In this academic course, Didier Grimaldi (one of my PhD candidate) has presented and defended her PhD Dissertation at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya – BarcelonaTech. Presentation and defense have been excellent and her speech at Question Time has been quite good. In addition to the high quality of his research, it is necessary to highlight that Didier has been able to finish his doctorate in only two years, with two publications in indexed scientific journals, another in a second review and a third one that he has just sent to another journal. I attach the reference of the doctoral thesis:

  • Title: New forms of entrepreneurship and innovation for developing Smart Cities
  • PhD Candidate: Didier Grimaldi
  • Supervisor: Vicenc Fernandez
  • Place and Date: Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya, Friday November 11th, 2016.

Abstract:

Cities are receiving more and more residents while the natural resources are getting scarce and scarce. As a possible answer, diverse streams of thoughts have emerged declaring that cities need to become intelligent, wired or human. We decided to consider the last stage of this reflection that defines the paradigm of Smart Cities to highlight the use of the information and telecommunication technologies for a better efficiency of the urban services and in response to the residents’ needs. In a Smart City, public officials monitor the services of the city and enable a better quality of life.

Social insurance schemes and tax-financed municipal services are monetarily constrained and are unable to respond effectively to growing societal needs. As a consequence, the urban development has moved from a public managerial to an entrepreneurial focus where the emerging technologies e.g. Big Data, Social Media and Internet of Things (IoT) are the drivers of this transformation. My research consists on exploring, describing and analysing different forms of innovation and entrepreneurship in the city. Accordingly, we decided to orientate our epistemological works on studying the cases of two Smart Cities internationally recognized (i.e. Barcelona and Nice).

To achieve this objective, we have split this research in four studies according to four chapters. The first chapter studies and shortlists amongst all the emerging technologies those which play a principal role in the building of the Smart City. It analyses also the gap that the universities have to cross to prepare the students to develop new models of urban services. The second chapter presents a case of business development in the domain of public parking. It focuses on the conditions of establishment of a digital business ecosystem based on an IoT platform and analyses the value created and captured by this model.

The third chapter presents the case of a citizen initiative in the domain of the education called ’the school road’. It has the objective to list, classify and analyse the barriers that limit this project. It finalizes proposing different solutions to mitigate the impediments and stress the possible social contribution of the small and local shops for this initiative. In the final chapter, following these recommendations, we investigate how the stores spread in the urban grid could play this social role. Focusing on the first phase of the entrepreneurship process, i.e., the opportunity identification, we suggest a heuristic able to recommend and numerically prioritize the vacant locations as per their opportunity of business value creation. The originality of this heuristic resides on the capacity to cover social and business perspectives together.

The first and third study are inductive and qualitative researches whereas the second and fourth are deductive and quantitative ones. The qualitative researches are based on interviews to Smart City experts and a survey sent to parents. The quantitative ones are supported by scientific theories about business model generation. The value calculation of the digital business ecosystem is verified by paired T-Test and polynomial linear regression analysis. Data from parking sensors are collected and analysed with a Big Data analytics solution. The heuristic leverages the theory of complex networks applied to the urban grid.

We recommend the entrepreneurs to consider our results before starting any new services based on an IoT supply chain platform or deciding on the location of their future shop. We advise also public managers to leverage our findings to revise their urban policy if their goal is to revitalize the local industrial and services urban base.