Collaboration to increase innovation


The aim of the ‘Developing Smart and Sustainable City Green Infrastructure’ project by the Tallinn University of Technology (TalTech) was to develop new ideas for Tallinn’s most recent green infrastructure initiative: the Pollinator Highway. Students on the TalTech international joint master’s (Erasmus Mundus) programme in Public Sector Innovation and E-Governance (PIONEER) were looking for novel solutions to public sector challenges. In 2020, the students examined Tallinn’s green infrastructure challenges, focusing on the Pollinator Highway. The programme’s students worked with the Pollinator Highway team and the Estonian Public Sector Innovation Team, and involved the area’s residents and visitors to create innovative, green solutions. 

Erasmus Mundus PIONEER Programme students looking for new ideas for Tallinn’s Pollinator Highway. Credit: Tallinn University of Technology.

Description of practice

The process involved:
● Preliminary fieldwork, with findings based on observations of the Pollinator Highway and user interviews
● Personal and user journeys
● Defining the challenge
● Solution systematization
● Ideation

Who was involved

The content partners in Tallinn were the Pollinator Highway team and the Estonian Public Sector Innovation team. The project was part of the Erasmus Mundus PIONEER Programme organized by KU Leuven (Belgium), University of Münster (Germany) and TalTech (Estonia). The project was delivered jointly by Ragnar Nurkse at the Department of Innovation and Governance, TalTech, the Estonian Public Sector Innovation Team and the City of Tallinn. It was supported by the European Union under the Erasmus+ programme and the TalTech City project co-financed by the City of Tallinn and TalTech.

Promotion and communication

The students’ solutions were introduced in an online seminar open to all and live streamed on TalTech’s Facebook page. The project and the students’ solutions were also publicised through TalTech’s channels, on the City of Tallinn’s webpage and the Facebook page of the Competence Centre of International Projects. 


A solid team with useful skills (the Estonian Public Sector Innovation Team, experts), people with product and service design skills and people with skills in software design.
Meetings were held using the video teleconferencing software programme Zoom Cloud Meetings.

Time commitment

The collaborative project with TalTech lasted from September 2020 until November 2020 (3 months). 


Level of participation
  • No participation (stakeholders/citizens were not included) 
  • Informing (informing citizens about what is planned) 
  • Consultation (offering options and listening to the feedback) 
  • Co-production in some of the aspects 
  • Co-production from start to finish 
Urban planning challenge(s) tackled Governance and institutional factors

  • Working collaboratively
  • Standards and regulatory processes
  • Finance

Stakeholder engagement 

  • Public acceptance
  • Shared decision-making 
  • Social inclusion

Knowledge and skills

  • Awareness and communication
  • Expertise
  • Technical integration

Lessons learned

● A systematic approach to spatial design;

● Involving, listening to and considering stakeholders and their opinions;

● Take a scientific approach;

● A clear and effective method is key to an efficient process.


● The creation of personal and user journeys helped to identify who the design and product are for.

● Co-design was achieved through strong cooperation with the university, the Estonian Public Sector Innovation Team and people with knowledge in product design, as well as other experts.

Read more

Live stream of the students’ idea presentations