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As part of the SAP Urban Matters program, SAP recently sponsored and participated at the Smart Cities World Congress held in Barcelona Spain. The Smart Cities World Congress is the largest Smart Cities conference in the world.  City personnel, mayors, service providers, technology vendors and academics take three days from their busy schedules to collaborate and focus on improving livability, transforming government and ultimately improving citizens' lives. 

It was great to be a part of a larger effort to help the world become a better place. I was inspired by the passion many speakers and attendees had to help make the world a better place.  I learned during the event that many attendees agreed on certain key objectives and metrics that should be monitored to determine whether a city is resilient, sustainable and successful.   In fact, many cities have strategies in place and are on the path to becoming a Smart city (i.e. connecting embedded sensors within city infrastructure, putting a framework together to measure success against priority policy initiatives... ).  

It was also clear however, that complexity built up over decades appears to be hampering the ability to rapidly transform, accelerate innovation and truly unleash potential.  Complexity in labor laws, organizational structure, procurement policy and IT infrastructure among many other areas simply won't allow for quick agile change to continuously transform. 

As we move forward together to execute strategy cities must go beyond just being Smart but they must simplify every aspect of government to deliver on the knowledge they obtained being a Smart city.  That starts with 5 focus areas:


  1. Simplify to empower employees to easily use smart devices and real-time information to work across organizational silos and better serve citizens' where and how they need it
  2. Leave special interests and individual agendas behind - Collaborate and compromise to make the best choice for citizens' 
  3. Become transparent and accountable so all constituents have are able to monitor results against policy objectives
  4. Accelerate transformation through simplification of IT that enables city governments to change in real-time with strategy and policy change
  5. Co-create between departments, partners and citizens' to deliver better community outcomes

Its not enough just to be smarter city.  You have to run simpler to improve livability, transform government and improve citizens' lives.  Here is an link that gives tips – from and real-life case studies to run your city at its best.  We’ll keep adding more tips to keep the discussion going.