Former New York CTO joins Mastercard’s cities programme

9th May 2018 Jack Aldane

Miguel Gamiño, former Chief Technology Officer of New York City, has joined financial services corporation Mastercard as Executive Vice President for Global Cities.

As part of the role, he will aim to scale urban tech solutions and incorporate these into collaborative models among private, public and civic partners.

Gamiño told Cities Today: “This role gives me the flexibility to add elements to the programme that I couldn’t do in the public sector, such as things we can either make or facilitate investment in, as part of the solution process in cities.”

He said Mastercard’s programme gives municipal governments the chance to reconsider “what tech could or should mean in terms of solving the priority problems of the city”, adding that his “core thesis is that this should be centred on people”.

Such an approach, he argues, will not only allow city authorities to make better use of technology, but will help the tech industry understand better the nature of civic challenges before it develops solutions.

“There has been too much development happening in a vacuum, and only then does [the private sector] expose it to the customer base. I think oftentimes that listening step is under-utilised,” he said.

“If we present people with real civic challenges, then they by their very nature will find ways to solve them. They will create not only solutions that matter to people in the civic space, but will also build solutions that make for better, stronger businesses, because of the nature of what they’re solving”.

Over the past five years, Mastercard has worked on data infrastructure, transport systems and goods and service transactions in more than 100 cities. The company’s City Possible initiative, launched earlier this year, builds public-private partnerships between cities and firms to co-develop, pilot, scale and shape digital technologies for commercial use. It also addresses the mismatch between solutions created by the private sector for isolated problems and the needs of cities seeking broad solutions across their operations.

Gamiño commented that, in an effort to bring the interests of both sides together, he and his team “are going to be asking a lot more questions than we’re going to be offering answers to in the beginning”.

“We’re not a company who sees everyone as a competitor,” he added. “We see them as partners, and so I think we’ll have a strength in our ability to convene partnerships.”

Before becoming Chief Technology Officer of New York City, Gamiño was CIO for the City and County of San Francisco and the CIO for the City of El Paso. He has also worked as an entrepreneur, developing early cloud-based services, starting two companies based in El Paso in Texas and Silicon Valley in California.

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