Social Innovation Experiment in Tartu: Smart House Training Program

Social Innovation Experiment

Main sector:

  • Governance and planning
  • Citizen engagement


The social innovation experiments initiated by the SmartEnCity citizen engagement working group focus on innovative engagement experiments that are expected to affect the consumption behavior of people. Essentially, this means experimenting with social innovation models to facilitate behavioral change and mutual learning among pilot area and Tartu residents. In addition to the lecture series that was launched at the beginning of the project, the local SEC consortium has also launched and completed its second social innovation experiment: awareness-raising through training active ambassadors (the so-called Smart House Training Program) among pilot area residents.

The core idea of the experiment is the fact that a city is not made smart only through applying smart solutions but by also cultivating smart citizens. The training program was developed to encourage pilot area residents to learn from each other by training so-called Ambassadors in every pilot area building who would be able to help and support their neighbors in various aspects of smart house and smart city living.

The program consisted of five trainings, each focusing on an important smart living area: home expenses and how to live in a smart apartment; inside climate, ventilation and environmentally friendly interior design solutions; waste, recycling and sustainability; smart home system and the rights of an apartment owner and green mobility solutions. The trainings took place every other Monday from 8 April to 29 May. All in all, nearly 40 people attended the trainings with 8 people attending at least 4 out of 5 trainings. These eight Ambassadors were awarded with a diploma and practical prizes at the pilot area summer event on 29 May 2019.

The main motivations for people to participate in the program came from personal interest and willingness to learn more.

Citizen engagement:

Citizen engagement activities are led by the citizen engagement working group. The main tools of communication include mailing lists, the project’s local Facebook community, various media announcements and personal contact.



  • Behavioral change/changes in (energy) consumption patterns
  • Increased resource and energy efficiency
  • Social integration and community feeling
  • Increased motivation to use environmentally friendly solutions 
  •  Better data availability


Potential for replication:

The replication potential of the social innovation experiments that will be planned and carried out in Tartu will largely depend on their outcomes. Once the results have been analysed and interpreted, the University of Tartu will disseminate them both among national and international communities, focusing on universities and municipalities that might be interested in similar experiments.


Veronika Mooses
University of Tartu