How do you use technology to improve citizens’ lives? Tell us about your role or organisation.
2017 has been really a transformative year. WeGO had our General Assembly in June in Ulyanovsk region in Russia, and our members approved a number of changes. One is that we changed our name. We keep our acronym as WeGO, but we changed the full name from World E-government Organisation of cities and local government to World Smart Sustainable Cities Organization.
And of course together with that, the members approved our new mission and vision. Our new vision is “smart sustainable cities for all.” And to achieve that our new mission is we provide platform for city members to become smart and sustainable cities and have them built by going through their capacity building program and so on.
We have numbers of thematic clusters, one being the living labs for innovation and also one for smart transportation. That will be very important work for us for next year.
What is the tool or technique that you think is most exciting for next year?
One is the spread of Internet of Things. It will encourage cities to work on big data analytics or Artificial Intelligence.
Second, a number of cities including Seoul and Helsinki have been establishing so-called “living labs”, where the citizens can really initiate the projects, they experience the projects, they can comment, and private sector companies, start-ups, they can come up with their solutions that actually experiment with the citizens.
And in 2017 if there was one piece of advice that you learned, what would that be?
Having Key Performance Indicators for this work on transparency and accountability, for using public funds for smart city project; I think that’s quite an important aspect that I need to highlight.
What was a book that you read in 2017 that inspired and interested you?
I had to re-read “The Triumph of the City” by Edward Glaeser. I get a lot of questions at conferences and so on about “why cities?” and “how do you make cities innovative?” It explains why cities are such an important unit or venue for innovation and growth for the whole population.
Final question, who inspired you in 2017?
I should say the Korean people. Can I answer in that way? As you know, last winter, a lot of us went out to the street with candle lights for democracy. And ever since that, 2017 has been really transformative year for Korea and Korean people.
I am just so proud of my people, I never had this feeling before. It’s just that people got together, they all went out in the cold winter time, and then eventually they they made a change of the government. I hope the next few years will be even better for that.