Urban Future with a Purpose Webinar

Using Data to Build a Better & Inclusive Society

Urban Future with a Purpose is a series of four high-level policy discussions in which senior stakeholders share their vision on how to improve the quality of life in cities and organizations around the globe.

On 18 March, the second webinar in the ‘Urban Future with a Purpose’ series was held, focusing on how data and technology are being used to make cities more inclusive. 

Key takeaways:

  • The importance of data to cities and our society is undeniable. As we increasingly use data and analytics to understand our world, we are better prepared to develop and implement more inclusive public policies and digital tools as well as deliver better targeted services.
  • A recent Deloitte survey of more than 800 CIOs around the globe highlighted the strategic importance of data in the post−COVID-19 era. Two-thirds of government CIOs have increased their financial commitment to digital transformation, and 74% have accelerated their digital transformation journey. 
  • Microsoft president Brad Smith shared his perspective regarding the use of technology and digital platforms to increase citizen involvement and create more sustainable, inclusive cities with a better quality of life for all: “The impact of technology is a little bit like what we are seeing in everything else. [It] has become one of the most powerful tools to solve all the problems on the planet, but it has also become a formidable weapon. What we need to do is work together to get the best out of technology, while protecting all challenges and solutions.” 
  • The move towards data-driven operations—ranging from public safety to city operations and services—holds great promise but also introduces serious risks, noted Jeff Merritt, Head of IoT and Urban Transformation at the World Economic Forum. He referred to the important work of the G20 Global Smart Cities Alliance in helping to safeguard against these risks and called upon all to help ensure that these technologies are leveraged in a way that addresses systemic challenges in cities, such as growing inequalities, as well as called for the renewal of the commitment to public-private cooperation on these issues.
  • The featured panel discussion focused on digital transformation viewed from a social and inclusion perspective; ensuring that this moment of great reset also becomes a moment for greater shared prosperity; and the meaning of digital, social, and social care inclusion. The panel comprised Jeff Merritt as well as Martin Brynskov, Chair of Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC); Kirby Brady, Chief Innovation Officer from the City of San Diego; and Debbie Sills, Deloitte’s Global Consulting Leader for Government & Public Services.
  • In the panel discussion, Martin Brynskov emphasized that accessibility and trust are fundamental in driving and achieving digital urban inclusion. Kirby Brady focused on the digital divide in cities: “If broadband access is fundamental to our wealth and well-being and to achieving our economic potential—as is running water or electricity—then it really needs to be an amenity available to all.” She also pointed out that the divide has been exacerbated by the pandemic.
  • The panel also discussed how social care is another area in which technology and data can play a critical role. Debbie Sills emphasized that now is the time to move forward in this area as we not only have the technology and data capabilities but also a broader community focus on solving problems. She noted that this is the focus of Deloitte’s Social Care Innovation Council, a forum that will gather leaders from all over the world to discuss these topics. She also added that, with data, governments are better able to understand the needs of citizens and can design and implement public policies based on human-driven outcomes.

Featured speakers:

Brad Smith, President, Microsoft
Jeff Merrit, Head of IoT and Urban Transformation, World Economic Forum
Kirby Brady, Chief Innovation Officer, City of San Diego
Debbie Sills, Global Consulting Leader for Government & Public Services, Deloitte
Martin Brynskov, Chair, Open & Agile Smart Cities (OASC)

Webinar hosted by:

Lídia Pereira, Member of the European Parliament
Miguel Eiras Antunes, Global Smart City, Smart Nation and Local Government Leader, Deloitte

For more information regarding the webinar series, please contact Sofia Godinho Marques.

The inaugural ‘Urban Future with a Purpose’ webinar, held 28 January 2021, focused on how governments and organizations are working together to create the society of the future—one that will be greener, more sustainable, prosperous, digital, and just.

Key takeaways:

  • The global reach of the pandemic has resulted in multiple humanitarian, economic, and health crises. The economic impact could amount to US$10 trillion in forgone GDP in 2020 and 2021. Yet, these are also times of great investments. Over the next two years, governments around the world will seek to spend approximately €10 trillion to finance the economic recovery.
  • Public policies and public investments play a critical role in shaping the society of tomorrow, and so do organizations and investors. Only with an integrated response, a truly inclusive and sustainable society will be achieved. “A climate- neutral, zero-waste and, above all, healthy future requires everyone's commitment,” said Ursula Von der Leyen, President of the European Commission. “It requires guidance and funding from the European institutions…But it also requires vision and engagement from local administrators and the private sector.”
  • The pandemic has profoundly changed the way we experience cities. As Ms Ursula Von der Leyen, President of the European Commission stated “We, must adapt our urban environments to new challenges, giving us an unique opportunity to rethink and reshape the way we live.”
  • The European Green Deal is the EU response for a clean, circular and environmentally friendly economy. Built on the principles of the circular economy, the EU has put together a recovery package worth almost €2 trillion to finance a green recovery, the largest stimulus package in the history of the Union. “We want to use these investments, not only to restart the economy, but also to improve the air we breathe in our cities,” said Von der Leyen. “Half of the waste is produced in cities. We need to change our culture and invest in the transition”  She stressed that “cities must be involved and contribute to this effort. They can offer projects that meet our European goals of the green and digital transition, …. Because the city is where all the challenges are coming together.”
  • The World Economic Forum has led the development of a set of core environmental, social and governance (ESG) metrics that will result in long-term value creation for business, society and the planet. Punit Renjen, Deloitte Global CEO, and Brian Moynihan, Bank of America CEO, discussed how ESG metrics and their adoption can speed progress towards the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and create long-term value.  “With businesses working together, we can advance stakeholder capitalism,” said Renjen. “This is not just the right thing to do, but the right business thing to do.”

Featured Speakers:

Ursula Von der Leyen, President of the European Commission
Punit Renjen, Deloitte Global CEO
Brian Moynihan, Bank of America CEO

Webinar Hosted by:

Lídia Pereira, Member of the European Parliament
Miguel Eiras Antunes, Global Smart City, Smart Nation and Local Government Leader, Deloitte

For more information regarding the webinar series, please contact Sofia Godinho Marques.

For more information regarding the webinar series, please contact Sofia Godinho Marques.

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