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Author's profile photo Alejandro Tinoco

Provide, Protect and Prosper: The Golden Braid for Cities

Governments on all levels have a timeless mission: to provide services, to protect the society and  to enable economic prosperity.


Yet, in recent times, governments are facing a growing number of major changes:

  • Globalization puts businesses and governments under pressure, massive urbanization stresses cities and leaves rural areas under served
  • Digitally experienced citizens demand the service level and customer experience they know from shopping, banking, and social media
  • Disasters happen more often and with a bigger impact, crime and terrorism predominantly target cities
  • Natural resources are more and more constrained in face of a growing world population

At the same time, digitization and the underpinning breakthrough technology innovations offer immense opportunities world-wide: Social media mobilizes people all over the world generating vast amounts of data. Sensors help to optimize waste removal, parking space and street lighting. Cloud and Internet are essential for innovations like personalized care, optimized traffic flow, autonomous cars, and agile disaster management. Networks run on smarter technology than ever and make businesses, students, job-seekers, or service providers strive. In-memory computing turns massive data to insightful information to deliver better outcomes.

From a city perspective these shifts require changes in three main areas:

  • Resilient City (Adaptable): With more and more people moving into cities they also become more vulnerable. Accordingly keeping people safe and protected from disasters, crime, terrorism is a top priority.
  • Digitally Transformed City (Innovative): The way best-run cities provide services for their citizens, communities and businesses is changing. They need to re-imagine the whole citizen experience, re-imagine how the city operates it business models, processes and the way people work, live and enjoy the city.
  • Prosperous City (Sustainable): The economy is becoming an even more critical element, the political mandate of the mayor is often judged on their ability to deliver upon the economy.

Digitization is the foundation for a friction-less government. Meaning: re-imagining unity of purpose across all levels of government, re-imagining models across traditional boundaries and silos, simplifying the provision of government. Being able to digitize, connect and empower people, devices & networks to deliver greater citizen value and outcomes.

Finally, there a three areas critical to the individual success of a mayor, these should be in his/her mind:

  • Achieve Smart Growth: This requires a strategic approach securing the best growth opportunities while protecting the environment and ensuring that all citizens enjoy prosperity.
  • Do More With Less: Improve process efficiency and provide better services at low cost. You should secure all revenues due, rigorously assess and manage expenses, and introduce investment accountability.
  • Win Support for Change: Successful transformation requires first results to be delivered swiftly. This might at first sight have nothing to do with technology. However there are some key aspects where technology is fundamental on supporting this change: enabling collaboration among stakeholders, development of critical skills required of civil servants, and performance management systems that increase transparency within and outside of the organization.

A Digital Journey is an effective way to run your government friction-less and simple.


Governments should start by re-imagining government with outcomes and citizens at the center. They should leverage the “We-Intelligence” with methods like Design Thinking to inspire creativity. As an innovation method for products and services, it is a completely new way of posing questions about how we want to live, learn, and work in the 21st century.

Re-imagine government models: Citizens are not anymore just unknown consumers of government services. Collaboration spaces harness the  connectivity, creativity and expertise of the civil society. Rather than being the prime provider, government organizes service delivery via a network of partners.

Re-imagine government processes: Friction less processes integrate physical and digital worlds across all organizations, are data-driven, and  get rid of unnecessary administrative steps.

Re-imagine working in government: Digitized citizens and businesses require a digital savvy government workforce to deliver on their needs. Digitization helps to unleash the power of the largest workforce on the planet to deliver better outcomes. A new –performance-oriented – mindset is needed with digital tools to help identify, recruit, retain, educate, and promote the most engaged staff.

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