For the organisation of the project SINFONIA a lot of meetings on different levels with varying paticipants were neccessary.

District team meetings

The core instrument for management of local activities in the two demo cities Innsbruck and Bolzano is the district team, whose members come together regularly in the district meetings organised by the district lead. Team members are the local representatives of the project consortium that are important stakeholders in SINFONIA. The district leader as an additional management and coordination layer on the local level is responsible for regular district meetings, the organization of site-visits and the exchange between all local partners.


District meetings are the most frequent encounters in the SINFONIA demo city Bolzano. District meetings represent an important opportunity to exchange information between local partners in Bolzano. Its agenda concerns the activities of all SINFONIA work packages. During these meetings, local partners collect information about current activities in SINFONIA and make comments, new ideas and shared decisions. The district meetings take place in a frequency of one meeting per month. All local SINFONIA partners participate. District meetings are organized as round tables and are moderated by the district manager (EURAC). District meetings give the possibility to exchange ideas and considerations about challenges and represent a suitable opportunity to coordinate and integrate all SINFONIA activities.

The main challenge is the definition and acceptance of common goals of the project between the district partners that are suitable for all partners. However, the opportunity to meet in regular periods led to the increase of trust between internal partners. Trust is a fundamental relational component of European projects and it permits to reach shared goals and a coordinated implementation of envisaged activities.


The core of knowledge sharing activities in Innsbruck is the District Team, whose members come together regularly in the District Meetings organised by the District Lead. The District Meetings serve as an information platform for on-going SINFONIA activities, status and progress reports as well as the informal exchange (during breaks) between the local partners (“internal” SINFONIA stakeholders). The frequency of District Meetings is every one to three months according to necessity. The term District Meeting derives from the understanding that SINFONIA activities in Innsbruck are performed within a distinct district. In any other project/context this type of knowledge exchange meeting could be subsumed under the term “Core Group Meeting”. The role of the District Manager, whose responsibilities comprise the management, administration and organization of such meetings needs to be defined together with the members of the District Team/Core Group.

The challenges the District Lead has to face is to hold a well-balanced discussion between all involved actors and the restricted time the actors can dedicate to such meetings. A meeting of three hours seems to be the maximum reasonable duration. The acceptance of the District Team amongst the partners is high which is reflected by the large number of participants.


Working group meetings


Stakeholder involvement in aiming at encouraging stronger interdisciplinary collaboration between stakeholder groups. SINFONIA is separated into ten work packages (WP) that propose different activities. The success of SINFONIA is based on the connections and the interdisciplinary of all the topics. The working group meetings for each WP are important to deepen the knowledge exchange on specific topics and for decision-making on single activity. “Internal” stakeholders should work together in a comfortable environment, based on trust and the possibility to make effective choices. For this reason, several meetings have been organized within and between work packages. These meetings last from 1,5 to 4 hours and are usually managed by one leader.

Working group in the district of Bolzano
Working group in the district of Bolzano


Communication team meetings


The Communication Team Bolzano coordinates the communication activities among all the local partners involved — EURAC Research, Municipality of Bolzano, TIS Innovation Park, SEL, WOBI/IPES, Agenzia Casa Clima/KlimaHaus Agentur — and focuses on the outreach of SINFONIA on a local level. The Communication Team plans and develops strategies and products to communicate results, milestones and activities of SINFONIA to a variety of different audiences. Members of the Communication Team in Bolzano are the local project partners represented by their communication experts (e.g. members of the institution´s departments for public relations) and project managers. The team works on different tasks defined and discussed during the general meeting.


The Communication Team Innsbruck aims at the bundling and coordination of communication activities at all different levels during the runtime of SINFONIA. A special focus of the local Communication Team in Innsbruck lies on the establishment of clear communication routines in order to channel the transfer of knowledge that is inherent to the project partners to “external” stakeholders, e.g. to tenants or to the general public. The crucial factor for the installation of the Communication Team in Innsbruck was the increasing negative public perception of the project due to insufficient communication to the parties concerned, which was picked up by local newspapers with headlines like “SINFONIA leads to rent-raise in social housing”. The negative press about SINFONIA activities made clear that previous efforts to communicate the envisaged SINFONIA activities have not been sufficient. Members of the Communication Team are the local project partners, i.e. SINFONIA´s “internal”stakeholders, that are, to some extent, represented by their communication experts (e.g. members of the institution´s departments for public relations).

One focus of the Communication Team Innsbruck is to develop a local communication strategy and to manage its implementation. The figure below  describes an idealized process of communication routines accompanying smart city projects. The blue steps of the figure represent necessary preparatory steps before actual communication measures start. The red steps are focussing on the measures themselves, from planning to implementation and evaluation. The red arrow indicates a feedback loop. By constant evaluation of communication measures and corresponding adjustment of these, the quality of communication activities shall be guaranteed.

Idealized process of communication routines
Idealized process of communication routines

Information on the importance of a local Communication Team to tackle unfavorable perception of smart city implementations can be found here.


