The CityVerve Open Innovation challenges: seeking new collaborators to build a better city

They say necessity is the mother of invention.

This might’ve been true in the years before digital, but in today’s connected Manchester things are a little different. Nowadays we think it’s collaboration that inspires invention – or as we like to call it, innovation.

And to prove our commitment to this belief, we’re launching the Open Innovation challenges: an eight-week, world-class acceleration initiative for start-ups small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the UK with a vision for innovation using Internet of Things (IoT) technology.

We’re looking for eight start-ups/SMEs to collaborate with us in Manchester to combine technology, data and creativity to tackle some of the city’s biggest problems in areas such as sustainability, traffic congestion and inclusivity.

Four challenge briefs have been created for people looking to enter the competition before the deadline on the 14th of February. They reflect the main challenges facing our city today:

  • Health & Social Care: working alongside NHS Manchester, the winners will create a solution using data collected from home monitoring systems which enables triggered intervention and care for the elderly, to ease the reliance on healthcare providers.
  • Transport & Travel: working with Transport for Greater Manchester, the successful applicants will create an infrastructure or consumer solution that eases passenger experiences or improves confidence in and usage of public transport.
  • Energy & Environment: working with Manchester Science Partnerships, the selected start-ups/SMEs will create a non-intrusive and cost-effective solution that optimises energy consumption and reduces carbon emissions in commercial buildings, using existing building data and data from external sources.
  • Wildcard entry: if you’re interested in getting involved in the project and have a bright idea but not one that fits any of the briefs above, then you can apply as a wildcard. The Open Innovation initiative is interested in additional IoT, data-driven or smart solutions to improve Manchester using the data sources available on the CityVerve platform.

A living, breathing city like Manchester faces a range of problems diverse in scale and complexity. We believe that the best way to respond to these diverse problems is to employ a collaborative approach.

In this way, lessons learned from one area – say travel and transport – can be fed back into another area.

Shared data offers better results for the city than the traditional method of developing new ideas in silos – cutting time and costs while producing a better solution tailor-made for the needs of those living, working, playing in, and visiting Manchester.

But it’s not just the city that will benefit. The start-ups/SMEs who are selected will be able to put their innovations to the test in a real-life situation alongside global leaders in the IoT space.

In addition, Cisco will be offering the opportunity to scale solutions through its global sales channels, while MSP and Growth Studio will provide product development and business masterclasses as well as access to investors in the smart cities space.

The selected companies will receive a £5,000 grant and the opportunity to showcase their technology to industry leaders at the CityVerve demo day later in 2018.

Applications for the four challenge briefs close on the 14th of February 2018, and fast-track selection days will be held on the 15th and 16th of February 2018.

The final selection day will be held on the 5th of March 2018, and the challenge will commence on March 19th before ending in May.

So, if you’ve got an idea that could revolutionise Manchester, make sure to submit an application – and join us as we work towards building the blueprint for smart cities everywhere.

To find out more and to submit your application, visit

January 22, 2018 in News

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