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Digital Subscriptions > Cities Today > October 2018 > London to launch new office of innovation

London to launch new office of innovation

Theo Blackwell, London’s Chief Digital Officer, met with Jonathan Andrews to discuss the UK capital’s new smart city strategy and the upcoming launch of the London Office of Technology & Innovation
Theo Blackwell, Chief Digital Officer, London
Photo: Greater London Authority

After his first year as London’s Chief Digital Officer, Theo Blackwell hasn’t had much time to reflect. Appointed in September last year by the mayor, Sadiq Khan, Blackwell immediately embarked on an eight-month listening tour to garner feedback and help him formulate the city’s new smart city strategy.

Released in June, the strategy isn’t shy in its ambitions and according to the mayor, it will make London the “smartest city in the world”. The strategy–in the form of a roadmap–includes more than 20 initiatives designed to support the development of the next generation of smart technology and promote greater data sharing among the city’s public services (see box).

A key element of the new plan is the London Office of Technology & Innovation which will open before the end of the year.

“In a city that has been nonstrategic in its approach to technology and its civic benefits, we need to create the institutions that enable city-wide collaboration such as [this] new office,” says Blackwell. “Technologists want to collaborate and we can provide the environment for that to happen.”

Accompanying the Office of Technology will be the London Office of Data Analytics for which the mayor has budgeted £365,000 and the London Office of Rapid Cybersecurity Advancement–a new £13.5-million innovation centre that will incubate 72 cyber security companies, across a variety of sectors including AI, data analytics, VR/AR, fintech and IoT.

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