Cities As Platforms

Having recently run a political campaign for a prospective candidate for Mayor of London, you quickly begin to understand the complexity of the governance of London. This article by Gerard Grech, CEO of Tech City UK articulates the challenge ahead if we are going to keep London the best city in the world to do Business. London has the potential to be one of the smartest cities in the world and it’s successes tell a wonderful story. Yet London could be a much smarter city and actively encourage smarter solutions from all citizens who bear the brunt of it’s challenges every day. I for one was born and brought up in London and everyday I am hacking the most optimal routes to navigate the city, for instance, to avoid peak costs on my Oyster card.

The only way that I can tap into that knowledge is by sharing tidbits on social media or when a friend needs help getting someplace. The answer to many of the issues we face London-wide across the 32 Boroughs and Local Authorities plus the City of London lies in each and every one of us. We are all smart citizens and with the right schemes to bring us together to tackle what makes this city unique we’ll be left idle. I love the idea of making public buildings ‘come alive’ and by that I mean releasing data / APIs on peak times for gallery opening for instance so you could wander around the mummies at the British Museum at a more leisurely pace without peak tourist flow. Or perhaps, help Londoner’s caught by train delays at Waterloo to hop on over to the Southbank Centre and soak up our rich arts culture whilst the leaves on the track are cleared away. Technology and innovation can drive simple solutions to everyday mundane London issues. Doesn’t that paint a picture of London that we can all aspire towards building?

TechCrunch

[tc_contributor_byline slug=”gerard-grech”]

Take a look at the last decade’s fastest-growing companies. You’ll notice they have one thing in common: They’re all platforms.

YouTube was not the first video-hosting site, but it was the first to disrupt the stagnating online broadcasting model, creating a platform with digital engagement at its core. And the catalyst for Google’s exponential growth trajectory was when it opened its core search function to let people bid on keywords.

Facebook was not the first social network, but it was the first social network to view itself as a foundational digital platform, opening its APIs for apps and creative re-imagination.

If proved to be effective, innovation spreads like wildfire. Take the rise of the data scientist. Once only valued by a handful of Silicon Valley startups, Chief Data Officers are an integral part of today’s C-suite executives, found everywhere from the White House to Burberry.

It’s not uncommon for…

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