Data, Insights and Policy Leadership

by Gary Atkinson | Jun 14, 2017
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Smart City, smart city technology

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Or How smart cities can support smart policy making?

There is a lot of discussion currently about how technology can improve the sustainability and quality of life within the urban environment, especially within our biggest cities. Almost anything can now be measured and the amount of data potentially produced by even a modest sized town is almost overwhelming. At a recent event, a city leader shared the fact that they currently use less than 5% of the data they collect from across their city. This was shared with a slight hint of embarrassment at their inability to enact on the rich source of information they now had about their environment.

Getting to data-driven decisons

This is not an uncommon challenge, very few leaders are able to get a good quality, extensive view of their city, even fewer are able to use that data in an effective way to make decisions. At enLight we have been running a series of workshops for city leaders to help them identify an appropriate strategy for their town or city and build a business case to justify investment. We have learnt a lot through the process and have observed some common challenges as to why progress can be difficult.

Reasons for slow or stalled investment in SMART infrastructure

  1. Data contradicts the existing plan
  2. Solutions are politically difficult to implement
  3. Need for horizontal cross team collaboration
  4. Invest to save is a tough business case to justify
  5. Competing priorities with other agendas
  6. Need for evidence to justify change
  7. Lack of quality and critical mass of data from across the environment

Anyone who has worked within a large public sector organisation shouldn’t be surprised by these challenges. However, the need for change is becoming urgent with reducing resources and increasing expectations from users. We are now at the point where the technology is able to deliver the promise of a smart infrastructure in a cost effective and reliable way, the stumbling block is now the organisational and operational structures and decision making within these organisations.

With clear and focused leadership and clarity of need, supported by a credible business case, we at enLight are convinced that a focus on future proofing your environment can bring short term benefits and long term gains.

Check list for gaining support to invest in SMART infrastructure

  • Data should support a vision for the city
  • Make your data open
  • Brave and timely policy development
  • Internal skills to analyse and inform
  • Leadership by-in to the process
  • Don’t be afraid to listen to the data
  • Engage with citizens to crowd source idea

If you would like to learn more about how we can help you navigate your way through this and build a business case to make your environment smarter, click the button below to understand how one of our free workshops will help y your team.

Enlight Smart City Workshop

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