Smart Cities and Leadership Lessons

For my next two days in Davos, I had the privilege of joining a roundtable on smart cities which focuses on financing solutions and project governance. It was a big discussion on the definition of smart as well as related smart cities policies, governance and other elements that could be defined.

January 27, 2020

Two key agreements were achieved – the retrofitting of existing cities and financing models for long term wider development as well as extending “smartness” to smaller towns and villages to ensure inclusive growth.

What’s exciting is that this group, fronted by international economic think tank, The Bridge Tank and investment firm, SayeNvest Capital Advisory London, will continue to work together to iron out the framework till the next WEF summit in Davos. The insights and inputs from the discussion will also likely go to the policy-makers in the G20 countries.

As Davos wrapped up, it was clear that sustainability issues and socio-economic impact are high on the agenda. Businesses and policy makers will be under greater scrutiny with regards to their approach towards climate change, the outcomes of their diversity and inclusion policies, governance around anything digital, and how they achieve inclusive capitalism.

These are food for thought for me as I left Davos. Like every year, I feel extremely privileged to have reconnected with old friends and met some incredible minds.

And guess who I bumped into on the plane back to Singapore? Singapore’s Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong who was also on the same flight! I felt so honoured that he wished me a happy birthday. He also shared Chinese New Year greetings with everyone on the flight.

They may not be big gestures, but they are certainly meaningful for fellow passengers and myself. PM Lee’s humility and sincerity are indeed traits of true leadership. 

Susheel Koul 

Executive Managing Director IFM, Asia Pacific