Today is my second day at DG Cities and my excitement is only gaining momentum. Two days into the role and already I envision this team of 11 growing in size, quickly becoming a sea of hundreds, all eagerly brainstorming and collaborating to reshape and improve our cities. Or perhaps these are the musings of a graduating millennial wishfully getting ahead of himself. But how could I not, when the setting is so compelling? You’re perched on the 11th floor, surrounded by floor-to-ceiling glass walls showcasing London’s iconic features; cable cars ornamenting your desktop view, and the O2’s unorthodox dome serving as the backdrop of your meeting rooms. In between desks, you get carried away by a few large whiteboards reflecting intense ideation sessions, until your attention is caught by an agile-looking team that’s 60%+ women-powered. That is a teasingly concise sketch of DG Cities’ ethos, but hopefully one that is enough to tempt you to come and visit – we’ll make sure to leave you inspired.
Day two is the last of my work week at DG Cities, as academia has a hold of me for the other three. Currently, I’m pursuing an MSc in Transport and Business Management at Imperial College London and UCL. I have an avid passion for innovation in the transport industry, and am currently in the process of launching my dissertation research, which entails quantifying the impact of connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs) on London’s parking space. Systems thinking, modelling and data analysis shall be my close companions for the coming months.
Quite ironically, and I am not sure who to thank yet, my dissertation serendipitously falls in line with my first assigned project at DG Cities – project “Apollo.” A grandiose-sounding name for a valid reason: the project involves potent partners including Addison Lee, Oxbotica, Nominet, and Immense Simulations, and is Europe’s largest pilot of self-driven passenger services. While my dissertation involves quantifying CAVs’ impact on one aspect of a city, my contribution to Apollo builds on that: it consists of designing a framework for measuring the impact of the Apollo CAV service, which can then be scaled to estimate the impact at both the borough and city level. Such a framework is just the start for us at DG Cities. It lays the groundwork for a greater vision – that of helping cities choose mobility services in the future based on a data driven analysis of their performance. More on that in a prospective blog post.
While that is just one of the many goals that DG Cities strives to achieve, it is one that undoubtedly reminds me of the immense opportunity that I have by being part of this team. Not to mention that amidst their bold visions, a work-life balance that challenges the absurd norms of compulsive workaholism remains an integral part of their values… And you thought that no organisation could ever change the world on 40 hours a week. Mr Musk – we gracefully accept your challenge.