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How To Innovate In Hong Kong To Realize Faster A Connected/Smart City

With the forecast that by 2030 6/10 and by 2050 7/10 earth inhabitants living in urban areas/cities the need for connected/smart cities is becoming more urgent. The main aim is to address urban challenges, city management, sustainability, efficiency and safety in order to improve the quality of life. How far is Hong Kong from a connected city? What are the main challenges? How to Innovate in HK to realize a connected city?

But what are connected/smart cities:

“Smart cities use digital information, sensing, communication and computing technologies to enhance quality and performance of urban services, to reduce costs, resource consumption and to engage more effectively and actively with its citizens in order to enhance the quality of life“

To create a smart city we need to pay attention to various areas of economy and society at large:

  • Smart Citizens
  • Smart Healthcare
  • Smart Education
  • Smart Buildings
  • Smart Energy
  • Smart Governance
  • Smart Infrastructure
  • Smart Technologies
  • Smart Transportation and Communication
  • …….


The good news is that we have almost all the technologies to enable things that were impossible 10-20 years ago and it will be different approach for new cities and already established ones.

But if we have the technologies to create connected/smart cities what is key to make this reality faster? As the challenge is not really technological what are the key enablers to create results faster?

I see a few key enablers:

1. Create awareness among citizens and focus on education towards smart citizens

 2Close collaboration among all parties:

  • Governmental organizations
  • Established companies
  • Start-ups
  • Citizens

3.  Sharing of data/insights among cities and organizations

4Ask the right questions to innovate smarter


Enabler 1 is obvious as when citizens are aware and educated about the subject will not only be supportive but will participate and contribute with ideas towards a smarter city. Enabler 2 is the biggest obstacle as many times governments and private organizations have different interests (economic, societal,…..) , mindset and finally behaviour. Enabler 3 needs collaboration and multiparty consortiums. And finally enabler 4 needs leadership and shared economy mindset.

Where does Hong Kong stand on the path towards a connected/smart city?

Hong Kong is great city with world class infrastructure (e.g MTR, Airport, ICT infrastructure, data platforms, many modern buildings,…..). At the same time progress is hindered from:

–        Natural complacency as HK has prospered the last decades, has good infrastructure and is doing well but within an accelerating economic environment….

–        Lack of effective collaboration among the necessary parties

–        Fragmentation across governmental agencies without a common vision what is the future role of HK within the connected world

–        Lack of connection of future HK growth drivers and quality of life to connected/smart city objectives

–        Lack of smart city and IoT standards

To address many of the above we need to find a way for collaboration and elimination of obstacles by defining together the important steps towards a connected/smart city:

  • Alignment to start with the highest value creation for improvement of services/quality of life and not only infrastructure.
  • Eliminate bureaucracy by creating a common vision of the future and ensure collaboration among the necessary parties
  • Start implementation with a new neighbourhood like many other smart cities around the world
  • Create regulations to enable sharing of data/insights among various organizations to speed up knowledge building (e.g mobility and transportation data)
  • Learn from other cities that are ahead in implementation
  • Stimulate collaboration of established companies with start-ups as there are more new ideas from the start-up ecosystem than individual company innovation
  • Embrace all the necessary exponential technologies as enablers (AI, Cloud Computing, Data Analytics, Machine Learning,….)
  • Focus on education not only to create awareness about smart city but to embrace the mindset of experimentation, failure is learning and thinking big

Conclusion: To become successful with creating a connected and smart city in HK we need to have a vision of the future and alignment among growth drivers, quality of life and connected/smart city objectives. Education of citizens, collaboration among government, private sector, citizens and smart innovation will create the results.

Thank you very much and I welcome questions and comments

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Mike Mastroyiannis is Business, Management & Executive Coach and Consultant for Business Accelerations, Business Transformations and Exponentially Disruptive Innovations. He has served as CEO of business units in Multinationals, founded or lead start-ups and serves in advisory boards. He can be reached through LinkedIn or email mike@tenx2.com

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