Technology has been the driving force of economies worldwide – but what about cities? Cities have to develop efficient operational models to provide services and infrastructure for their citizens; however, most services and infrastructure are built on a mixture of technologies that can span decades. Moreover, the rate at which cities have adopted new technologies has been historically slow, frequently with investments that are far out of balance with other important community needs.
Elected leaders are increasingly being asked about technology in the community such as residential broadband, how to welcome driverless cars, and how to embrace citizen-empowering health technologies. Citizens have come to expect rapid development and adoption of technology in their daily lives and in their businesses; they don’t wish to see lines drawn between the enterprise and the community. For residents and visitors, the expectation is for the city to meet ever-escalating expectations. How do cities innovate and leverage technology to not only provide the services citizens need but also to build a model that supports rapid growth needed to attract and sustain highly successful inhabitants?
The 2017 Smart Cities Innovation Accelerator at Harvard helped city strategic urban planners, chief innovation officers, technology officers, and economic development leaders establish strategies and an actionable digital plan. The 3-day program (Thursday, Friday, and Saturday) was a hands-on, immersion accelerator for your city’s future where participants worked alongside fellow city leaders, industrial experts and Harvard Fellows and researchers. Each day focused on a specific level of city leader's strategic plans: Infrastructure, Technology Platform, Public Service, and Community Value.
The 2017 Smart Cities Innovation Accelerator is co-developed by the Fellows from the Technology and Entrepreneurship Center at Harvard along with city leaders and industrial experts. During the event, participants engaged in informative case studies, peer-to-peer problem-solving sessions, and topical workshops designed to help them evaluate their current state and develop a plan to make their communities an innovation leader for the future.