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Main actors

City Government, Private Sector, NGO / Philanthropy, Research Institutes / Universities

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Project area

Neighborhood or district

Icons use case study duration


Ongoing since 2012/01

Creative cross sector innovation

The City of Strasbourg has developed a highly effective tool for encouraging and enabling creativity to drive growth and confidence in the local economy. Taking inspiration from the City of Manchester’s Creative Credits scheme, in which small businesses get vouchers to buy services from creative companies, the city launched Tango&Scan. The Tango & Scan call for projects is a financial support system that promotes the meeting between a creative or digital sector actor and an actor from another sector of activity for the realization of a common innovative project. It contributes to the development of original products and services for the territory, the stimulation of creativity and competitiveness of companies and the consolidation of the sector of cultural and creative industries.

Sustainable Development Goals

Build resilient infrastructure, promote inclusive and sustainable industrialization and foster innovation
Make cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable


This project was shortlisted for the 'EUROCITIES Awards' in the following category: Innovation.

Strasbourg, France

Population composition
The population of the City of Strasbourg exceeds 276,000, the largest group of people fall into the 15 to 29 demographic, making up over 28% of the population. The 0 to 14 demographic makes up 17.3% of the population, the 30 to 44 demographic comprises 19.9% of the population, the 45 to 59 demographic makes up 16.6% of the population, the 60 to 74 demographic is 11.1% of the population, while 6.9% of the population is 75 and older. (world population review 2018)

Main functions
Strasbourg is the capital and largest city of the Grant Est region of France and is traversed by the Ill River, which divides and surrounds the Grand Île (Big Island) on which the old town and most of the city’s famous buildings are situated. The island was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1988. Strasbourg is the official set of the European Parliament and is considered the legislative and democratic capital of the European Union, while Brussels is considered the executive and administrative capital and Luxembourg the judiciary and financial capital. Strasbourg is the seat of the following organisations, among others: Council of Europe, European Ombudsman, International Institute of Human Rights, International Commission of Civil Status, Assembly of European Regions and the Centre for European Studies.

Main industries / business
Strasbourg plays a major role as a business, commercial, and cultural centre, as well as a hub of road, rail, and river transportation. Strasbourg’s present-day economic activities include food processing mechanical and electrical engineering, and the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, electronics, and plastics. There is also a large automobile assembly plant in the city’s industrial port zone - one of the largest on the Rhine and handles shipments of petroleum, agricultural products, and building materials.

Sources for city budget
Each year, the city council votes on the city budget, which provides for and authorizes expenditures and revenues. A budget orientation debate takes place in the two months preceding this vote. The budget has two parts: the investment and operating sections. operating revenue (income from property, entry into public institutions, parking fees), the overall operating grant paid by the State (DGF), and especially the revenues provided by direct taxation (taxes premises whose rate is fixed each year by the City Council)

Political structure
The City of Strasbourg is administered by a municipal council and by the mayor assisted by deputies. The Mayor is elected by the municipal council for a term of 6 years. The municipal council is elected every 6 years by direct universal suffrage. The number of deputies is determined freely by the municipal council without being able to exceed 30% of its total workforce. The number of elected municipal officials varies according to the population of the municipality. In Strasbourg, the municipal assembly is composed of 65 elected representatives -the mayor, 22 assistants, 42 municipal councillors. The city has 10 districts. The city council meets 10 times a year, usually on a Monday, when the Mayor sets the agenda. The sessions are public.

The City of Strasbourg decided to focus on the creative economy after research undertaken in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis identified its importance in city development. When its subsequent European City of Culture bid was unsuccessful, the City decided to make use of all the knowledge it had gained. This included the fact that while the digital and creative sectors have huge potential to catalyse innovation, this has been underexploited by traditional companies. With this in mind, the City decided to find a way to foster collaborations between creatives and businesses from different industries to boost new skills, processes and ideas.

Designed as a financial and business support device, Tango&Scan runs an annual open call for collaborative projects with the potential to result in innovative products and services. Each year has a them and these have ranged from e-tourism and smart mobility to the green economy. Each winning project can receive up to €20,000 and access expert advice on business planning and brand strategy. The initiative is managed by a non-profit organisation, CREACCRO, set up by the City in partnership with the University of Strasbourg and local creative entrepreneurs.

CREACCRO is deeply embedded in the local creative scene and perfectly placed to spread the word about how creative thinking and processes can help all kinds of industries innovate for competitive advantage. It manages the promotion of Tango&Scan and the annual call, which is open to companies, artisans, students and artists. It also assembles the judging panel, made up of a diverse mix of representatives from incubators, cultural venues, chambers of commerce and clusters. Each open call is sponsored by a small group of local companies who also support the subsequent exhibition of winning projects.

Over 166 projects have been put forward since Tango&Scan opened for business in 2012. Original and ingenious, they encompass an extraordinarily wide range of sectors including healthcare, construction, sports, social action, training, tourism, culture and heritage and the environment. Recent winning ideas include a balcony with nesting boxes for birds conceived by an ecological product designer and made by a local brickyard. Another partnership, between a game studio and a research institute, came up with the idea for a serious game that helps children understand their cancer treatments.

Epopia, one of the most successful of all Tango&Scan winners, exemplifies the creative ideas and innovative technologies the initiative set out to foster. Designed to encourage children to read and write through play and imagination, the concept is a personalised written correspondence. Children are immersed in the story as both hero and part author and, thanks to intelligent editorial software, characters adapt to their wishes. Since Tango&Scan provided Epopia with funding to develop a prototype, the company has increased its turnover tenfold and secured its third round of fundraising.

Tango&Scan has generated significant new expertise, innovative products and revenues of €2,000 million.

The city of Strasbourg provides annual funding of €250,000 as well as an additional €40,000 for projects focused on the year’s theme.

An evaluation of Tango&Scan in 2017 by the University of Strasbourg’s faculty of economics and management showed that every €1 invested by the City produced at least €3 of revenue and that 25% of projects created new jobs. It also highlighted that the initiative creates new networks, spreads best practice and opens new channels of production for innovative products and services. Two out of three Tango&Scan projects resulted in significant new technical and scientific expertise and the same proportion reported new customers, entry into new markets or impetus to adopt a fresh strategy or business model.

With the project evaluation confirming Tango&Scan’s ability to help unlock the economic potential of creativity, CREACCRO and the City decided to develop ideas for increasing its impact and sustainability. These include an accompanying programme to boost the quality of applications and business development support for winning projects.

Another priority is using Tango&Scan, which has already spread to Nancy, Metz and Mulhouse, as a way of developing relationships with other cities and countries.

In May 2018, a multinational event, LabEurope, sponsored by Tango&Scan stakeholders gave winners a platform to tell the world about their innovative achievements.

- Creative meets digital in Strasbourg, Tango&Scan - creative cross sector innovation, EUROCITIES, November 2018:

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