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Leadership of Urban Digital Innovation for Public Value


APPLY HERE - £200 Early Bird Discount until 14 February 2024!

The Executive Education course in Leadership of Urban Digital Innovation for Public Value (LeadUP) equips participants with new thinking and case-based learning on multidisciplinary leadership competencies for responsible digital innovation and public value creation.

This course is designed for senior executives and professionals in leadership roles working in public and private organisations involved in the delivery of digital innovation projects with a focus on the urban built environment. The LeadUP Executive Education course will equip you with new competency perspectives to deliver digital innovation projects through responsible innovation in connected places and cities.

Dates, Fee and Duration

  • 26-27 February 2024 
  • From 9:00 am to 5:15 pm
  • Venue: James Dyson Building, Department of Engineering, Trumpington St, Cambridge CB2 1QA
  • Course fee: £1,850 (including VAT). A discount is available for public sector organisations (e.g., Local Government). Lunch, tea, and coffee are included in the fee. 
  • The fee does not include accommodation, however, we can provide you with information on where to find accommodation in Cambridge. Please contact us at

Please note that the deadline for enrolment is 2 February 2024. As places are limited, we will treat applications on a first-come first-served basis. 

For general enquiries about the course please email: 

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Alumni Testimonials

“What a great two days! This course bridged a divide that often exists between academia and local government. The content was well-considered with a good balance between theory and practical application, which offered a great way to learn. The digital innovation process model developed by the team has much to offer those leading digital change in their organisations.” - Rebekah Wilson, Programme Manager (Cyber, Digital and Technology), Local Government Association


"This is an excellent course for all those with an interest in how digital innovation can support place-making in urban built environments. The course successfully blends rigorous academic thinking with practical understanding and actionable insights, providing participants with the competencies required to lead digital innovation in the urban context." - Debbie Bondi, Director, Plethos Consulting

Read more testimonials about LeadUP here.

Course Overview and Delivery

This flagship Executive Education course will provide new thinking and case-based learning on multidisciplinary leadership competencies for responsible digital innovation and public-value creation. The content of the Executive Education course is underpinned by the five-year-long Digital Cities for Change (DC2) research programme, particularly, its novel competency framework for fostering leadership, competency-building and responsible digital innovation in connected places and cities. 

Face-to-Face Delivery

The course will be delivered in person and requires you to travel to the historic city of Cambridge, where you will have the opportunity to meet and interact with lecturers and peers while enjoying the beauty and rich history the city of Cambridge offers. The residential delivery will enable you to fully focus on your learning objectives, networking, and knowledge sharing. Learn from lecturers and ask questions. Experience close faculty and peer interaction by taking part in group exercises and discussions both in class and during breaks over lunch or other downtimes.

Who Should Attend

This Executive Education course is targeted at senior executives and professionals in leadership roles working in public and private organisations involved in the delivery of digital innovation projects with a focus on the urban built environment.

You will benefit from:

  • Digital Cities for Change research-based framework;
  • In-person sessions;
  • Informal conversations with senior executives;
  • Peer-to-peer mentoring;
  • Case-based workshops;
  • World-leading academic insights from the University of Cambridge faculty.

Key Take Aways

  • Discovering new ways of thinking to tackle cross-cutting urban challenges and improve outcomes for urban communities;
  • Exploring new competencies, aimed at leading digitalisation and responsible innovation;
  • Identifying changing roles and tasks required for successful digitalisation;
  • Connecting with an interdisciplinary network of city professionals while facilitating knowledge sharing and support.
Your Learning Journey


Part 1: Largescale digital Innovations in the urban built environment: concepts, global trends, and implications

Part 1 will introduce key concepts that will be discussed in detail in the remaining units and provide context for the following sessions. The content will cover the different views on understanding smart city development as a dynamic change process. International cases will be used to highlight examples of global trends in urban digitalisation initiatives and to show their far-reaching implications for the urban built environment.

Part 2: Understanding urban digital innovation through the digital innovation process model

Part 2 will explore how digitalisation projects in the urban built environment can be understood and approached as a socio-technical dynamic process owing to their multi-faceted composition. Our DC2 digital innovation process model will be used to deliver this understanding. The model will emphasise how the delivery of public value should be the starting point, from which a comprehensive socio-technical view of digitalisation initiatives can be realised. You will have the opportunity to reflect on your own experience and that of your peers through case-study analysis in a project-based workshop.

