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Levelling up

Smart cities need great ideas and great technology behind them but they also need great people, which is why SmartCitiesWorld is launching a new People & Skills section.


How much is talent worth? It used to be a bargain at £250. The Greek word ‘talanton’ was the name of a weight and piece of money in Assyria, Greece and Rome.


Unfortunately, talent costs a lot more today and is even more important as competition for the right people with the right skills gets ever fiercer.


We talk a lot at SmartCitiesWorld about the technology underpinning smart cities and rightly so. We also talk about the importance of citizens and having a citizen-centric approach to your smart city. Again, rightly so.


But you could argue that there is scope for us to focus even more on those behind the smart city; the decision makers, the technologists, the innovators. Our City Lights section is one means of doing so – we’ve profiled executives from Frankfurt and Ras Al Khaimah in recent weeks and will have ones from Vienna, Sydney and Adelaide coming soon.


Now we are launching a new People and Skills section, in association with our partners at Kurrant Talent. As you can see, it looks at how cities are improving their staff’s skillsets or introducing new methods of working.


We have been speaking to executives at IoT specialists Acklio and Smart Waste about their approaches to teambuilding and upskilling, with more interviews to follow over the coming months.


People and skills is an important area to look at - as we have seen with coronavirus, things can change very quickly and organisations and staff need to respond quickly. “Zooming in” didn’t mean to join a meeting remotely 12 months ago.


Smart cities are disruptive but the (exciting) thing about disruptive technology is it in turn will be disrupted. The standard mobile phone dramatically reduced the need for landlines but it in turn was transformed on the day Steve Jobs walked on stage and introduced the iPhone.


But it’s not something to be afraid of. Upskilling is enjoyable and a means of further engaging with your job. I didn’t know the background of the word ‘talent’ until I started researching this newsletter. Outside of the day job, I’m also learning Welsh and was delighted to discover that the word for carrot is ’moron’ - a very different meaning to its English counterpart!


We hope the new section brings fresh insight into businesses’ strategies. As ever, I want to hear from you about how we are doing. Your opinions carry weight. And are worth a lot more than £250...


What I’m reading
Britain has a damaging addiction to secrecy (The Times - and less anglocentric than it may sound)
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