Workshop Videos

Ricky Morton: The Evolution of Smart Cities

Ricky Morton is responsible for defining the ‘Digital Kingston: Smart Borough’ strategy and leading on open data, smart city infrastructure, web and digital presence, customer experience and digital transformation.

Ricky presented at our London workshop on April 27 – with his presentation focusing on integrated city services (from the City of Troy on!).

His presentation is below.

Smart Cities Workshop Speakers

Urban Transformation Perspectives

Charbel Aoun is a member of Future Cities Catapult’s board and has spent more than two decades in Fortune 100 and technology startups. Charbel has also spent 10 years researching, implementing and advising companies on a range of topics he is passionate about: from smart cities to digitization. He is also the founder of LUCID Urban Transformation.

Charbel previously worked as Chief of Sales and Strategy Officer at Enevo, an IOT startup which he joined from Schneider Electric where he was Global President & CEO of their Smart Cities business. Prior to that he was in Cisco as Managing Director of their smart and connected communities in EMEA and Latin America.

At our London workshop on April 27 Charbel will outline examples of how technology is used in practice in helping cities deliver better services. He’ll also outline some of the key challenges facing city governments seeking to achieve maximum value while faced with limited budgets.

Citizen Engagement Workshop Speakers

Citizens and Clean Energy

Jayant Kairam
Jayant Kairam

Jayant Kairam is Director, California Clean Energy at Environmental Defense Fund. Jayant will be speaking at our upcoming workshop in San Francisco on November 17 on innovations in energy policy in California.

Jayant is interested in discussing, learning and connecting with practitioners looking at ways data, technology, and customer access to data can help cities address energy challenges, and the ways it can support cities aiming to transition to a 100% clean energy footprint.

In California, advancing a clean energy economy is a linchpin of the state’s environmental agenda. This trend is pushing market innovation and allowing local jurisdictions to think about how to take greater control over energy use and challenge the established utility-based system. But a key question is how can citizens be active participants and drivers? Jayant hopes to unpack and explore this question with participants. He will speak to the state-wide energy policy landscape, and delve into some large clean energy trends in the state to level set the workshop.


If you would like to attend our workshop we have a small number of guest places.  You can register here.


Citizen Engagement Citizen Experience Workshop Videos

Digital and The City

At our recent Future Cities event in Newcastle we had a chat with Conn Crawford of Sunderland City Council. He was keen to outline the digital challenges being faced by cities (large and small). And he brought some props. And some lego.

Conn talks at length about citizen personas, and about citizen identity. He also touches on what role the city should play and how the private sector needs to be involved (as well as citizens themselves) in re-imagining what the city should be and the types of digital services it should provide.


Workshop Speakers

Public Services Perspectives: techUK

Naureen Khan, techUK
Naureen Khan, techUK

We’re delighted to announce that Naureen Khan will be a guest speaker and panelist at our upcoming Newcastle-upon-Tyne Conversations Workshop.

Naureen is Director, Public Services, at techUK – the professional body representing the UK technology industry. She’ll provide the industry perspective on future cities and the Northern Powerhouse initiative.

Naureen leads the team responsible for delivering techUK’s Public Services Programme. This includes Central and Local Government, Justice and Emergency Services as well as Health and Social Care.

techUK’s Public Services programme aims to deliver affordable and accessible public services through harnessing the transformative power of technology.

Naureen has a background in Public Policy and Government Relations. She has previously worked in a range of senior roles, including as European Advisor to the NSPCC and led on European and International policy and public affairs for the British Equality Human Rights Commission.

Naureen is also the former Chair of the European NGO Alliance for Child Safety Online and holds an MSc from the London School of Economics.

Workshop Speakers

City Futures and Citizen2020

Yvonne Huebner, Newcastle University
Yvonne Huebner, Newcastle University

Dr Yvonne Huebner, from Newcastle University, focuses on the development of technology to match policy requirements – informing policy makers how to exploit the availability of new technology.

Yvonne has worked closely with Newcastle City Futures, the RCUK/Innovate UK Urban Living Partnership pilot, creating shared opportunities to shape the future of the city.

Yvonne will be a guest speaker at our Tyneside workshop, outlining how data needs to be better used by policy makers.  Her research work has, for example, looked at how IoT (Internet of Things) might impact cities of the future. We’re very keen hear her perspectives on how policy makers should make better use of city data to inform and deliver better service to citizens.

For further information about our workshop, or to register your interest in attending, please visit the event page.

Citizen Experience Workshop Speakers

Verizon and Digital Identity

Andy Bates
Andy Bates

We’re delighted to announce that Andy Bates, from Verizon Public Sector, will be speaking at our upcoming future cities workshop in Newcastle upon Tyne on September 29.

Verizon provides identity services to multiple governments globally including UK government departments. Identity verification is a critical component for building cross-government services and allowing citizens to get much better service experience from government.

Andy Bates has worked in telecoms & IT for 25 years, mostly specializing in Public Sector. He is CTO for Public Sector in EMEA for Verizon and has worked as Chief Engineer, IT Director, Product Development Director and Head of Architecture/Design across companies such as Racal, Energis, Infinity, Cable & Wireless, and Level3. Although Andy has specialized in network and security in  UK critical national infrastructure he has also been actively involved in IP telephony, fixed/mobile convergence, and GCloud.

Citizen Experience Workshop Speakers

Future Cities Catapult and Citizen2020

Sam Markey
Sam Markey

Sam Markey is UK Cities Engagement Lead at Future Cities Catapult. He’ll be kicking off our Tyneside/Northern Powerhouse ‘conversations workshop’ on Thursday, 29th of September.

