Define and support the implementation of smart territory strategies

The definition of intelligent territory strategies must be based on the priorities of local actors and their specificities in order to devise appropriate economic and contractual models. The implementation of the projects thus defined must be accompanied by the necessary measures for a sustainable transformation: data control, digital mediation, change management and multi-partner governance.

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Putting digital technology at the service of territorial priorities

Many local authorities have made digital technology a fundamental tool in their territorial development strategy. According to the European Parliament's Mapping Smart Cities in the EU study[1], a smart territory is a territory that "seeks to solve public problems through digital technology on the basis of local initiative partnerships involving multiple stakeholders, with the objective of generating more sustainable economic development and a better quality of life".

However, the so-called "smart city" or "smart territory" approaches can be very different from one community to another and highlight different priorities depending on the major causes supported locally. However, it is possible to group the priorities into six main categories:

  • Governance: the management of the smart territory is becoming the result of multi-partner bodies involving public, private and civil organizations. Decision-making is then the result of consultation and allows the co-creation of services with the population. Consequently, the new services are designed to be user-centred (which leads, for example, to the implementation of multi-channel services in a redesigned citizen relationship management). Transparency is becoming another key principle to facilitate the participation of all in decision-making. This is one of the challenges of open data, for example.


  • Environment and climate: territorial strategies based on this objective include smart grids, pollution monitoring and control (air quality, water quality, waste reduction, etc.), renovation of buildings and equipment (e.g. public lighting), as well as efficient use of resources in a virtuous logic of sustainable development and territorial resilience.


  • The economy of innovation and the structuring of the digital sector: the community can encourage the emergence of intelligent clusters and integrated digital ecosystems, in a logic of excellence and knowledge sharing: hosting structure for companies (incubators, nurseries...), third places (coworking, Fab Lab, Maker Space...), living lab, animations (community creation, hackathon, learning expeditions...).


  • Mobility and transport: the aim is to limit the use of private cars, by improving the quality of service and readability of public transport and by promoting soft and collaborative mobility. This requires the implementation of multimodal information systems, making it possible to refocus travel opportunities on users' needs (unified ticketing, Mobility as a service, multimodal route planners).


  • The challenges of society and the creativity of the population: territorial strategies are required to raise awareness and develop the digital skills of inhabitants so that they can appropriate digital tools and participate in the creation of new services. This involves the development of digital education, support for online approaches and the creation of training courses adapted to the professions of tomorrow.


  • Quality of life: strengthening the well-being, health and safety of citizens is also a possible orientation for intelligent territories: leisure provision, access to culture, enhancement of heritage, connected housing, etc.


Tactis supports the digital transformation of territories

The management of "smart" projects leads to the creation of new models of governance and a cultural (rather than technological) revolution necessary to set up a sustainable innovation framework involving local authorities, the academic world, associations (user representatives, integration sector, etc.), entrepreneurs and citizens.

- Intelligent territorial governance placed in a logic of open innovation

The public authority must evolve towards a role of support and trusted third party that collaborates horizontally with all territorial actors. Users' expectations are also increasingly personalized and complex to satisfy and evolve rapidly, as are technologies and the global economic context, hence the importance of initiating within public policies:

  • The culture of "trial and error",
  • Know-how related to rapid prototyping and solution testing, to provide rapid field feedback to reorient and continuously improve these policies,
  • Systematic monitoring and evaluation of projects and policies through the implementation of indicators and data work.

The objective is thus to identify viable economic models that will support the long-term innovation dynamic.

- Organizational changes to be sustained over time

Within local authorities, it is a question of promoting the transition from a vertical organisation in "silos" disconnected from each other (transport, energy, distribution networks, social networks, etc.) to a more horizontal and user-centred organisation. To ensure this cross-functionality and meet the digital challenges of new businesses have emerged: Intelligent City Manager, Digital Officer, Data Officer, Innovation Manager.

Tactis - Smart territoires et nouveaux métiers du numérique

This reorganization requires a change management over time to anchor the changes in a sustainable way. The first lever concerns the acculturation of agents and elected officials to digital subjects. This also involves the creation of communities or networks of internal digital referents. They can benefit from training, experience sharing, common resources and participate in the co-construction of projects.

Tactis at the service of intelligent territories

Tactis supports intelligent territories in the definition and implementation of strategies and action plans that take into account the elements defined above, namely:

  • The priorities of the territories and their specificities,
  • Adapted economic and contractual models that are adapted and able to adjust to future developments,
  • The essential elements to support this transformation: data management, digital mediation, change management and multi-partner governance.


Tactis builds diagnoses and recommendations that highlight the specific features and assets of the territory, and proposes innovative responses to local challenges (lack of public transport, risk prevention, security, dispersion of public policies, etc.). The digital policies thus put in place encourage the emergence of new skills and know-how, which will have to be supported to ensure their scaling up.

1] Source: European Parliament (2014). Mapping Smart Cities in the EU

Nicolas Potier

Nicolas Potier

Associate Director
A graduate of Science Po Paris, Nicolas specializes in economic and financial modelling of public-private projects, and leads projects for intelligent territories and digital transformation.


Contact Nicolas Potier

A question about community animation and the prefiguration of third places? Need to remove doubts in view of a future project? Send an email to Nicolas Potier, Tactis Associate Director.

Nicolas Potier

Nicolas Potier

Associate Director Tactis
A graduate of Science Po Paris, Nicolas specializes in economic and financial modelling of public-private projects and leads projects for intelligent territories and digital transformation.
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