Dagur B. Eggertsson


122,141 (2015)

Lead Innovation Officer

Kristinn Jón Ólafsson

Innovation is helping to:
  • Generate new sources of revenue

  • Simplify administrative procedures for firms and residents

  • Improve service delivery

Critical success factors:
  • Human resource support

  • Leadership from Mayor

Spotlight on innovation in Reykjavik

Reykjavik’s My Neighborhood is a collaborative project between citizens and the city administration for prioritizing and allocating funds for new, smaller-scale projects and maintenance in the district of Reykjavík. The project is based on ideas on deliberative democracy, participatory democracy, participatory budgeting, promoting public participation in democratic discussions and decision-making beyond what is normally seen in a representative democracy. Experience from previous years is used to improve the process, together with expert services and input from other cities all over the world that have practiced participatory budgeting.

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

Policy areas that Reykjavik is focused on

Built environment
Policy areas by number of cities

Reykjavik utilizes 4 different innovation skills or roles

Project manager
Communication officer
Innovation roles by number of cities

As an independent body, Reykjavik’s dedicated team for innovation – Reykjavik Smart City – is led by a project manager.

Terms Reykjavik most associates with innovation

Resident engagement

Reykjavik's most common innovation activities

Engaging residents in new ways
  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

Its innovation activities also include taking risks and testing new ideas; facilitating organizational change within the municipal administration; human-centered design; and rethinking the city’s approach to financing and partnerships.

How is innovation funded here?

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

Top sources of funding

Municipal budget
operating budget/grants
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

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

Reykjavik also invests in digital systems and physical infrastructure.

How is innovation measured?

Reykjavik has developed partnerships to promote its 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


Economic Development

Housing and built environment



Environment and climate change



Social inclusion and equity


Insufficient data

Digital governance

No Response

Policing and law enforcement

Waste and sewage

Labour market and skills

Public works