Lean Thinking as a Set of Guidelines for Smart Cities

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Lean thinking is a management method intended to create better value for all stakeholders. The method, which was initially formulated for the motor industry, has been widely adopted by information and service organizations in both private and public sectors, leading to a significant improvement in their effectivity and efficiency. A smart city uses information technologies to enhance its efficient management and democratic governance. Information technology gathers data, controls facilities, and enables better communication among and between residents and the municipality. However, cities are still looking for guidelines and criteria that can help them move towards a more effective, efficient, and democratic urban regime. We suggest that lean thinking principles and tools can be applied to smart cities and will improve their effectiveness as social and democratic systems. We tested our hypothesis using Tel Aviv Municipality’s smart city project as a case study. We found that the project is compatible with many lean thinking principles and can benefit from the experience and proven tools that lean thinking has to offer.