Expert article
Kosice 2.0 Košice, Slovakia
Modifier 21 December 2023

Innovation teams in public service: Unpacking the case of the CXI unit

The CXI unit in Kosice
The CXI unit in Kosice
Unpacking the case of the Citizens Experience and Wellbeing Institute (CXI) in Kosice among government innovation units globally.

Kosice 2.0 project is a holistic approach that manifests the remarkable power of culture and the creative sector, especially when they transcend their traditional boundaries, to spark innovation and foster sustainable development in cities. At the core of the project lies the development of a new urban research and innovation unit, the Citizens Experience and Well-Being Institute, or CXI. The CXI is a special unit positioned at the intersection of city government and society, developed to help advance the innovation capacity of Kosice municipality by leveraging its ability to engage directly with the dynamic urban movements of the city and the emerging private sector economy. It conducts research to address the evolving challenges and opportunities within the city, utilizing creative methods that combine art and new technologies to collect, interpret, and openly share urban data. Highlighting and making urban data publicly accessible, the CXI team then works with the departments of the local municipality in crafting evidence-based policies, enhancing public services provision, and supporting strategic activities.

Adopting a citizen-centric perspective and a multi-stakeholder approach, the unit provides a collaborative platform that brings together the local public administration with other key stakeholders to work collaboratively developing and testing solutions that can improve the life of the citizens.

The CXI is one of the examples of such special teams that have been introduced in the operational and strategic framework of cities helping transform their capacities to innovate and address increasingly complex challenges. For about two decades, public sector innovation progressively became a brand-new sector globally. In 2014 Bloomberg Philanthropies and the NESTA Foundation published a report outlining 20 best practices of innovation teams across the globe. Today, this sector is diverse and vibrant, featuring an array of special units, semi-independent organizations, and academic teams supporting cities to innovate. They are united by common approaches and methods such as design thinking, a multi-stakeholder approach, open innovation, and new ways of harnessing urban data and they have become indispensable infrastructures that help shape resilient, innovative, and inclusive cities. 

Associated with experimental, cutting-edge, and out-of-the-box mindsets, and balancing their position both inside and outside the public administration, those units follow a unique development journey and face common challenges, aspirations, and anxieties.

By focusing on the development of the Citizens Experience and Wellbeing Institute in Kosice and examining 5 other globally acclaimed relevant teams from cities such as Vienna, Boston, Turin, Bratislava, and Paris, this series will explore how these special teams become indispensable infrastructures for cities to transform their capacities to pioneer and innovate. 

Our first podcast episode takes a deep dive into the case of the CXI uncovering the story behind its creation, its interactions with the city administration, the impact it has achieved, the challenges faced, and future aspirations. This is a unique opportunity to trace the development trajectory of such an innovation unit from its early beginnings.

Associated media

Innovation teams in public service: The case of the Citizens Experience and Well-Being Institute (CXI)
Charis Biskos