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07 September 2021

Small Giants Go Large


The Small Giants initiative continues to play an important role to provide a strong voice for small to medium-sized cities within the European Smart Cities Marketplace to rebalance the trend of focusing on larger cities. Raising the profile of such cities across Europe will harness their collective power for mutual benefit and accelerate the pace of positive change.

With your input and support, we plan to:

  • Raise the profile of SMCs at the European level
  • Facilitate SMC input to policymakers at the EU level and help shape funding and support mechanisms
  • develop a collaborative network to focus on common challenges, share experiences and expertise, and access project funds to stimulate scale market adoption of appropriate solutions

So, what’s been happening during 2021?

Back in February and March, we undertook some informal research with cities, including interviews with city Mayors, by asking “6 simple questions” (see picture). The research identified the challenges and opportunities faced by small to medium-sized cities as well as some common themes of interest.

It is clear from the findings that smaller cities find it hard to be heard (“one of many”) and lack experience, expertise, and resources in some key areas. They often lack the critical mass in attracting significant partners and investment and are not seen as a first-choice partner for projects involving renowned research institutes, large businesses, governments and so on.

The key themes of interest were identified as:

  • Circular City
  • Societal Insight and Engagement
  • Mobility Transition
  • Digital Responsiveness
  • Systemic Innovation
  • «The Humble Lamppost»
  • Market Engagement
  • Performance Management

We plan to focus on these individual themes through a series of workshops. The first of these, held in June 2021, focused on Digital Transformation, and developed a consensus on the role of digital transformation in small and medium-sized cities. A set of practical actions were developed to turn the idea into reality.

We plan to hold a second workshop during October 2021 focused on the Circular City. If this is a topic of interest to your city, please contact me via the e-mail address below.


Similarly, if you are interested in finding out more about the Small Giants, please get in touch.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Trevor Gibson

Smart City Leadership and Development Manager

Opportunity Peterborough.