International digital ideas competition


Worldwide cities face similar challenges. This has become even more visible through the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. The pandemic situation has generated inspiring creativity and solidarity.

How can we transfer innovative solutions from the pandemic to the future?
How can we promote sustainable urban development for the common good?

To tackle these questions, the German Federal Ministry of the Interior, Building and Community initiated the
international, digital ideas competition #SolutionsForCities. In a two-day virtual Challenge Lab, current challenges of cities were identified together with German Smart City model projects and with partner cities of the International Smart Cities Network (ISCN). These challenges are now published and open for submission of solutions >>

The Competition

After the Call for Solutions, the participating cities or municipalities select the most suitable solutions for their challenges and compete in the Scalathon as a team with the respective solution providers.

The Scalathon is the core of the ideas competition and will take place from November 23rd – 25th 2020. During the three-day virtual workshop, selected solution providers will work closely together with the respective city or municipality, further develop the digital solutions and adapt them to the concrete local challenges. The winning teams of the ideas competition will be announced at a virtual event in early December.


Selection Criteria

The following criteria are the benchmark for selecting of the winning teams for the possible implementation process after the competition. The criteria serve as a guiding framework.

Strengthen the sense of community
This criterion contains the following aspects/topics:

  • Foster identification with neighborhoods and strengthen public spaces
  • Contribute to an enhanced quality of life
  • Enhance social cohesion and foster solidarity

Foster citizen participation, inclusion, and open innovation
This criterion contains the following aspects/topics:

  • Start by understanding the needs of people
  • Follow a human-centered approach by developing for and with people
  • Create user-friendly and barrier-free solutions in order to foster inclusion

Contribute to urban development goals
This criterion contains the following aspects/topics:

  • Provide tailor-made solutions in response to local needs
  • Embed solutions in existing and/or future urban development processes
  • Promote cross-sectoral approaches in accordance with integrated urban development

Improve municipal services
This criterion contains the following aspects/topics:

  • Follow responsive, sensitive, and agile approaches
  • Foster digital capacity development
  • Enhance the municipality’s ability to act and reach out to the people

Promote green and healthy cities
This criterion contains the following aspects/topics:

  • Strengthen environmental awareness and empower local bottom-up environmental action
  • Strive for carbon-neutral, resource-friendly, and climate-resilient cities
  • Promote urban health

Strengthen the local economy and digital ecosystem
This criterion contains the following aspects/topics:

  • Foster and collaborate with the existing digital ecosystem
  • Connect local economic actors and enhance collaboration
  • Consider supply chains and commodity flows on different levels to enhance local provision

Address privacy and security
This criterion contains the following aspects/topics:

  • Follow the standards of the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
  • Safeguard cybersecurity standards and provide urban practitioners with guidance on responsible data management
  • Raise general awareness among citizens about the implications of data sharing through online services

Design for scalability, adaptability, and transferability
This criterion contains the following aspects/topics:

  • Build on and refine existing knowledge
  • Prioritize and publish open source codes roles and competencies
  • Prioritize and publish open standards

If you have any questions concerning the competition, please don’t hesitate to contact the #SolutionsForCities team: solutionsforcities@giz.de




November 9, 2020
Program dates Nov 2, 2020: 9:00
Organizer GIZ
Website Visit website
Africa, Antarctica Region, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Asia, Australia and New Zealand, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Cuba, Dominica, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, El Salvador, Europe, Fiji, Grenada, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Kiribati, Mexico, Micronesia (Federated States of), Nauru, Nicaragua, Northern America, Palau, Panama, Papua New Guinea, Paraguay, Peru, Saint Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Suriname, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu, Uruguay, Vanuatu, Venezuela
Sectors EdTech, HealthTech, ICT, Mobile, Smart city solutions