Organizational and managerial challenges for public actors working towards becoming a smart city - A case study of the City of Stockholm

University essay from Lunds universitet/Innovationsteknik

Abstract: Cities are becoming smart to cope with the challenges associated with urban development. One of the cities trying to become smart is the City of Stockholm, which in 2017 adopted a strategy to become the world’s smartest and most connected city. However, becoming a smart city is not easy. The transformation requires a new organizational approach and innovation in management, which the City of Stockholm must address to make the transformation successful. The master’s thesis was conducted through a case study of the City of Stockholm to investigate the organizational and managerial challenges of becoming a smart city, and the important critical success factors for a public actor, like the City of Stockholm, in managing towards a smart city. Ten interviews and four observations were carried out through a cross-section of the City of Stockholm to understand the work towards becoming smart from different perspectives. The empirical data was combined with theoretical frameworks regarding smart city and innovation management to analyze the City of Stockholm’s attempt to become a smart city. The master’s thesis identified twelve organizational and managerial challenges; multiple and conflicting smart city definitions, lack of knowledge about the smart city strategy, lack of management support, unclear vision of the smart city strategy, insufficient involvement of employees, lack of alignment between the overall smart city goals and the initiated smart city projects, lack of structure for exchanging knowledge, lack of structure and routines for involving the citizens, high presence of functional silos and hierarchy, poor receptiveness of new ideas and resistance to change, lack of structure for liberating time and resources for new ideas and not embracing calculated risk. Finally, the identified important critical success factors were; management and organization, people and community and governance. The City of Stockholm and similar public actors should take the findings into consideration to accelerate the smart city transformation.

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