Why is New York City Hiring a Futurist?

New York City is often looked to as a trendsetter, setting the tone for cities across the nation.  Recently, the city took a major step towards positioning itself as a city of innovation with the launch of NYCx, a program to help the city prepare for the high-tech future.

Driving Innovation Through Moonshot Challenges

According to the city government website, NYCx will focus on innovations that will make the city more equitable and more sustainable. They will develop moonshot challenges to encourage entrepreneurs to tackle major problems.

This makes a great deal of sense, since New York is a hub for innovative startups that are disrupting industries from home goods to healthcare. Instead of attempting to hire experts and put them on the government payroll, the city will award entrepreneurs who have great ideas and will support them through the development of those ideas.

The first moonshot challenge from NYCx is to transform Governors Island into a testing hub for broadband. The island has some Wi-Fi coverage, but it is spotty at best. Three finalists will be given $25,000 to develop their ideas.

Utilizing A Futurist To Allocate Resources Effectively

NYCx is also going one step further by hiring a senior futurist in the spirit of innovators like Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos. The futurist will gather insights on trends coming down the pike, so that the city knows what types of projects are worth the time and resources. Solid forecasting can save billions of dollars and can have an impact that lasts decades.

New York City’s chief technology officer, Miguel Gamiño, recently told reporters that government often lags behind, spending too much time catching up with new technology and not enough time proactively innovating. He said, “The most talented engineers and designers can build things that are trivial but make a lot of money, or they can build things that benefit people’s lives. Moonshots are not just us trying to peek around the corner [to see the future], but actually design around the corner.”

What Does This Mean for Your Organization?

Why should your business care about NYCx? First and foremost, any investment in tech innovation is good for the market. Initiatives like these reinforce the idea that New York is a great place to work in technology, and it can attract great talent to the market.

Second, it’s also a great opportunity for any New York company to get involved in improving the city and the world through tech innovation. There are no restrictions on who can apply for a challenge, so if you or your team has a great idea, those ideas are welcome to be considered whether your company has 20 employees or 20,000 employees.

If you are looking for new and innovative ways to attract top tech talent in New York to your organization, talk to the expert recruiters at Talon today. We can help you staff your projects with the best and brightest the city has to offer.


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