It’s almost impossible to attend a conference on Smart Cities or Urban Innovation without finding a group of people shilling the radical transformation that’s possible with Agile or Lean methodologies, as popularized by the Lean Start-Up refrain of Eric Reis. But these approaches produce specific types of outputs and are nowhere close to the panacea our cities increasingly demand. A simple primer on these methodologies will highlight short, tight cycles of effort, called sprints, with multi-disciplinary teams dedicated to cracking well-articulated tasks (with Lean aimed at developing a business model and Agile connoting a process that can be applied to executing almost anything that lacks clear definition). So, what does any of this have to do with the urban challenges we’re facing like air pollution, waste and recycling, or uneven access to resources?
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