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London just got a little bit smarter

Dr David Lutton, Executive Director, Policy, London First

London just got a little bit smarter

Having led the business voice for the creation of London’s first ever Chief Digital Officer (CDO), we’re pleased to have hosted Theo Blackwell, at Airbnb this afternoon to share with members how he intends make the capital the world’s smartest city.

London First is the first business group Theo has met with, and over lunch he praised our role in pushing for its creation. Back in 2016 London First, Bloomberg and Centre for London collaborated to set out the role of a Chief Digital Officer in an influential report.

The vision we set out in the report closely matches the priorities set out by Theo over lunch: he identified the need for strategic leadership; collaboration with business and boroughs and innovation to drive data-led approaches to service delivery and public engagement.

Theo outlined his approach to developing a New Smart London Plan, beginning with a major listening exercise. We’ll be working closely with the Chief Digital Officer to ensure our members ideas and expertise are feed into this process starting in early 2018.

Members also discussed the need to drive improvement in London’s digital infrastructure, and for a new approach to ensuring local authorities put connectivity first.

It’s fitting that the event was hosted by our partner member, Airbnb, who are well known players when it comes to digital disruption – see their event blog on Airbnb Citizen. They’ve understood shifts in consumer behaviour historically and used this data to create a platform that resonated and worked for the digital era. In the same vein, the CDO must now improve the way London and its local authorities think about harness the benefits of emerging digital technologies. London’s businesses will continue to share their experience in how to make this happen.

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