Smart cities need a vision. More than that, they need people who are able to draft it and bring it forward. Some of the professional figures needed might be already well-known and established, others are just starting to emerge.
You may never have heard of the Chief Resilience Officer or of the Chief Sustainability Officer, but these sort of titles might soon become commonplace, as cities gear up to address challenges such as climate change, massive and growing urbanization, digitization of city services and more.
“We are seeing quite a few new roles emerging on the back-end of the smart city movement. Some of them mirror what is going on in the private sector, like when cities are adding Chief Digital Officers or Chief Customer Officers. Other roles are more specific to cities – examples include Chief Bicycle Officers or Chief Mobility Officers,” Carl Piva, VP of Strategic Programs at TM Forum (a global association which helps companies and institutions collaborate to create and deliver digital services) tells me.
While citizens increasingly come to be seen simply as customers, officials turn into managers whose skills include being able to leverage the datasets available to improve the quality of life of the populations.
“If you have experience from dealing with millions of customers and know how to analyze complex real-time data patterns you could have a future in public administration. If you understand how to design a customer centric service using open or proprietary data you will clearly be in demand,” Piva says.
Among the new roles being experimented by cities all over the world there are some – like the Chief Finance Officer or the Chief Technology Officer – that while relatively recent, have already demonstrated their worth. Others are perhaps a little more difficult to grasp, and sound more like lofty titles, bestowed just to pretend the city is trying to tackle a certain issue.
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