Wonsoon Park


9,780,000 (2017)

Innovation Website
Lead Innovation Officer

Hyo Kwan Jeon

Innovation is helping to:
  • Improve service delivery

  • Anticipate and manage future challenges

Critical success factors:
  • Dedicated funding

  • Dedicated innovation team

  • Leadership from Mayor

  • Support from outside city administration

Spotlight on innovation in Seoul

Seoul has been supporting a series of community spaces where residents, neighborhood, youth, and social entrepreneurs can convene, network, and share ideas. In this regard, Seoul has built a big innovation complex called Seoul Innovation Park where innovative players (entrepreneurs, not-for-profit organizations, youth and experts) can develop collaborative partnerships to promote innovative activities. Over 200 stakeholders are actively working at the 'Youth Hub', 'Social Economy Support Centre’, and 'Local Community Support Centre' inside the Park.

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

Policy areas that Seoul is focused on

Environment and climate change
Social welfare and social services
Policy areas by number of cities

Seoul utilizes 5 different innovation skills or roles

Project manager
Data scientist
Communication officer
Community engagement staff
Innovation roles by number of cities

As an independent body, Seoul’s innovation work is being led by the Director of Social Innovation Division with more than 100 staff members in around 20 teams. In addition, the city also operates committees involving civil experts and citizens to seek better solutions for social challenges.

Terms Seoul most associates with innovation

Resident engagement

Seoul'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; promoting data-driven analytics; developing new solutions based on digital technologies; and rethinking the city’s approach to financing and partnerships.

How is innovation funded here?

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

Top sources of funding

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

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

Seoul also invests in digital systems and physical infrastructure.

How is innovation measured?

Seoul has developed partnerships to promote its innovation capacity with 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 to collect and analyze data.

Data availability by policy area


Sufficient data


Economic Development

Housing and built environment

Policing and law enforcement


Waste and sewage

Labour market and skills

Environment and climate change


Social inclusion and equity


Digital governance

No Response



Public works