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Smart Governance Conference – Day 2 Recap

Today concluded the last day of IRI’s two-day Smart Governance Conference in Miami, “How Smart Governance is Transforming Local Government in the Americas,” which gathered public and private sector representatives from the region, civil society organizations and technology and governance practitioners to reflect on the future of smart governance initiatives.

Smart governance initiatives are helping to make cities more intelligent and responsive to the communities they serve. But not all cities have the same capabilities or resources, nor the access  to make better decisions based on real-time information that leads to optimized city costs, and more efficient and environmentally friendly processes. IRI’s Smart Governance Conference was thus a powerful space where partner municipalities in the region were exposed to smart practices and trends. More so, the conference is contributing to a larger movement where experts from across the world are sharing best practices and facilitating exchanges to help governance transform.

eMerge Americas, for example, is a technology conference held in Miami that showcases the hottest start-ups, cutting-edge innovations, and latest trends in technology. Thought leaders from key industries in the midst of transformation, convene in Miami to connect and learn about the latest technology developments driving growth and innovation in the Americas. Events like this are critical in connecting innovators, investors and practitioners from North America, Europe, and Latin America through summits, workshops and networking to define the global tech scene.

In this space, companies like Telefonica, a Spanish broadband and telecommunications provider with operations in Europe, Asia, North America and South America, can showcase their smart governance initiatives. Telefonica’s Smart Cities initiative, powered by machine-to-machine (M2M) solutions that seek to make cities more efficient and sustainable through intelligent public services, is helping to create urban environments that are permanently communicating with citizens and capable of managing public services in real-time to improve their quality of life. This includes traffic management, garbage collection, irrigation systems, alerting local authorities when an incident occurs and allowing the government to engage with its’ people.

What’s beautiful is that the size and scope of the initiaves or those who implement them do not deter them from making an impact. For example, Codeando Mexico, a small group of Mexican software developers and designers who seek to expedite and democratize civic innovation by following the agile practices of the tech community, gathers other software developers and designers through public hackathons to solve issues of importance to the community. And companies like Venture Hive, an entrepreneurship education company that offers institutions and communities effective turnkey models to create entrepreneurial ecosystems, are providing the resources to help spur this burgeoning digital culture that could act as a tool to develop new local realities.

These new local realities will force governments to adapt and continuously evolve to stay relevant by being responsive to a rapidly changing world. They will not solely be about delivering government services over the Internet; it’s much more than that. These new local realities will be about investing in people, tools, policies, and processes to fully support government operations, engage citizens, and provide government services in ways that are responsive to rapidly changing conditions and even more rapidly changing citizen expectations.  Municipalities like Patzún, Guatemala, are testament to this. It’s not about e-governance, which leaves the impression that a nicely designed web site is the whole story. It’s about Smart Governance, which is responsive, efficient, transparent and inclusive, and constantly evolves to meet tomorrow’s needs.

Posted by

Christian González

Program Assistant, Latin America and the Caribbean Division