Porto Innovation Hub

Using Innovation for City Transformation

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Using Innovation For City Transformation

The purpose of the Porto Innovation Hub is to involve local people with innovation projects.To transform the city and develop an innovation ecosystem it is crucial to engage with citizens.This creates new opportunities for innovation, contributes to the city’s development and encourages citizens to be the driving force of innovation.



Cities are living laboratories! The Porto InnovationHub (PIH) creates opportunities for local citizens to get involved with the city‘s local innovation ecosystem. The aim is to demonstrate the potential of innovation in the city’s transformation, highlighting the direct impact that this relationship has on the improvement of the quality of life for citizens, the creation of skilled employment, and on the potential to project the city towards new levels of development


The City of Porto set up PIH in 2016. Managed by a group of 10 professionals from across a range of sectors, they have devised a programme of activities, including a range of consultation events to inform the city strategy and deliver the priorities of the PIH. The events range from focus groups with citizens to large stakeholder events covering 4 themes: Living in Society; Sketching the City; Towards Sustainability; Transforming the Economy. The sessions include:

• Innovation group sessions for the general public and schools; the history of innovation in Porto

• Labs and practical workshops in partnership with the universities, research and development organisations and innovative projects;

• 3 exhibitions: City Park; Sea of Innovation- Transforming the Economy.

• 25 talks on themes related to the 4 main topics;

• Presentations and visits to innovation related places around the city under the heading of‘Stepping Out’.

• Partnership events developed with Porto Innovation Hub´s partners e.g. Porto Tedx


Success factors

The PIH works because a wide range of stakeholders worked collectively and they were able to promote the events and opportunities to a wide audience.

In the first round 53 activities were held. The events brought together 4,300 participants with 190 speakers and moderators. Success was due to the informality of the events and venues along with good marketing and promotion.


PIH engaged with a wide range of stakeholders including Porto’s ecosystem stakeholders e.g. universities and research and development centres, existing companies and start-ups, incubators, co-working spaces users, local and regional public organisations, the cultural and arts community, city service providers and municipal companies.A full list of partners can be found athttp://www.portoinnovationhub.com/en/partners

Challenges & solutions

• Implementing a new semi-permanent space with activities.

• Developing a dynamic programme.

• Consolidating and reinforcing the network of contributors.

• International networking.

• Ensuring good communications between PIH and the stakeholders.

• Creating a programme committee and a workforce for the PIH.

• Bringing knowledge and experience of similar community engagement.

• Activating international networks.


The main achievements focus on the participation

of citizens, developing new dynamics within the ecosystem and creating stronger links between the city and the innovation ecosystem. The interest of the first phase of the PIH has been positive and as a result the municipality has decided to create a permanent space.

Porto has also witnessed its innovation and entrepreneurship ecosystem supporting new companies and creating new employment opportunities.

More information

Margarida Campolargo