The workshop is the first of a series that we’ll be conducting in the UK and USA. The Tyneside workshop will look at what Northern Powerhouse cities need to be doing in terms of better engaging with citizens. Sam will kick-off our session by looking at how, increasingly, digital technologies might be used by cities to engage citizens in decision making and problem solving. He’ll also touch on ‘cities as datavores’ – establishing offices of data analytics and opening APIs.

Future Cities Catapult’s mission is to foster urban innovation, grow UK companies and make cities better. Sam’s role is to “be an advocate for UK cities within the organisation, generating rich customer insight and market intelligence that shapes the Catapult’s offer to UK cities – and in turn drives the development of projects which see innovative technologies and solutions employed to tackle endemic city challenges.”

His presentation will be an excellent start to our Newcastle workshop.

If you’d like to attend or participate in our workshop more information is available here.

Citizen Experience Smart Cities Workshop Speakers

Conversations: Tyneside

We’re delighted to announce our first workshop for 2016/17. Taking place in Malmaison, Newcastle-Upon-Tyne on September 29 the workshop will focus on how cities need to embrace ‘digital first’ to be ready for the future.

Citizens are also consumers. They are exposed to digital experiences that involve so much more than information provision. Just think of the experience of doing business with Amazon online and compare it with the services provided by municipal authorities. But the opportunities for making cities better at serving citizen needs through high quality, low friction engagement are immense.

Our Newcastle workshop will draw together thinkers, city strategists, thought leaders and technologists that have a particular interest in how city authorities might embrace new opportunities to forge better relationships with citizens and business. We’ll pay particular regard to the conclusions of a recent report by CITIE that argued:

  • Cities should “use digital channels to foster high-quality, low-friction engagement with citizens” (become ‘digital governors’).
  • Cities should  “use data to optimize services and provide the raw material for innovation” (become ‘datavores’).

Speakers will include:

The workshop will feature interviews, presentations, panel discussions and more that we plan to video record on the day and feature here on Citizen2020 over the weeks following the workshop. Some of this content will only be made available to registered members of Citizen2020 – so we strongly encourage you to register. It’s completely free.

If you would like to register your interest in participating as an attendee, speaker or panelist you can pre-register using the form below. We’ll be in touch.

Fill out my online form.


Citizen Engagement Open Data Smart Cities Uncategorized

Citizen Engagement: The Secret Sauce for Future Cities?

There is much discussion around the topic of future cities. We now have government agencies, consultancy firms and environmental specialists all offering their perspectives on how cities of the future might look compared to cities of today.

The time-scale for future cities, of course, is rarely defined. Look at a short-term time horizon and cities of the future will be quite like cities of the present. The thing about cities is that they tend to develop incrementally (unless we build them from scratch). It’s very difficult to radically alter city infrastructure very, very rapidly. In most cities a great deal of the built environment is in private hands. Even the public infrastructure that sustains cities tends to evolve as city populations wax and wane – or the demographics of the population changes.

That’s not to say, of course, that cities can’t be improved (or made worse) quite markedly as a result of quite modest short-term change. For example a slight degradation of air quality can make city living near intolerable. Lawlessness in certain parts of cities can degrade property values and put off investment.

Successful cities are often successful because the factors that can work to undermine quality of life in cities tend to be carefully monitored. Successful cities tend to be those that can manage their success (or failure). New York is a better place to live in 2015 because the crime that blighted certain neighbourhoods within it has been substantially reduced. London has been successful, despite its population growth, because it has created better transportation systems and urban living processes to support its growth. It has also grown and embraced more suburbs to support housing need.

But it’s not just these individual things that make cities work. It’s also about people themselves making cities work. People tend to make parts of cities popular – they add to the built environment, employment, culture.  No amount of planning by city authorities can make cities exactly as they are today or will be in the future.

But initiatives that make the process of city-citizen engagement better tend to create outcomes that tend to work (in ways that are impossible to predict). Some of the engagement processes are about people talking to people. It’s not just about people talking to city authorities. The best city authorities tend to create the environment or platforms that help people do stuff: create companies, create employment, create art, create events, create buildings, create conversation.

José Quádrio Alves is the Global Government Director, Future Cities Lead, at CGI. He recently wrote a post called ‘Citizen engagement is a key to future cities.’ His view is that young people, in particular, are often excluded from some of the big decisions as to how cities should or could develop:

“Beyond voting, citizen engagement in major decisions at the local level, by proposing or even building solutions themselves, can be a powerful source of innovation and ideas. Since innovation is strongly related to economic development, creating conditions that make it easier for citizens to participate in community life may result in better decision making, stronger economic development and a better life for all citizens.” José Quádrio Alves

Alves recommends creating city social media platforms that allow people to focus on problems or issues or initiatives that interest them.  He provides links to initiatives in France, Estonia and the Netherlands that have been successful in this respect.

But there is a clear need for cities to experiment with such initiatives. Many major cities are major contributors to national economic success. The City of London, for example, generates some 22% of UK GDP.  Therefore it’s important that citizens play their part in making cities work better. That’s why cities are actively embracing open data initiatives to allow citizen to build services that other citizens use. It’s why city focused technologists are often avid supporters of government as a platform. It’s why the units that make up cities are getting smaller because they allow more people to feel part of their communities – by influencing how those communities develop (within a much bigger city ecosystem).

The successful cities of the future are those that recognise that they can’t do or plan everything. Government has to serve communities and citizens rather than try to predict how those communities might look in the future (or what future citizens might want). Ultimately the best cities are those that allow individuals to flourish together.