At the CITYxCITY Festival in January, OASC delivered on a long-standing commitment and announced its Enterprise Partnership Programme. With partners from around the world joining the programme, we wanted to take pause to welcome the first partners and provide our members with some notes on the programme and partnerships in general.
OASC is not a typical network. We are a group. A global community of cities, towns, and rural areas who share the mission, passion, drive, and energy to shape the historic process of digital transformation of the societies we all live in and belong to. We are – and always will be – completely free to join and universally accessible to all cities, towns, and rural areas of planet Earth, irrespective of size, location, stage of development, culture, etc. It is an essential part of our DNA. It’s who we are and what we are. Open. But it’s not about us. It’s about making things happen. About making the right changes. It’s about being the change – made possible.
OASC has only one category of membership: Members. Members are our cities, towns and rural areas. All the rest are partners. OASC is designed to ensure that governance ultimately resides with the demand side, and to guarantee to the supply side they are not talking to ‘supply in disguise’. As OASC Minimal Interoperability Mechanisms (MIMs) steadily continue their march onto the global stage, existing members are welcoming new members to build a world where an organised and addressable local demand side is a key driver of global change, bringing value to all sides of the market in the process.
The primary partners to the cities are Core Partners, who constitute the Board of Directors together with the cities. Our core partners are world-renowned institutes such as IMEC, Connected Places Catapult, Fraunhofer IAO, Aarhus University, and Business Tampere, who are all bringing their incredible skills, tech, and know-how to the table.
Strategic Partnerships are forged with national and global not-for-profit entities who can help advance the OASC objectives from a broader standpoint. Strategic Partnerships stand on merit and are typically governed by an MoU.
The Enterprise Partnership Programme, available since January, is designed for the type of work we have already been doing with solution providers and innovators. It is the most effective, transparent, and fruitful way for companies to work and interact with our members. It is a partnership to achieve things of mutual interest between the partner and OASC HQ, and on things that make sense across the board for members and/or partners.
In the wake of the partnership programme, we are setting up an infrastructure to publicly and transparently provide details on the projects and needs that proceeds are being used towards. This has the benefit of clarity towards our membership and stakeholders, and that of additional recognition and spotlight for the partners. We will further outline the initiative to our members in the upcoming Council of Cities meetings and General Assembly.
In the interest of being comprehensive, it is worth noting that we will at a later point in the year kick off our Solution Provider Support Programme geared towards SMEs. We are currently and firstly focusing on onboarding their solutions onto the CITYxCITY sister catalogues. The catalogues are an open, free, neutral, non-commercial, global community service – by, for, and between cities.
We never have and never will do plain commercial sponsorships or that kind of thing. In our view, activities like that would muddy the waters and slant things towards marketing budget size, instead of the inherent merits of solutions and their fit to local problems. We’re not about that. We’d rather companies invest in innovation and in serving the needs of cities than in competing for their attention. For OASC, the most important thing is that important work gets done.
We are and always will be happy to communicate about the value we create together with groups of people of all types and sizes, even if we are not ‘official’ partners. We cherish authentic engagements like the ones we have with countless organisations. It is a model of free engagement and independence that works for us and our members, and one of the reasons we outperform anyone in terms of impact ROI.
In all these years, we’ve never really spent anything on outbound marketing. Growth has come naturally and will continue to come, chiefly because of the value of what we do and how we do it – as a community.
What a beautiful, impactful road our growing group has travelled in 6 years, and what a perspective we have created for cities, towns and rural areas all around the world to get things done, to get it right, and to do good for their people. Let’s take a moment to celebrate that, and to thank the core and strategic partners who have supported our members and mission from the start or joined us along the way. And of course also to warmly welcome the companies who have signed up for our Enterprise Partnership Programme since its launch. We will be focusing attention on the enterprise partners in the coming months, and are kicking off the programme with Amazon Web Services (AWS) – the very first Enterprise Partner to officially join the programme.
AWS and OASC will explore ways in which cloud technologies can address cities’ needs for openness, interoperability, ownership, control, fairness, and local economic development. As part of the cooperation, AWS will support cities, towns, and rural areas wanting to use cloud solutions on their journey towards open and interoperable digital transformation. AWS and OASC have already organised a series of high-level city roundtable discussions and a dedicated session at the CITYxCITY Festival. We will publish the results of these activities in the next months.
Please join the team at OASC HQ in welcoming AWS to this wonderful community of great people focused on the right important things, and stay tuned for more updates in the coming weeks and months. And please pencil in 16 June 2021 for our General Assembly that will feature a string of announcements focused on providing the kind of value our members have grown to expect from us. And as always, our team will try to go above and beyond that 🙂
See you in June, and please feel free to reach out in case of questions, remarks, or ideas.
Since 2017, Davor is the CEO of Open & Agile Smart Cities. His ambition is to make change possible – for all cities, towns and rural areas on planet earth.