Aleksander Saša Arsenovič


110,513 (2018)

Innovation is helping to:
  • Save costs and improve efficiency within the public sector

  • Improve service delivery

  • Anticipate and manage future challenges

Critical success factors:
  • Dedicated funding

  • Dedicated innovation team

  • Human resource support

  • Leadership from Mayor

Spotlight on innovation in Maribor

As part of an EU-funded project, Urban Soil 4 Food aims to turn waste into safe and certified soil that could be used to increase food self-sufficiency and reduce negative environmental impacts in Maribor. The project is built around four aspects: material circle (soil production from waste), food circle, open innovation circle, and knowledge circle. The open innovation circle seeks to set up an agri-living lab for testing and piloting innovative concepts such as micro urban gardening and urban soil rehabilitation, as well as helping start-ups with a focus on circular economy.

Vision and approach to innovation capacity

Along with 50% of cities surveyed, Maribor does not have an explicit innovation strategy. Similar to 24% of cities surveyed, Maribor approaches innovation capacity in specific policy areas/domains.

Policy areas that Maribor is focused on

Public works

Maribor is conducting various EU founded project on Innovation such as the UIA Urban soil 4 food, H2020 Ciderela, Interreg Winpol and CWC. The city has developed Wa web site for citizens called "izboljšajmo Maribor" (Let's improve Maribor). The public water company has water invoices also in Brile writing for blind citizens, public buses are equipped with devices for wheelchairs, etc.

Policy areas by number of cities

Innovation skills or roles

Maribor does not have a formal department dedicated to innovation. However, innovation works are sprinkled throughout the municipality with staff members from different departments working on innovation in various areas such as health, mobility, circular economy.

Innovation roles by number of cities

Terms Maribor most associates with innovation

Resident engagement

Maribor'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
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, Maribor 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.
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 physical infrastructure
Investing in digital systems
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, Maribor'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?

Maribor 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 academia and think tanks to collect and analyze data, as well as with other cities.

Data availability by policy area


Sufficient data

Land use

Social welfare/social services

Waste and sewage


Economic Development


Government finance

Environment and climate change


Public works

Digital governance

Insufficient data


Social inclusion and equity


Built environment

No Response


Labour market and skills

Policing and law enforcement