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Towards a smarter city

Event information

START DATE 20 May 2015
START TIME 04:00pm

Committee Room 2, Hendon Town Hall, The Burroughs, London NW4 4AX

END DATE 20 May 2015
END TIME 06:00pm

‘Ideal-types’ of knowledge leadership for socially-inclusive growth

The use of new technology to improve lives is a central goal of Europe 2020, that cities, as the engines of growth, are 'smart' as well as socially-inclusive. But the suggestion that the repeated failure of urban development initiatives to tackle social inequality lies with their support for neo-liberal privatism agendas at the expense of the social domain, leaves this aspiration wanting (Wilks-Heeg 1993, Atkinson 2000, Pugalis 2013, March & Ribera-Fumaz 2014).  

Leadership of place scholars suggest that by paying attention to the multiple-actors involved and their complex, knowledge-oriented contexts, we can address this methodological deficit. This paper reports on a £10,000 Seedcorn-funded collaborative project with Birmingham Business School to explore the 'lived experience' of formal and informal place leaders in Smart Cities. Drawing on a novel methodological approach involving sensemaking and ideal-types analysis (Gerhardt 1994) we reveal subtle differences in the way that actors interpret and experience knowledge-leadership across four Smart Cities in England and suggest that this goes beyond sectoral interests but is instead rooted in differing levels of commitment to public versus private good. 

Refreshments will be provided. To confirm a place please notify Pamela Macaulay.


Dr Alyson Nicholds joined the Leadership, Work and Organisations department at Middlesex University in 2013, having previously worked at the University of Birmingham, where she completed her PhD exploring critical approaches to urban policy and a post-doctoral £300,000, NIHR-funded research project, using Q Methodology to evaluate joint commissioning in health and social care. 

With a professional background in public health and urban and regional development across the private, public and third sectors, Alyson's research interests are inter-disciplinary and theoretically-led, involving the use of multi-discourse approaches to tackle complex policy problems. 

Alyson currently teaches modules in International Leadership and Management Development and Critical Reflexivity at Work. She is also co-leader of the Organisational Life Research Cluster, with Dr Tim Freeman, bringing together colleagues who share an interest in using novel methodological approaches to better understand the lived experience of organisational life.

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