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City to City Forum #SAC2015

City to City Forum #SAC2015

Yesterday, I took part in a panel debate about what cities will look like in the future, what they need to do to deliver effective and compelling sports events, and how new forms of technological culture are changing audience expectations of urban life. My contribution focused on the Internet of Things, the role of Big Data, and the opportunities to nurture cultural change through technology.

Having been to 9 Olympic Games, I have seen a lot of change around how cities operate and yet there is still so much that can be done to use mega events as a catalyst for developing more digitally engaged legacies. I have yet to see a city that does this effectively and I think it has partly to do with the limited capacity of a city's people to own their digital legacy.

Consequently, my advocacy on this topic focuses on the need to create opportunities for data to empower people, rather than subject them to commercial exploitation. Sports have a key role to play given the growing economic impact around mobile health experiences.


Photo by Ksusha Kompan Photography

Future City 2015

Future City 2015

On 10th Feb, I will be the MC for an event run by the @UKTI in Paris looking tagged #FutureCity2015. In relation to this, I  was asked also to make a film that would open the event, focusing discussion around new opportunities and foregrounding a number of technological changes to cities that are imminent.

Here it is:

The event is principally for business and will look like this.

09:30 Welcome by His Excellency Sir Peter Ricketts

British Ambassador to France

09:40 Current opportunities in France

Caroline Maurand, French Ministry of Ecology, Sustainable Development and Energy

10:05 Focus on the Grand Paris Project

Serge Dupont, Société du Grand Paris

10:20 Current opportunities in the UK

Dan Byles MP

10:45 Focus on London Regeneration Projects

Sue Vincent, Urban Design London

11:00 Coffee Break and Networking

11:30 Inspiring Case Studies in the UK:

Introduction to the Greenwich Automated Transport Environment (GATEway) project

Pierre Lefèvre, Greenwich GATEway project

Value from the Work of Many Hands

David Roberts, Igloo Regeneration

Paris-London – communicating vessels?

Michel Mossessian, Mossessian & Partners

12:15 Inspiring Case Studies in France:

French Placemaking British style – a collaborative hands-on approach

Kathryn Anderson, Barton Willmore

Grand Lyon

Gilles Vesco , Grand Lyon

The FFR Grand Stade – An urban catalyst

François Clément, Populous UK

13:00 Networking Lunch

14:00 Pre-arranged 20 minutes one to one B2B meetings between

French and British companies until 17:00

Social Media & Cities: Strategy

Social Media & Cities: Strategy


Today at the Sport Accord Convention, I am taking part in a session on social media and cities. Find below some of my key messages


Three key messages:

  1. Take stock of the media ecology around your city. Do some research. It is nearly a decade since all of the major social media platforms were launched. Figure out what’s been going on and identify three layers of access 1) popular 2) unusual 3) niche. Ideally, think about what kind of tools you can deveop as city or help others develop around your city. For instance, during London 2012, the mobile app integrated activity from across a range of stakeholders.
  2. What are the unique ways in which a sports event can promote cities via social media? During London 2012, hashtags were used in venues to promote engagement with the sport, but what about the streets? One interesting cultural programme used ‘pop up’ events that drew on social media exclusively for communications. Cities are busy places, especially during mega events. A conventional marketing programme can actually lead to too many people and, in this era of social media, the value of spontaneous experiences has grown. People like to feel they saw something amazing just by chance. Social media does this. Your audiences will be just as big, but you will reach different people.
  3. How can sports inhabit cities through social media? The day after the cycling road race at London 2012, the IOC Comms director Mark Adams asked fans to limit their use of 3g, as it interfered with their monitoring of the race. How can your city be aware of these needs early enough. Create an ‘innovation lab’ within your city and within your organization to stay ahead of the curve.


Other considerations

  1. Embed a pro-social media policy into your organization. Don’t discourage using facebook at work, just talk to staff about whether they think it is a distraction and try to manage it.
  2. Train people – that starts with the CEO. Social media is best promoted when leaders figure out its value. So, if you have a smart phone, take it out now. put  it on silent. Open the native twitter app and set up your account, twitting #SAcon13
  3. People first, institution second. While people do like to follow an official account, they also like making contact with key people, so think about how you empower your staff to be active.
  4. Identify your key agitators. A lot of activity can be generated from a small number of dedicated followers.  The recent horrific incident in London where a soldier was butchered in the street was seen as a watershed moment in the history of citizen journalism. In this case, the perpetrators sought citizens to share what was going on, not the BBC, not a newspaper. Your citizens are your media.