Building Connected Communities: Lawrence Eta — CTO, City of Toronto

Toronto City Hall

I hope you’re enjoying a safe and innovative start to 2022!

Last year, I shared a window into my recent professional journey from transforming one client enterprise at a time, to an ecosystem-wide innovation focus. During this journey, I had the honour of meeting and working with leaders that inspire ecosystem growth for a long-term positive impact to the society. These leaders enable positive changes with every initiative they champion and every decision they make. This is a deeper commitment based on strategic investments and consistent leadership. Their goal is to enable long-term solutions for real positive impact to the society. These solutions are designed to enable well-being and sustainable lives for the next seven generations in our communities.

Lawrence Eta is one of these futuristic and inspiring leaders. Lawrence is the Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at my very own city, the City of Toronto (awesome Canadian city, eh?). Lawrence and his team have been supporting Torontonians since September 2017. Lawrence is a multi-national business and technology leader with more than 20 years of experience in guiding operations and technology sectors through big transformations. He is a change agent capable of designing and implementing complex and impactful business strategies.

Lawrence and I discussed the City of Toronto’s recent evolution. This includes the City’s important work during the pandemic to ensure the safety of its residents, and the new Digital Infrastructure Plan (DIP). Watch the conversation below and learn more about the DIP.

Lawrence: “Toronto is a city that puts the community first and drives change, transformation and innovation”.

The goal of DIP is to enable a connected community. Below is a brief summary of the DIP. More information is available at this link from the City of Toronto:

What is a connected community?

At the City of Toronto, a connected community will be built using processes, tools, data and technology to optimize resources and enhance the quality as well as accessibility. It will increase the performance of urban services, economic competitiveness and engage residents, businesses and visitors more effectively. Ultimately, it will be a digitally connected community, working to support holistic needs of the residents.

What is the digital infrastructure and its impact?

Digital infrastructure creates, exchanges or uses data as a part of its operation. Digital infrastructure includes physical structures, cabling and network systems, software systems, data standards and protocols.

City of Toronto’s DIP will improve Torontonians’ quality of life in a variety of ways. It will assist in the development of a society that promotes fair, accessible and inclusive advantages. It will enable social, community, economic and environmental well-being for all residents.

Principles for City of Toronto’s DIP

The City has identified six principles for maximum positive impact on Toronto’s residents:

  1. Equity and Inclusion
  2. A Well-run City
  3. Social, Environmental, and Economic Benefits
  4. Privacy and Security
  5. Democracy and Transparency
  6. Digital Autonomy

Lawrence and his team have an incredible vision for a future City of Toronto:

Lawrence: “the vision starts with the community right in the middle, and every thing that goes around it in the next 10 years must be about the community”.

This resonates extremely well with me. Innovation and transformation are only effective when they create an immense amount of value for the community (residents, customers, employees, partners…). Processes and technology are tools to help us accelerate an underlying strategic vision. Pair this strategic vision with disruptive technologies, and together they can create a long-term responsible future.

In the end, here’s what I believe matters most in the post-pandemic world,

business and technology conversations must always translate into benefits for the people; both for the collectives and for each specific individual.

This is what we need to progress as a holistic society. And, this is how we define responsible innovation at GoEmerald and transform this. If this resonates with you, watch for next week’s newsletter with more information.

At this time, I sincerely thank Lawrence and the City of Toronto team for their continued dedication in keeping us safe, especially as we prepare to tackle the new pandemic wave this week. And, I wish you a healthy, happy and productive week.

If you enjoyed this, join the global transform this community for more innovation and research.

© 2022 Emerald Technology Group Inc. All rights reserved.

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A Strategy Officer’s learnings from building, innovating and scaling 35+ businesses in 10 industries.

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Gunjan Syal

Gunjan Syal

I build, innovate and scale success in a way that the results are visible, measurable and repeatable, through responsible innovation.

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