Future of Infrastructure: The Power of Having a Visionwith Enrique Penalosa
Enrique Penalosa, the former mayor of Bogota, Colombia joined the podcast to talk about the importance of having – and sticking to – a clear vision and how it helped him transform Bogota.
Future of Infrastructure: Episode 18: The Power of Having a Vision
Public Sector Future
Enrique Penalosa, the former mayor of Bogota, Colombia joined the podcast to talk about the importance of having – and sticking to – a clear vision to overcome resistance and drive change at the city level and how it helped him transform Bogota.
Listen to this episode on any of these podcast platforms:
The Power of Having a Vision
Enrique Penalosa, the former mayor of Bogota, joined the podcast to talk about the importance of having – and sticking to – a clear vision to overcome resistance and drive change at the city level and how it helped him transform Bogota.
- – Enrique Penalosa, Former Mayor of Bogota, Colombia
Having a Vision
Enrique Penalosa, the former Mayor of Bogota, emphasized the importance of having a vision for where you want to go and sticking to it in the face of challenges. He explained:
“First of all, I think you have to have the vision…. where do you want to go? What do you want? And for this, you have to have thought about this for a long time.”
“I was always obsessed with what a city should be like. It was a passion. It was an obsession since I was – since I was 22 or so. I mean, equality was an obsession almost since I was 13 and economic development, and then cities became an obsession from when I was 20 or so.”
Driving Transformation in Bogota
Penalosa described the vision as crucial because it helped keep him on track during times of adversity:
“You first have to be convinced because it’s a huge battle, very difficult. It’s very easy to tell this story here, but there were so many battles.”
He also explained that it took a team to drive change for each and every project:
“The vision is crucial. Then you need also to have the project manager…
And then, I empower them fully. I am not appointing them as happens often in politics… I give them full responsibility for all their team, and I back them.
You need to have the metrics. You need to have the metrics, but sometimes it’s not enough, so – I had a special team of experts, a very small team, who were fully empowered to go into any institution and get all the information out, like if it was me, personally, to see what was not going well.”
A hopeful vision for cities in the wake of the pandemic
Penalosa explained why he thinks people will return to cities:
“It’s exciting, and in many senses, because the pandemic led people to think things which in some cases were wrong. For example, many people thought that the people would leave cities, that people could work away from the office, and that people will go to little towns and to the suburbs, because they could work at home.
I was writing a book during the pandemic, and I said, no, this is not going to happen. People are going to go back to cities. Why? Because it’s more fun…
For example, yesterday I was in New York, I was in this waterfront yesterday and the day before, in the Hudson River Park, and there were tens of thousands of people enjoying the city, beautiful. The flowers, they were in bloom, the – the tulips, the people picnicking… beautiful gardens, the waterfront. So, wow, you know, this is amazing how, then, these people, if you want to have them to go work somewhere else different than New York, they will say, what are you going to give me in exchange?”
About the Center of Expertise
Microsoft’s Public Sector Center of Expertise brings together thought leadership and research relating to digital transformation in the public sector. The Center of Expertise highlights the efforts and success stories of public servants around the globe, while fostering a community of decision makers with a variety of resources from podcasts and webinars to white papers and new research. Join us as we discover and share the learnings and achievements of public sector communities.
Questions or suggestions?