Despite severe difficulties posed by the pandemic, the DIACCESS project is well on track:
- The first round of Innovative Public Procurement is being finalised;
- Companies have been selected for two challenges (one to develop a smart snow cleaning solution for roads, and one for a smart school heating system) and are now being contracted;
- The project’s Digital Lab developed several prototypes, among which a chatbot prototype to assist citizens that apply for a building permit, and successfully hired and trained unemployed trainees;
- The IT platform is active now.
The project faced key challenges in the domain of communication, both externally (to find and motivate suppliers and explain them how this type of procurement is different) and internally (to make sure that city departments adopt the method and learn how to formulate open challenges), but they have been largely successfully addressed. It remains a challenge, however, to engage end users more in the design of new digital innovations, and to monitor and evaluate the outcomes of the project.