City looking for innovators for ‘Smart Kingston’ working groups

The City of Kingston is putting out an appeal for forward-thinking, innovative residents to help leverage technology to solve local problems.

The appeal, which follows the Smart Kingston Symposium held in the fall, is hoping to create working groups that will feed information and ideas back into a larger conversation.

Craig Desjardins, Director of Strategy, Innovation and Partnership for the City of Kingston speaks to a room during an information session about the City’s new ‘Smart Kingston’ working groups. Photo by Tommy Vallier.

“There’s an overarching group that will meet and provide feedback and course correction,” said Craig Desjardins, Director of Strategy, Innovation and Partnerships for the City following an information session hosted on Wednesday, Feb. 12, 2020. “But the real work will be done in the working groups. They’re smaller, more agile, and able to address a specific theme.”

In keeping with the theme from the symposium, the city is hoping to form groups around ideas that are people-focused, secure, green, and/or culturally enriching.

“The groups are really meant to be solution-focused,” noted Jeff Bumstead, Chief Information Officer for the city. “They will determine how we, as a city, can apply smart concepts, or people, or processes to address problems.”

While the goal of these new groups will be to find solutions, Bumstead was quick to note that the City isn’t defining the problems.

“We’re really hoping to engage with people [and] have an organic discussion about what issues people are experiencing,” he said.

Craig Desjardins, left, speaks with Jeff Bumstead, Chief Information Officer for the City of Kingston, while presenting the City’s plan for a new ‘Smart Kingston’ working group at an information session. Photo by Tommy Vallier

In looking to create these groups, the city points to examples of the recently introduced snowplow tracker and the waste lookup app as technology-based solutions to existing problem residents were having.

There was also an example provided during the session of someone who wanted to locate bumps in sidewalks and used a camera, programming GPS data and his bike to locate them before providing the city with a map.

Information sessions will continue through April. Residents looking for more information or to apply to be a part of the working groups can do so at the the Smart Kingston website.

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