Linked Urban: Reframing the Concept of 'Smart Cities'

In the lead up to BarnRaise 2015, we will be posting guest content from people and organizations working at the intersection of design and healthcare. We hope that these posts illuminate different approaches to utilizing design to problem solve in the healthcare space and get everyone excited for collaborating this fall!

I’m glad to share some thoughts with the BarnRaise and the IIT Institute of Design community. After a short talk with Ellie Eberts we found we have some interesting points in common as we at Telefonica I+D (Spain) are looking at running an innovation program called Linked Urban. 

With Linked Urban, we aim at reframing the concept of Smart Cities, that is, focusing on people instead of governments and city dashboards, while creating opportunities for entrepreneurs who want to improve their cities.

In line with the BarnRaise spirit, we believe citizens have the right to more convenient access to city services and that a combination of bottom-up and top-down approach will create better places to live. We want to enable a city ecosystem where citizens, governments and entrepreneurs can work together to improve their lives.

As an ID alum, I’m happy that we are working on wicked problems like this and that we are willing to change and innovate in a space that, as of today, has been mostly focused on technology implementation for city efficiency.

We, the Linked Urban team, want to focus on initiatives that a) solve citizens problems; b) create new digitally enabled services; and lastly, c) create and capture economic value. We are partnering with public and private companies. We are currently looking at city startups and other organizations from around the world that might want to join the conversation and of course, build a fruitful collaboration.

Luis Eduardo Dejo
MDM Class ‘11