Hans Lindberg


129,000 (2019)

Innovation Website
Lead Innovation Officers

Johan Gammelgard, Peter Juneblad, Malin Lagervall

Innovation is helping to:
  • Anticipate and manage future challenges

  • Save costs and improve efficiency within the public sector

  • Improve resident outcomes

Critical success factors:
  • Dedicated funding

  • Dedicated innovation team

  • Culture of innovation in city

  • Engagement with partners

  • Support from outside city administration

  • Leadership from Mayor

Spotlight on innovation in Umea

The gendered landscape tour creatively showcases the municipality’s efforts in transforming Umeå while simultaneously addressing gender inequality. The tour demonstrates successful transformations in physical urban planning where gender perspective is incorporated, while also addressing a range of other gender issues in the city. With Umeå as a starting point, the guided bus tour highlights the gendered power structures throughout the built environment, and how they can be understood and transformed. This innovative method is the first of its kind in Europe and was awarded the URBACT Good practice label in 2017.

Vision and approach to innovation capacity

Along with 50% of cities surveyed, Umea does not have an explicit innovation strategy. Similar to more than half of cities surveyed, Umea approaches innovation capacity both from a holistic/macro level, as well as in specific policy areas.

Policy areas that Umea is focused on

Environment and climate change
Economic Development

Umeå has a number of innovation projects within the area of sustainable and environmental city development (e.g. an innovative integrated mobility system).

Policy areas by number of cities

Umea utilizes 6 different innovation skills or roles

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

Umeå has both an innovation department at the City Manager’s office and several innovation-related teams in different departments. The city has 15 staff working on building innovation capacity.

Terms Umea most associates with innovation

Behavioral economics
Human-centered design

Umea's most common innovation activities

Taking risks and testing new ideas
e.g. prototyping new programs or models to address a persistent city challenge
Rethinking approaches to financing and partnerships
e.g. new public-private-partnerships; collaboration with neighboring jurisdictions
Promoting data-driven analytics / public data management
e.g. data storage/analytics; open data; big data
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
Engaging residents in new ways
Developing new solutions based on digital technologies
e.g. use of drones or smart sensors
  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, Umea 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…)

Activities being funded

Investing in digital systems
Investing in physical infrastructure
Idea generation & brainstorming
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

Umeå’s funding for innovation capacity is generally directed towards enhancing citizens’ participation and dialogue. Similar to 61% of participating cities in the 2020 survey, Umeå'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?

Umeå has developed partnerships to promote innovation capacity with other public agencies, private firms, not-for-profit organizations, city residents/resident associations as well as other international partners and cities.

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

Built environment


Economic Development


Policing and law enforcement


Government finance

Waste and sewage

Social inclusion and equity

Labour market and skills



Public works

Land use


Environment and climate change

Social welfare/social services

Digital governance

No Response