What is the impact of the city 2.0 on companies and HR?

Based on “The Three Faces of the City 2.0” (ParisTech Review, May 2012).

About 60 kilometers south of Seoul, South Korea, a gigantic construction site launched in 2001 is bringing about a new kind of space. The man-made island, connected to the mainland by a 12-km bridge, has homes, universities, a hospital, museums, and artificial canals. With one of the world’s most complex data collections and dissemination networks, New Songdo City is not a new town. It is a “smart” city, which is loyal to a single principle: connectivity. And New Songdo is not an isolated case. Other examples include PlanIT Valley in Portugal, Pegasus Global Holding in New Mexico, Masdar in the United Arab Emirates, I-City in Malaysia, and T-City in Germany.

What are the characteristics of the city 2.0? What are the implications for companies and employees?

1. Transparency: In a city where everything is connected and location-based, the idea of privacy comes into question. The explosion of urban data and transparency brought about by the city 2.0 poses a number of problems: misuse of data, invasion of privacy, system vulnerability, and so on.

Security: What is the responsibility of companies and employees in the treatment of collected data? Where does customization end, and where does invasion of customer privacy begin? Who should have access to what, for what purposes?

2. Participation: As for Web 2.0, the real innovation lies less in technological rupture than the transformation of the use of the city. People become co-designers. In Barcelona, for example, the disabled are equipped with cameras so that the city can detect obstacles encountered in the street.

Innovation: As smart cities evolve, companies must reinvent their business, find new functions, train employees for new tasks, and collaborate with customers and citizens to develop new smart solutions.

3. Appropriation: All these innovations raise the question of individual ability to appropriate them. The key is empowerment and accountability of citizens. How can companies strengthen empowerment and participation?

Training: In terms of the development of skills, awareness, and motivation, the border between employees and customers is increasingly tenuous. The responsible citizen must be educated. It is not enough to put a product (or service) on the shelf for it to be purchased; customers need to be supported in their appropriation of it.


To find the article

Based on« The Three faces of the City 2.0 » (ParisTech Review, mai 2012).

Further reading

• The City 2.0 : a participative website financed by IBM, which imagines the city of the future. The site received the 2012 TED prize.

• The official website of the city of Songdo in South Korea, with an interactive map, photo gallery, videos, and many other resources.

• « The 10 Smartest Cities on the Planet [Slideshow] » de Greg Lindsay (Fast Company, décembre 2010)