INNOCAP kicks-off to inspire innovation across European public administrations

Project partners will adopt disruptive technologies to enhance quality and sustainable public services.


Northern Periphery and Arctic Programme funded and ERNACT network led INNOCAP 'Building public sector innovation capacity' project kicks-off in Donegal, Ireland, on the 21st and 22nd of February.

The INNOCAP project aims to provide enhanced quality and sustainable public services by enabling public sector organisations to lead the adoption of disruptive innovations and digital technologies. By bringing the partnership together for the first time, the team has set-up the foundations for a successful cooperation project. "Partners have started discussions on one of the project activities, the Capacity Building Programme for innovative public sector services, that will prepare public sector organizations from four Northern Periphery and Arctic geographical zones to pilot and further adopt four disruptive public services", explains Jose Manuel San Emeterio, ERNACT Programme Manager and INNOCAP Project Leader. 

The kick-off meeting also served to review the four scenarios where to pilot the solutions developed in the project. The partners will start exchanging knowledge, getting familiar with disruptive technologies and testing them. Lukasz Porwol, INNOCAP project partner and Leader at eGov Unit at Insight SFI Centre for Data Analytics, University of Galway (Ireland), highligts the importance of the exchange of experience process that has commenced: "hopefully, we will inspire other public administrations and actors in Europe to learn from the technologies that we will be using in the project. We want to spread activation and continue innovation in Europe and beyond in these bases, ensuring that innovation is available to public administrations across Europe and we boost European competitiveness in terms of innovation and using disruptive technologies in a practical way for citizens, businesses, for everybody".


Existing disruptive technology experiences in Donegal
As part of the two-day programme, lead partner ERNACT, in coordination with partner Donegal County Council, have showcased the existing experiences using disruptive technologies in public services provision in the county. "We took the opportunity to present some examples of public services delivered through disruptive technologies resulting from projects led by ERNACT and participated by Donegal County Council", adds Jose Manuel San Emeterio.

Among them, INNOCAP partners learned more about the TIDE project, which is using Virtual Reality to enhance historical maritime tourist attractions on Europe's Atlantic coast. The partnership visited Fanad lighthouse to try out ‘The Storm, The Sea – The Saldanha’ VR experience, launched by Donegal County Council, that takes the visitor back to the Napoleonic era when HMS Saldanha and HMS Talbot ships took shelter during strong gales and heavy seas, both heading for Lough Swilly in Donegal. 

Another project that was presented was SMARCTIC, that aims to increase the use of energy efficiency and renewable energy solutions in housing and public infrastructures in remote and sparsely populated areas. Partners have visited Donegal County Museum to see in first hand the smart energy management system service piloted. In addition, they tested a second service, which is still in progress, developed through The Public Link project to co-create public services engaging with citizens through innovative and collaborative ways. This second pilot allows the visitor to enjoy an Augmented Reality (AR) virtual tour in the premises. 

With the EMERGREEN project, which uses emerging technologies for greener communities, partners got the opportunity to hear more about Artificial Intelligence (AI) powered chatbots and coastal stories app and services. Finally, IaaS was also presented to explain how the project is using virtual platforms to support digital transformation of companies. IaaS is increasing the uptake of disruptive technology solutions by SMEs in the North West of Ireland to accelerate their competitiveness and innovation levels.