Globalisation has encouraged new forms of inter-urban competition for access to resources as well as the search for an (endogenous) urban growth dynamic which could compensate for limited public resources. The crisis-tendencies affecting the economic and political capacities of national states have made cities and their hinterlands more significant as nodes in organizing economic, political, and social life than they were before. This has expanded the economic and political space for cities and regions to engage in competition and has highlighted the importance of cities’ differential capacities to reflect on and secure the conditions for economic dynamism (cf. Storper 1997).

This is reflected in the rise of so-called ‘entrepreneurial cities’. The distinctive feature of such cities is their function of promoting the capacities of their respective economic ecosystems in the face of intensified competition in the global economy. This may explain why cities now seem to be replacing firms as the new ‘national champions’ in international competition. They are becoming sites of work over economic and social restructuring to enhance competitiveness, and they are becoming the political basis for new forms of growth and new forms of social alliances.

The principal fields in which a city can become entrepreneurial are:


  • introducing new types of urban place or space for living, working, producing, servicing, consuming, ;
  • testing new methods of space or place production to create location-specific advantages for producing goods/services or other urban activities;
  • opening new markets whether by place-marketing specific cities in new areas and/or improving the quality of life for residents, commuters, or visitors;
  • finding new sources of supply to enhance competitive advantages, such as immigration, funding, or reskilling the workforce;
  • supporting new entrepreneurship development by creating local ecosystems that can favour the emergence of ideas and innovation;
  • developing new forms of urban governance which enable economic actors to share risks and to cope with uncertainty through dense social and institutional

But few cities are systematically oriented to securing sustainable dynamic competitive advantages via continuing economic, political, and social innovations that are intended to enhance productivity and other conditions of structural and systemic competitiveness. The capacity of cities to compete globally is linked to their ability to remain at the forefront of economic and institutional innovation, and this can only be achieved by working simultaneously on three key enabling factors: people, policy and technology.


OIS 2018 intends to explore these three key enabling factors of cities’ capacity to innovate and compete on the global stage, and to bring together governments and local administrations’ officials, corporates and civil society leaders to share successful practices, models and ideas, in the spirit of mutual learning and exchange.

Turin will host the Summit, as a European middle-size city that has proven able to develop and implement a post- industrial strategy in order to remain competitive on the international stage. Today the city displays an evolving local ecosystem for innovation that encompasses many of the assets that can facilitate the systematic emergence of innovation and venture creation, and that has a clear intention to share with the whole community the benefits that can come from that. In the process of implementing the Torino Social Impact policy, the City of Turin welcomes the opportunity to exchange, at the international level, ideas and practices with other Cities and actors that can nurture a better understanding of the system conditions for economic development, in conjunction with the capacity to cater for the needs of those who are currently left behind.


The final objective of this two-day Summit will be to establish and nurture new partnerships at the international level that can facilitate this exchange on a stable basis.