Local stakeholder panel meetings


The Local Stakeholder Panel aims at the institutional embedding of activities concerning stakeholder involvement in Innsbruck and is an inherent structure of WP6. It is a local structure that aims at the evaluation of communication pathways, e.g. between project partners and their clients and vice versa. The Local Stakeholder Panel is closely tied to the Communication Team as well as to the District Team, but the focus of the first lies more strongly on the scientific input to and evaluation of communication routines in smart cities and to stakeholder management in general, while the latter is focussing on the practical application of communication activities. Panel members are equal to the members of the Communication Team and the District meeting and consist of representatives of the local consortium partners.
The panel aims at the following goals:

  • Institutional embedding of activities concerning stakeholder involvement
  • Regular exchange meetings between partners in Innsbruck
  • Learning from each other: input of partners, stakeholders and external experts and regular update of WP6-relevant activities in Bolzano
  • Coordination of data collection
  • Evaluation of communication pathways


Tenant assemblies


IPES (Istituto per l’Edilizia Sociale) and MoB (Municipality of Bolzano) organized several meetings in order to present SINFONIA and envisaged refurbishment activities to interested tenants. The main objective of these meetings was to exchange the most important information about the project and to get in first contact with tenants. The meetings also served to test the suitability of the questionnaire designed for the tenants. Technical aspects of the refurbishments are only be presented when appropriate information is available, in order to avoid misunderstandings or wrong expectations of the tenants.

Tenants will be involved in future information meetings in which IPES and MoB will give more information about the refurbishment steps in SINFONIA by presenting preliminary refurbishment projects.


Meetings with planners and architects (Construction management)


Several meetings have taken place for each SINFONIA building. The refurbishment planning phase includes designers of different work fields: experts of architectures, energetic plants and systems, engineers, etc. In June 2015, social-housing owners and other partners have started to meet with designers.


The communication with executive actors is based on regular construction management meetings. Participants of these meetings are, besides “internal” stakeholders, architects, planners, construction lead and the developing companies. The meetings take place on a regular basis and as occasion demands, aiming at a continuous exchange of knowledge between the parties involved in the refurbishments of different objects in order to facilitate and coordinate planning and implementation of refurbishment activities.


Smart city dialogue Innsbruck

To accelerate the involvement of technical consultants or regional companies, respectively, and to push knowledge transfer towards a new format, the “Smart City Dialogue” was established by SAT. Aims of the “Smart City Dialogs” are information sharing about the challenges and findings of solutions in SINFONIA and the involvement in the development and implementation of components, where no standard products are available or the need for new solutions is high. For that goal, the Clusters for Renewable Energy, Mechatronics and ICT is an excellent pool of companies, managed by SAT. Main topics are technical solutions but also aspects of the legal framework for the implementation of measures like the Tyrolean housing subsidies or the Austrian electricity law were part of the discussions. The “Smart City Dialogues” take place with a frequency of three to four times a year. The frequency also depends on the occurrence of hot topics.

The format “Smart City Dialog” is a mixture of presentations given by the project partners and external experts, followed by an “Art of Hosting”-workshop, in which small groups discuss several topics. The participants are invited to bring in these topics. The discussion results are kept records. Moreover, each participant can get in face to face contact with project partners and experts. To gain further feedback from the participants, each “Smart City Dialog” is evaluated by an external institution. As a follow-up service, SAT offers consulting about cooperation and funding for research and development.


Monitoring advisory board meetings – Province of Tyrol

The monitoring advisory board was introduced in Innsbruck, in order to regularly inform political players on a regional level. Regular meetings of the board were organized by the district lead. Relevant stakeholder from the regional administration, the city administration and other institutions affected with energy relevant issues were invited. As SINFONIA is a large and politically affected project, the introduction of a monitoring advisory board was considered important in Innsbruck, in order to communicate project goals, outcomes and challenges also to a wider political audience.

A monitoring advisory board is a good possibility to get regular contact with the political administration at regional level proactively and inform about the progress of the project. It can be recommended, to organize it twice a year, starting with the beginning of the project. More frequent meetings can not be recommended, as there should be valuable input at every meeting to have good discussions. A combination of presentations with a site-visit is also a good way to get interaction of various stakeholder.


Project Management Board and the Technical Committee

Due to the international character of both the SINFONIA consortium and the project content knowledge sharing is not limited to the local level. Intensive knowledge transfer is taking place between the two demonstration cities Bolzano in Innsbruck. By sharing experiences and lessons learnt each city can benefit of the other. Beside regular topic-specific exchange meetings (e.g. between the housing associations or the district leads), knowledge sharing on a transnational level is organised by the Project Management Board and the Technical Committee.

PMB and TC meetings are classical structures for the management of the project. Nonetheless, these meetings serve for the sharing of knowledge amongst different stakeholder groups within the SINFONIA consortium. PMB and TC meetings take place in a frequency of six months and are alternately hosted by the district leads of Bolzano and Innsbruck. Furthermore, teleconference meeting of the TC are taking place once a month.


Replication team meeting

In order to efficiently coordinate and implement the Dissemination and communication strategy, SINFONIA has established a Replication Team. This Replication Team seeks to identify suitable opportunities to communicate about the project, and to ensure that all communication material correctly reflect the scientific content of the project. The Replication Team is led by the work package for dissemination and exploitation, and consist of a restricted group of project partners for increased efficiently which are: Project coordinator, work package lead of local stakeholder involvement, the District Lead of Innsbruck and Bolzano, the early adopter cities, work package lead of development and validation of scaling and replication rules of the smart district template as well as the lead of the work package for economic impact and EU-wide integrated assessment of replication potential of smart district template.

The replication team of SINFONIA creates the link with the Replication cluster. This replication cluster is a joint initiative between the EU projects SINFONIA and EU-GUGLE and aims to share the experiences of demo cities with the early adopter cities.