Zoran Janković


279,631 (2016)

Lead Innovation Officers

Tjaša Ficko, Janez Koželj, Jelka Žekar, Zdenka Šimonovič

Innovation is helping to:
  • Improve service delivery

  • Simplify administrative procedures for firms and residents

  • Improve internal government operations

Critical success factors:
  • Dedicated funding

  • Dedicated innovation team

  • Leadership from Mayor

Spotlight on innovation in Ljubljana

Ljubljana obtained the title of European Green Capital in 2016 as a city promoting sustainable development. One of the selected innovation examples is the “innovative paper”. In response to the issue of Japanese knotweed (an invasive non-native plant), the project aims to prevent excessive overgrowth of the plant and reuse it for beneficial purposes. The project was jointly developed by the municipality, the Pulp and Paper Institute, Snaga, the University Botanic Gardens and the Re-generacija collective. The program has produced paper out of Japanese knotweed collected by citizens. As a result, the city has collected 3,200kg of plants and produced 415kg of paper. Furthermore, the city now produces paper bags, notebooks and city magazines.

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, Ljubljana does not have an explicit innovation strategy. Similar to 24% of cities surveyed, Ljubljana approaches innovation capacity in specific policy areas/domains.

Policy areas that Ljubljana is focused on

Environment and climate change
Policy areas by number of cities

Ljubljana utilizes 7 different innovation skills or roles

Project manager
Data scientist
Communication officer
Community engagement staff
Experts in specific fields
Innovation roles by number of cities

The experts work relate to circular change, smart city, energy efficiency, and economic development.

Terms Ljubljana most associates with innovation

Bold leadership

Ljubljana's most common innovation activities

Taking risks and testing new ideas
e.g. prototyping new programs or models to address a persistent city challenge
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
Human-centered design
e.g. prioritizing the end-user at each stage of the design process
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, Ljubljana has dedicated funding to support innovation capacity.

Top sources of funding

Multilateral institution 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.

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

Ljubljana also invests in digital systems and physical infrastructure.

How is innovation measured?

Ljubljana has developed partnerships to promote its innovation capacity with other public agencies, private firms, not-for-profit organizations, city residents/resident associations, and international partners from EU co-funded projects.

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

Housing and built environment

Insufficient data


No Response

Economic Development

Policing and law enforcement



Waste and sewage

Labour market and skills

Environment and climate change



Social inclusion and equity

Public works


Digital governance