Axel Josefsson


592,000 (2018)

Lead Innovation Officers

Jonas Kinnander, Maria Stromberg

Innovation is helping to:
  • Improve resident outcomes

  • Improve internal government operations

  • Anticipate and manage future challenges

  • Improve and attract partnerships with various industries

  • Support the achievement of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development

Critical success factors:
  • Dedicated innovation team

  • Culture of innovation in city

  • Support from outside city administration

  • Leadership from Mayor

Spotlight on innovation in Gothenburg

As part of an EU-funded project, the Fossil-Free Energy Districts (FED) aims to reduce the city of Gothenburg’s energy consumption and dependence on fossil fuels by leveraging technologies such as photovoltaics, heat-pumps, and wind energy. Together with nine other partners, this innovative effort also builds a unique local market for electricity, district heating and cooling. FED has solidified Gothenburg’s leading role in developing energy solutions. With a total budget of €5.8 million, FED has benefited about 15.000 end-users and continues to be active beyond the project’s official conclusion in 2019.

Vision and approach to innovation capacity

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

Policy areas that Gothenburg is focused on

Social inclusion and equity

Social inclusion and equity: On a strategic level, Gothenburg's Program for an Equal City works hand-in-hand with their Program for Innovation (especially process and method innovation). The executive co-ordination group for an Equal City Program meets on a regular basis to implement and support long-term cross-sectoral innovative processes, which sometimes involve city residents. Another example of method innovation is "The City Where We Read for Our Children" project designed to encourage reading with and for children in their early age.

Transport/Mobility: Together with the industry, academia, research institutes and and other public companies, Gothenburg works to create new fossil free energy solutions for public transport, goods transport and construction equipment. The city also creates "one door in concept" for companies to use Gothenburg as a testbed for solutions. After testing electrified vehicles and charging technologies, the goal is now to have a completely fossil free fleet of vehicles owned by the City in 2023 and the whole transport system in Gothenburg in 2030.

Policy areas by number of cities

Gothenburg utilizes 9 different innovation skills or roles

Project manager
Data scientist
Communication officer
Community engagement staff
Social scientist
Natural scientist
Business administration
Innovation roles by number of cities

Gothenburg’s innovation work is sprinkled throughout the municipality. The Clusters & Innovation Department of Business Region Gothenburg has over 25 staff dedicated to innovation, working together with the industry and research institutes.

Terms Gothenburg most associates with innovation

Big picture re-thinking

Gothenburg's most common innovation activities

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, Gothenburg 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)
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.
Regional/State/Province/Territorial budget
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.
External funding
External funding
This could include private, philanthropic/non-profit and/or academic/think tank resources.
Non-financial resources
Non-financial resources
This could include staff on loan and/or other in-kind contributions (e.g. materials, infrastructure…)
Innovative financing tools
e.g. Social Impact Bonds, Crowdsourcing

Activities being funded

Idea generation & brainstorming
Investing in digital systems
Investing in physical infrastructure
Paying for services
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

Similar to 61% of participating cities in the 2020 survey, Gothenburg's funding for innovation capacity is also directed towards training staff and building capacity*.

*"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?

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

To improve data use, the city has also developed data partnerships with the private sector, academia and think tanks, to collect and analyze data, as well as with other cities.

Data availability by policy area


Sufficient data


Waste and sewage

Social inclusion and equity

Social welfare/social services


Public works

Policing and law enforcement

Land use

Labour market and skills


Government finance

Environment and climate change


Built environment


Economic Development


Insufficient data

Digital governance

No Response