Lessons From Tel-Aviv For Successful Digital Transformation Of Smart Cities

[Forbes.com, Gil Press, 3/23/2018] The digital transformation of cities is no longer about optimized traffic patterns, parking management, and efficient lighting, research firm Gartner announced recently. Today’s smart cities are all about citizen engagement. Liora Shechter, CIO of Tel-Aviv, Israel’s largest city, has a similar message: To become a cutting-edge smart city, don’t just digitize existing services—invent new ones to engage and delight your residents

Lessons From Tel-Aviv For Successful Digital Transformation Of Smart Cities

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Tel-Aviv Promenade


The digital transformation of cities is no longer about optimized traffic patterns, parking management, and efficient lighting, research firm Gartner announced recently. Today’s smart cities are all about citizen engagement. Liora Shechter, CIO of Tel-Aviv, Israel’s largest city, has a similar message: To become a cutting-edge smart city, don’t just digitize existing services—invent new ones to engage and delight your residents.


Shechter spoke at a Muni World 2018 event, along with Tel-Aviv’s Mayor, Ron Huldai, and its Chief Knowledge Officer, Zohar Sharon (I was there as a guest of Vibe Israel). Smaller in size than Manhattan, Tel-Aviv boasts the highest concentration of tech startups per capita or per square mile outside of Silicon Valley (1 for every 290 residents) and most dogs per humans in any city in the world (1 for every 17). Calling itself the “Nonstop City,” it offers a vibrant and dynamic urban experience to its large population (compared to the national average) of young and unmarried residents.


Five years ago, Tel-Aviv launched DigiTel, a personalized digital communications network that is interest, location and life situation-based. All residents aged 13 and older can sign up to be members of the DigiTel club and use their member card for discounts on city services (e.g., renting beach umbrellas) and cultural and sports events. Based on their profile, they get access to customized digital services (e.g., special services to families with small children and for dogs and their owners). Through multiple channels, including emails, text messages and a personal online account, the city delivers personalized information to its residents (e.g., street closings). DigiTel also serves as a digital platform allowing residents to be proactive and participate in moving the city forward and improving its management.

Because of the DigiTel club and smart card, Tel-Aviv was selected as the “Best Smart City in 2014” at the Smart City Expo in Barcelona, beating 250 cities from around the world. Here are some of the lessons Tel-Aviv learned from its ongoing experiment in digital transformation:


Fostering internal collaboration


Typically, each city department is focused on providing specialized services, making it difficult to have a holistic view of residents and hampering collaboration and development of a unified vision. Digital transformation driven by a unified vision of what residents need helps break down organizational silos. Digitizing processes and developing a central digital knowledge repository facilitate the sharing of information and expertise among departments. This also drives home to all employees the benefits and importance of adopting the values of transparency and openness, fostering collaboration and innovation.

Link to source article: https://www.forbes.com/sites/g...


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