation in Busan

Designated as one of the two pilot tests for South Korea’s first-ever smart cities, the Eco Delta City (EDC) in Busan aims to become an urban model that helps resolve various challenges of rapid urbanization. Focusing on water management and robotic services, the project is a prime example of innovation-driven design, implementation and governance, and the use of new technologies.

Vision and approach to innovation capacity

Along with 50% of cities surveyed, Busan has an explicit innovation strategy. Similar to more than half of cities surveyed, Busan approaches innovation capacity both from a holistic/macro level, as well as in specific policy areas.

Policy areas that Busan is focused on

Digital governance

Busan is a state-designated smart city and blockchain special district. The city was also designated as an international tourist city this year.

Policy areas by number of cities

Innovation skills or roles

Busan currently does not have a dedicated team for innovation.

Innovation roles by number of cities

Terms Busan most associates with innovation

Behavioral economics
Human-centered design

Busan's most common innovation activities

Taking risks and testing new ideas
e.g. prototyping new programs or models to address a persistent city challenge
Promoting data-driven analytics / public data management
e.g. data storage/analytics; open data; big data
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
Human-centered design
e.g. prioritizing the end-user at each stage of the design process
  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, Busan has dedicated funding to support innovation capacity.

Top sources of funding

Central/federal/national government budget
Central/federal/national government budget
This refers to funding in the form of budget support to city authorities. Example: Stockholm (Sweden) launched the Hub for Innovation, a three-year long project funded by Sweden's National Innovation Authority, Vinnova in 2017. The hub supports a more innovative working culture within the city hall.
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.

Activities being funded

Investing in digital systems
Investing in physical infrastructure
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

*"Training staff and building capacity" is not an option in the 2018 survey, while "Launching or sustaining a project" is not an option in the 2020 survey.

How is innovation measured?

Busan has developed partnerships to promote innovation capacity with other public agencies, not-for-profit organizations, and city residents/resident associations.

To improve data use, the city has also developed data partnerships with academia and think tanks to collect and analyze data.

Data availability by policy area


Sufficient data


Economic Development



Policing and law enforcement

Waste and sewage


Social welfare/social services

Social inclusion and equity

Public works

Land use

Labour market and skills

Government finance

Environment and climate change

Digital governance



Built environment