Tuesday, August 6, 2013

What is a CityNext Showcase City?

Seattle ... not Philadelphia.

Well for starters, Philadelphia is 1 of only 13 cities (globally) to be named one. We were also the only North American city selected.

Microsoft is the creator of this program, and it has carefully selected cities around the world to take part in it. As stated in this article, here is what the program is trying to accomplish:

"CityNext is a global initiative empowering cities, businesses, and citizens to re-imagine their futures and cultivate vibrant communities. Cities are centers of industrial, economic, and entrepreneurial activity that fuel the rest of the world’s success. But cities increasingly encounter compelling forces, such as rapid urbanization, modernization mandates, and economic austerity pressures. Microsoft CityNext offers cities a vast and diverse Microsoft Partner Network of more than 430,000 technology experts across the globe to innovate today and create a better tomorrow. Leveraging a broad portfolio of familiar and security-enhanced consumer to business software, devices and services and Microsoft’s history of successful education and social programs, CityNext is a collective effort that enables cities and their people to accomplish what’s next."

So what does this mean for Philadelphia? It means that Microsoft will give us 3 years of solid focus and support to try and accomplish the goals stated above. They want us to embrace technology, improve communication, and increase efficiencies across all city departments; a tall order, but something that's definitely needed.

Now, the goals stated above are rather vague and general, IMHO. But what I like about us getting selected for this program is that a powerhouse like Microsoft is taking note of Philadelphia, and the great energy it has. Philadelphia has a long, storied history of entrepreneurial success, and it seems like everyday now that we're taking another step in the right direction toward embracing that spirit as a global, forward-thinking city. Our technology scene is doing very well, and our open office culture is leading the charge across the US.

As a city, I also think it's smart to jump at opportunities like this one because it's available to those who want it. In other words, Microsoft has put its neck out there to support cities who want to embrace technology as a way to enhance Philadelphia's quality of life and the customer service of its citizens. Our job was apply and accept; smart move.

I think it's a no-brainer to jump at an opportunity like this. It's also cool to know that we were the only American city slected.

Nice job, Philly.

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