GS2018: The Interview Blogs – #SmartCities Christoph Wollersheim & Isra Sharief

01 november 2018

The Interview Blogs highlight the experiences of Global Shapers: Generation 2018, the workflow coaches, executive and senior leadership team members, and a board member from The Lovinklaan Foundation. The #ShareTheStory team interviewed these individuals with specific interview questions geared towards their unique experience during the face-to-face program, October 13 – 17, in Boston, Massachusetts, USA. Today, an interview with Christoph Wollersheim, Global Head of Data Analytics and workflow coach of the workflow #SmartCities, and Isra Sharief (Arcadis Middle East), Global Shaper of Generation 2018 and workflow captain of the workflow #SmartCities.

How did you get involved with Global Shapers and #FutureCities?

CW: Future Cities is part of Vision 2030 and everything we do around Vision 2030 will be powered by analytics. #SmartCities will be mostly driven by analytics, so having a #SmartCities workflow as part of Global Shapers made a lot of sense and that’s how Nienke (Groen, Global Shapers Program Manager) pitched this to me.

Why is #FutureCities and #SmartCities important?

CW: By 2030 we are expecting there will be 8.5 billion people on earth, 70% of those will be living in cities which means there will be new challenges that we all have to deal with involving mobility, congestion etc. Sensors will be collecting data that needs to be used, this is where #SmartCities will come in.

Tell us about your #SmartCities workflow team.

CW: I’ve been more than impressed, it’s unbelievable how much they’ve been able to do in two days. I’ve been in a few of these pressure cooker workshops, so I know what to expect, but they definitely overachieved any of my expectations. It’s very impressive. The problem statement was quite complex so the first day was spent as a design sprint – thinking what can we do and how should we do it – what are the pain points and how do we solve the pain points. I think they solved this issue really well and it positions them well in the right way to go forwards afterwards. 

Tell us about your #SmartCities workflow.

IS: We team #SmartCities have thought of solutions to help citizens and developers to create business and live better. We have two different work streams we have been working on, and within that we have developed an idea of how we can make sure every citizen is going to enhance their quality of life by living in the right place and having all their priorities and needs at hand. Making sure that the developers are developing exactly what the market needs, trends are met and that the information that we are gathering is available for them to produce the right kind of developments for #FutureCities to grow.

How do you feel about working in a multi-cultural environment?

IS: Working in a multi-cultural environment has been very rewarding. Different people from 29 countries all over the world have come together for the Global Shapers program. Just to be here and working together, on a professional and on a personal basis, has been one of the best things that has happened in my life. Learning from different experiences, different backgrounds and different professional backgrounds has been one of the best experiences. Global Shapers is the way to go.

The Interview Blogs were powered by the #ShareTheStory workflow and the blog interview team, including the Shapers that were virtually present at the f2f program.