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Interview with Ted Ross, CIO, City of Los Angeles

3 Interesting Learnings From the City of Los Angeles

california the public sector show Oct 18, 2022

Read time: 3 minutes.

I came into this conversation thinking our hour would be filled with all the confetti and hype that deservedly goes hand in hand when a city hosts the Olympic Games. What transpired was a fascinating dive into the inner workings of ethics and city planning to bring this 2028 dream event safely and successfully to fruition.

Here are 3 interesting learnings from my conversation with Ted Ross, CIO for the City of Los Angeles:

1. It's More Than Data: It’s a Digital Mindset

Digital Ethics was top-of-mind for planning out the newer, smarter City of Los Angeles. Ted shared how becoming increasingly digital has also increased distrust of digital technology. How can cities step in and become superheroes for their citizens?

By thinking through the little details that make a difference for the residents as well as visitors passing through:

"Because when you think of a smart city, you're thinking of technology, you're thinking of data, you're thinking of resources being deployed, ideally, to improve the lives of residents, businesses and visitors, right that people who live in LA, the businesses operate in LA and the people who visit LA, but when you start to drill into it, it can become extremely personal."

RelatedDeveloping a Digital Mindset - How to lead your organization into the age of data, algorithms, and AI by Harvard Business Review

Below is the Harvard Business Review summary if you’re interested in reading on:

Learning new technological skills is essential for digital transformation. But it is not enough. Employees must be motivated to use their skills to create new opportunities. They need a digital mindset: a set of attitudes and behaviors that enable people and organizations to see how data, algorithms, and AI open up new possibilities and to chart a path for success in an increasingly technology-intensive world.

This article lays out the basic principles of developing a digital mindset across the workforce, drawing lessons from Philips, Moderna, and Unilever.

2. Planning for the 2028 Olympics & Smart Cities

Whether it's privacy concerns, data breaches, or other security-related issues, it's impossible to ignore that technology profoundly influences our everyday lives.

Knowing how to best protect yourself can be difficult, but cities can help by taking a proactive approach. They must think like the bad guy and work backward, strengthening security measures to protect their citizens and offer them greater peace of mind. It's a complex challenge, but it's one that cities must take on if they are to keep their citizens safe.

So how do cities offer better peace of mind for their citizens? By thinking like the bad guy and working backward:

"So when you think of smart cities, you often think of cameras that are used to detect traffic. What else can those cameras be used for? And do unauthorized people have access to those cameras? Do you think of IoT installed on streetlights? Once again? What are you sensing? How are you sensing it is anonymized? Can you detect something about an individual that you really shouldn't be?"

RelatedRedefining 'smart cities' while preparing for the Olympics by StateScoop

3. Think Like Your Citizens: The Fear Is Real

Digital technology has the potential to improve life in cities, but it is important to consider the ethical implications of its use.

You can’t address what you don’t see, right? And what seems like a great benefit within your own IT bubble might need translation out into your greater communities in order for them to truly grasp that you’re on their side!

"You think of things like Smart Push notifications to residents: Am I harassing residents? Do I know too much about a resident? Am I pushing something to them that they really don't want and maybe even giving them a way to get out of it, all of these things conceptually can be used for good and actually can transform life in a city. But these could also be used for evil. And so that's why the digital ethics conversation becomes extremely important"

Start by considering the neighbors, the families, and the communities- how can these changes positively impact how people relate to one another in their everyday lives?

Be sure to check out the full episode here: 

on a personal note:

I’m wrapping up my four weeks of travel in Orlando at Gartner IT Symposium.

See you next week! : )


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Every Saturday morning, you'll get the weekly podcast recap and 3 Interesting Learnings from an episode