Co-creating a business model approach for cities

There is an increasing need for innovative ways to explore and exploit opportunities for digital transition in the urban context. Digital transition challenges are existing related to city services, processes, structures, policies and regulations. For cities, the business model approach could be a way to perceive, design and execute actions regarding their digital services. Urban digital transition involves continuous provision and utilisation of digital services for citizens and other stakeholders with appropriate business models that are scalable, replicable and sustainable. 

The Partnership’s goal was to help cities to bring business model thinking to their digitalization work by providing knowledge of what business model thinking is and how cities could benefit from it in practice. Also, a business model framework for cities for evaluating, comparing, selecting and improving digital services was to be elaborated.

The partnership interviewed city stakeholders from different European cities, three questionnaire rounds were made for European city stakeholders. The first version of a practical online tool for cities was created. The online tool aims to help cities to identify, map, and rank: (a) their needs and opportunities for developing digital services; (b) new digital services’ value creation, value capture and value sharing potential and mechanisms to increase the efficiency and quality of these services; (c) current and to-be -developed competitive advantages for building scalable, replicable and sustainable ”smarter city” digital services. Also, several conference and journal articles were written. 

Thus, during the partnership, we were able to create the first theoretical model for smart city business models. In the future we wish to test the model in practice.


Value creation and capture in smart city platform
(463.27 KB - PDF)
Business model approach for Smart cities
(300.86 KB - PDF)
Opportunities, Values and Advantages: Smart Cities as platforms
(124.59 KB - PDF)
Sari Perätalo and Petri Ahokangas Martti Ahtisaari Institute, Oulu Business School, University of Oulu
Smart City and Simplicity? Modular Business Models for Smart Cities
(119.96 KB - PDF)
Sari Perätalo, Petri Ahokangas, and Saara Pekkarinen Martti Ahtisaari Institute, Oulu Business School, University of Oulu
Opportunities, values, and advantages in Smart cities – case Oulu
(270.47 KB - PDF)
Sari Perätalo, Petri Ahokangas, Oulu Business School, Martti Ahtisaari Institute
Presentation Cities forum 2017
(884.87 KB - PDF)
Presentation Business model approach for cities
(4.46 MB - PDF)