To make our cities and communities smarter, we must become a little smarter ourselves, seeking information and an agenda to forge connections enabling collaboration, according to HBS professor Rosabeth Moss Kanter and IBM’s Stanley S. Litow. Their vision is that someday soon, leaders will combine technological capabilities and social innovation to help produce a smarter world. That world will be seen on the ground in smarter cities composed of smarter communities that support the well-being of all citizens. This paper outlines eight challenges facing cities and the communities they encompass, based on experience in the United States. Kanter and Litow provide examples of practices and programs led by both government and nonprofit organizations, many technology-enabled, that point the way to solutions, and they conclude with a call for leaders to embrace an agenda for change. Key concepts include:
The need for a new approach to U.S. communities is an urgent imperative because of the biggest global economic crisis since the Great Depression.
Significant barriers to solving urban problems include geographic sprawl, residential mobility, the location of jobs, the lack of overarching strategic impact goals, weakened civic leadership, and social isolation.
By examining each barrier in turn (and the ways they reinforce each other), it is possible to see the opportunities for significant transformation if communities could become “smarter,” with technology helping spread information and facilitate interconnections.
by: Rosabeth Moss Kanter and Stanley S. Litow