Khan asks tech for solutions

Mayor of London Sadiq Khan is calling on tech ventures to help address the challenges of climate, ageing and inequality, through a new civic innovation challenge. The challenge is part of a ‘smarter London together roadmap’ programme.

smart london road mapOlder and less well-off Londoners will be among those set to benefit from tech for good innovations under a new partnership launched this week by mayor of London Sadiq Khan.

At Monday’s London Tech Week launch Khan unveiled a new civic innovation challenge, which is set to match tech startups with businesses and public bodies to create innovative solutions to some of the capital’s most pressing problems.

“I want us to go even further and to do even more to fully unlock the benefits of innovation,” Khan told the audience at the Francis Crick Institute. “Not just for London’s economy, but for our public services and our society.

“To do this you must be bold, brave and confident enough to think big and try new things. This is how we can achieve our vision of making London the world’s leading smart city. We want to harness innovation for the benefit of all Londoners.”

The first year of the programme sets seven challenges across three broad themes: climate change, ageing population and inequality:

Dementia services
Active travel
Electric vehicles
Delivering affordable homes
Financial inclusion and digital skills
Loneliness and isolation
Physical activity.

Tech for good investor and accelerator Bethnal Green Ventures is supporting the mayor in delivering the new civic challenge. “We saw this as a great opportunity to help the growing community of tech for good startups pilot their solutions with huge customers such as TfL and the National Grid,” BGV blogged this week.

Each challenge is sponsored by a corporate or public sector body, which will then work with the startups to test their solutions. Organisations partnering with startups on a first round of innovations include Transport for London, Ealing Council, Hackney, Lloyds Banking Group, Our Healthier South East London STP and National Grid.

Unlike schemes running through BGV’s regular accelerator programme – like the new global goals accelerator announced last week – it will support the civic innovation challenge with separate workshops and support for pilots.

sadiqkhanltw2018The civic innovation challenge is part of a wider ‘smarter London together’ roadmap, designed to make London the smartest city in the world. It is intended to be “a flexible digital masterplan for the city”.

The roadmap is divided into five missions: design, data sharing, connectivity, skills, and collaboration.

Khan told Monday’s launch that the roadmap “sets out how we can leverage data, science and tech to promote economic growth and to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing our city, from cleaning up our polluted air to helping the police make our streets safer.”

“I see London’s future as a global test bed city for innovation, where the best tech companies work to develop solutions to major challenges,” Khan added.

London tech week 2018 lifts off