The importance of a bold city council

There are two premises that guide a large part of the activity we carry out at La Pinada Lab:

  • Our reality is complex, and to develop better solutions to our problems, we must cooperate.
  • When acting on the urban environment, it does not make sense to separate the public and private domains.

Let’s see why and how they guide us.

Image of a brush
Photo by shraga kopstein from Unsplash

Open Innovation or how to explore possibilities collaboratively

For decades, there has been a model of innovation called Open Innovation, which was proposed by Henry Chesbrough as an alternative to the secrecy and isolation of 20th century research laboratories, university departments and corporations.

At that time, it was a challenging path that only the most alternative companies took, as it involved sharing knowledge, resources or processes with other entities and this was quite scary. ‘How am I going to show a stranger what I know (and what I don’t know)?’, thought the more conservatively-minded.

Today, however, it has become the only sensible way to solve the challenges we face.

Our reality is systemic. The world is made up of systems of systems, with innumerable cross-connections and nobody has a complete and permanent perspective on things. This makes it essential to rely on each other to develop new ideas.

Our mission is to promote the sustainability of the urban environment, and our main tool for doing so is open innovation.

In this context, at LPL we are promoting our Partners Programme, with the aim of developing a vibrant, active and committed open innovation ecosystem. We target all types of entities, whether they are large companies, SMEs, startups, knowledge centres, civil society, user associations or government bodies.

Photo of a reticular structure
Photo by Bernard Hermant from Unsplash


A la hora de desarrollar una forma más sostenible de vida hay una cuestión fundamental. ¿A qué escala vas a trabajar?

At the simplest level, any one of us can act at an individual scale, making changes in our day-to-day lives. While important, the net result for the ecosystem is the linear sum of each individual’s contribution.

In the case of La Pinada Lab we promote the development of solutions on the urban scale.

Whether it is through new products, services, business models or infrastructures, it is known that many systems switch their mode of operation when a minimum size is reached. This implies that the impact generated can be much greater than adding small actions together.

An olive tree next to La Pinada Lab symbolises this alliance.


All things considered, we are very, very happy to have signed a collaboration agreement with the Paterna Town Council.

Among other things, we believe it is important because it points the way forward.

To create urban innovation, the active participation of public administration is essential. To successfully develop new mobility systems, better ways of generating and storing energy, more sustainable construction methods, or more efficient waste collection, it is essential to define a framework that supports it at social, environmental, economic and – very importantly – regulatory level.

We have confirmed this through meetings with experts (for more information, you can download the conclusions (in Spanish) from the working session we organised in the SALVIA project on public-private partnerships). While we all agree on the importance, few municipalities – like Paterna – are willing to step forward to explore new avenues.

We are proud to know that we have the best people on our team.

Picture of a kid riding a scooter at the Superkilen park
Photo by Sam Poullain from Unsplash

What comes next?

With a medium to long- term framework in place, we will start by identifying, in collaboration with Paterna City Council, the challenges and opportunitiesfor creating more sustainable urban environments.

But identifying is only part of the process.

In addition to pointing out directions, we need to walk the path towards solutions. For our part, we will identify other entities with whom we will prototype, experiment, improve and disseminate new solutions. If this sounds good to you, get in touch with us.

One more thing

If you are interested in the public-private issue, we recommend that you read Charles Landry, who proposes the concept of Creative Bureaucracyas a way of overcoming the hard constraints often found in regulatory frameworks to establish collaborative models with great transformative power.

‘The Creative Bureaucracy’ highlights the human perspective. It understands people are at the heart of the system. It puts the lived experience of working within or with a bureaucracy centre-stage. A bureaucracy is not only a structure or ‘organigram’ with functional relationships and roles. It is a group of people with lives, emotions, aspirations, energy, passion and values.

Charles Landry

Header image: Kevin Wolf from Unsplash


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