Day 1 Project-based workshop: Participants will examine different case studies to identify any gaps in the delivery of city-scale digital projects through the lens of the DC2 digital innovation process model. Participants will have the opportunity to describe, based on their experiences, how they undertook (relevant) activities within the digital innovation process model, detailing successes, pitfalls, and what they found missing.


Part 3: How to lead responsible digital innovation in the urban built environment: concepts and international cases

Building on the learning from day 1, Part 3 addresses the challenge of how to lead responsible digital innovation in the urban built environment. It highlights how developing such leadership entails a comprehensive understanding of the digital and technical, governance and management, and ethical and responsible innovation dimensions of digital innovations. This will be done by using international case studies that emphasise both desirable and undesirable outcomes to demonstrate how each dimension is effectively applied. To complement the case study examples, participants will undertake a reflective exercise in which they are invited to discuss how these three dimensions could be applied to the cases analysed on day 1.

Part 4: The nexus of excellence: place-based leadership competencies and roles

Part 4 highlights the centrality of the multi-disciplinary competencies needed to enable effective leadership in the delivery of digital innovations. Building on the digital innovation process model, this session will deliver a high-level understanding of the novel DC2 Competency Framework, complemented with examples from research case studies that will help demonstrate its application. This unit will equip participants with knowledge of the competencies needed by city managers and their digitalisation delivery partners, as well as the skills to evaluate organisational needs regarding new roles and competencies to be developed.

Day 2 Project-based workshop: This workshop is designed to enable participants to harness their analytical skills to produce outputs with the potential to spur innovations in their organisations. Participants will scrutinize their organisations as case studies, and identify missing competencies and roles needed for the successful delivery of digitalisation projects that are driven by ethical and responsible innovation principles for creating public value.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of the course, you will be able to:

  • Understand different types of digital innovations implemented to tackle urban challenges for public value creation, their implications for stakeholders and their potential (unintended) consequences;
  • Identify and describe multidisciplinary competencies and roles required in your own organisation for leading the delivery of urban-scale digital innovation projects to create public value;
  • Discuss and weigh the major challenges for stakeholder engagement focusing on social implications such as lack of representativeness, vulnerabilities and marginalisation, and openness and inclusion;
  • Appraise processes followed in delivering digital innovation projects, identifying pitfalls, and propose steps for improved outcomes in the future;
  • Explore strategies to create public value through responsible digital innovation, considering the social and technical dimensions of the urban built environment.
Faculty and Speakers

Dr Jennifer Schooling OBE, FICE, Director of the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC), University of Cambridge. She is passionate about changing the way the sector views data, to become a vital asset in its own right, and as a tool for tackling the key challenges facing us, including climate change, resource constraint and resilience. She leads the Digital Cities for Change (DC2) programme at CSIC. She is a member of the UK’s Infrastructure Client Group’s Digital Transformation Task group (DTTG) and was lead author for the Carbon Reduction Code for the Built Environment.

Dr Li Wan, Associate Professor in Planning at the Department of Land Economy, University of Cambridge. He is interested in spatial economic modelling of urban land use and transport. He is the director for the MPhil in Planning, Growth and Regeneration. He is a co-investigator of the Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction. His research interests include exploring a socio-technical approach for developing novel digital tools (e.g. city digital twins, urban system models) for city planning and examining the role of micro-mobility and governance in facilitating the transition towards low-carbon transport.

Dr Kwadwo Oti-SarpongSenior Research Associate at the Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC), University of Cambridge. He holds a PhD in Construction Technology & Project Management from the University of Hong Kong. His interdisciplinary research, often inspired by a social constructivist perspective, falls under the overarching theme of technological innovations in the built environment. Currently, he conducts research into leading urban digital innovations for delivering public value. Kwadwo’s research has been published in international peer-reviewed journals including International Journal of Project Management, Sustainable Cities and Society, Construction Management and Economics, Construction Innovation and the Journal of Urban Management.

Dr Viviana BastidasResearch Associate at the Cambridge Centre for Smart Infrastructure and Construction (CSIC), University of Cambridge. She works on the Digital Cities for Change (DC2) project which aims to deepen understanding of how city data can improve planning, management, and the delivery of public services. Her career interests are in the intersection of business and Information Technologies in the context of socio-technical models to support the planning and governance of complex systems. Viviana’s research has been published in high-quality journals in the domains of Urban Management, Urban Technology, Business and Information Systems Engineering, Digital Transformation, and the Internet of Things.