Smart City: Swisscom and IMD help cities digitise

A new study published by Swisscom and IMD business school supports public authorities on the road to digitization. This document provides a comprehensive methodology and a decision-making tool to assist city leaders in the selection of digital projects.
Lausanne, 24 April 2017

Smart City initiatives generally lack an operational framework that would guide the process undertaken by the heads of public entities. IMD and Swisscom joined forces on this particular ground two years ago and developed the Smart City Piano, which represents a significant step forward in the digitization of cities. Since then, various projects have been conducted based on the Piano on different geographical scales, from cities to regions. The experience gained from these cooperations has demonstrated the need for public authorities to have a more detailed methodology to define, select and implement the most promising projects.

A six-step method

This second report provides a comprehensive six-step approach. This was developed on the basis of interviews with project managers in public and business entities. The experience gained in project management with Swisscom customers has made it possible to refine the proposed methodology. "Our co-creation projects with the Canton of Geneva, the cities of Pully, Montreux and Fribourg, have allowed us to confirm a number of assumptions and to find solutions to identified problems, such as governance issues for instance" says Raphaƫl Rollier, head of the Smart City program at Swisscom.

This study also provides city leaders with some advice on how to practically apply the Smart City Piano. Blaise Vonlanthen, Head of Consulting at Swisscom, sees a number of applications: "The proposed method allows resources to be concentrated on initiatives that make a concrete contribution to the objectives set".

A dynamic specific to the public sector

In 2015, IMD created the Global Center for Digital Business Transformation in partnership with Cisco. Hundreds of companies around the world - active in various industries - have since referred to the center to plan their digital transformation journey. "However, in order to transform the public sector and, in particular, to develop smart cities and regions, many rules of the private sector do not apply," says Michael Wade, Professor of Innovation and Strategy at IMD and co-author of the study. This collaboration has led to a deeper understanding of the specific dynamics of digital transformation in the public sector and the study will enable city leaders to accelerate their digital transition.

The study will be discussed at a workshop during SmartSuisse, a strategic conference taking place in Basel on 27 April. City officials from Dublin, Zurich and Pully will be attending the conference to discuss their experiences on digital transformation.

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