I have been studying “Knowledge Cities”, later coined “Smart Cities”, for 20 years. As a management consultant my passion has always focused on innovation management. For 40 years I have been supporting managers in renewing organizations to better adapt to the fast changing economic environment so they can become “built to last”.
This led me to adopt enthusiastically the concept of the “learning organization” and to join the international community of the pioneers of knowledge and innovation management. Then came the Internet and my network of KM and innovation management pioneers has enjoyed it very much.
Together we realized that the essence of the “learning organization” is about learning people and the organization should create an enabling infrastructure for them to do so. We have implemented our understanding of organizational behavior that you cannot make people learn, you can only invite them to do so, and they prefer to do it together while they share knowledge and co-create new knowledge. We implemented research findings that more new knowledge is created in groups with a high level of diversity of all kinds: age, gender, discipline etc.and that great ideas come out of serendipity – and not through carefully designed processes. This eventually led us to understand that we should encourage more collaboration in organizations for better innovation and even among organizations, and that resulted in the best place for this to happen – the city!
This personal intellectual journey led me to found in 2015 ISCI – the Israel Smart Cities Institute as a platform for research, consulting and training to promote together the ideas of “Smart Cities” in a community of experts in many disciplines relevant to help leaders of cities to make their cities smarter.
My vision is that Smart Cities should be “built to last” just as “Smart Organizations”. This means that they should become “learning cities” and the road there is to become “conversing cities” where everybody collaborates with everybody in “open innovation”. Public places enhance it and experts facilitate it. Such cities engage all stakeholders for sustainable development and become attractive for the best talent who join the efforts and help the city become better for all. Technology is an enabler to allow data, information and knowledge to flow to achieve such challenging goals while adopting the spirit of what is a city which is “built to last” as it grows in harmony with commitment to the “triple bottom line” economy, society and environment” through full collaboration.
In ISCI we practice what we preach. Our NGO is led by collaboration of experts with diverse background: academia and practice, former experience from the public and the private sectors, who collaborate and together join policy makers to make the best use of technology for the benefit of the city residents.
We help them identify the best goals for their city and achieve them with our professional support.
We are looking fwd to support elected leaders and civil servants to design the best roadmap for their city through collaboration with us and with all stakeholders locally and globally. We are already involved in the biggest Research and Innovation global project Trans-Urban-EU-China and look forward to join more similar projects, where we can study and implement good practices to help the transition towards sustainable cities with healthy and happy citizens.
Dr. Edna Pasher