Technology, Work, and Urban Ecosystems: How Should Cities and Regions Respond?

Elisabeth B. Reynolds, MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future, Nigel Jacob, City of Boston, and Cathy Wissink, Microsoft

Elisabeth B. Reynolds, Executive Director, MIT Task Force on the Work of the Future

Elisabeth Reynolds is executive director of the MIT Industrial Performance Center (IPC), a multidisciplinary research center that focuses on firms, industries, and technological change in the global economy and how their emergence and transformation impact society at large. Her work has focused in particular on industry cluster development and regional innovation ecosystems, and she advises several organizations in this area. Her current research focuses on advanced manufacturing, growing innovative companies to scale, and building innovation capacity in emerging economies. She is co-leading, with Professors David Mindell and David Autor, the recently announced MIT Work of the Future initiative. Before coming to MIT for her PhD, Liz was director of the City Advisory Practice at the Initiative for a Competitive Inner City (ICIC), a nonprofit founded by Professor Michael Porter of HBS focused on job and business growth in in older industrial cities. She is a lecturer in MIT’s Department of Urban Studies.

Nigel Jacob, Cochair, Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics, City of Boston

Nigel Jacob is the cofounder of the Mayor’s Office of New Urban Mechanics, a civic innovation incubator and R&D Lab within Boston’s City Hall. Nigel’s work is about making urban life better via innovative, people-oriented applications of technology and design. Before joining the City of Boston in 2006, Nigel worked in a series of technology startups in the Boston area.

He was also previously the Urban Technologist in Residence at Living Cities, a philanthropic collaboration of 22 of the world’s largest foundations and financial institutions. He is currently a board member at organizations such as Code For America and coUrbanize, and he serves as executive-in-residence at Boston University.

Cathy Wissink, Director, Technology & Civic Engagement, Microsoft

Cathy Wissink is the Director of Civic Engagement for Microsoft in Pittsburgh. Her job focuses on partnering with civic leaders in greater Pittsburgh to use technology to solve challenges and capitalize on impactful and inclusive opportunities. Cathy works directly with local nonprofits, tech leaders and policy influencers on issues critical to the community, Microsoft and the tech sector. Cathy joined Microsoft in 2000 and spent her first 9 years working in Windows Engineering, focusing on software globalization and helping ensure diverse countries were on the right side of the digital divide. She moved to the Corporate, External and Legal Affairs team at Microsoft in 2009, working on global government affairs, then was recruited to pilot the new Civic Engagement team in Boston in 2013. When the team expanded its footprint in late 2017, Cathy took on the project of building out Microsoft’s civic engagement in a new city and moved to Pittsburgh in November of the same year. Cathy is a Seattle native and is enjoying exploring her adopted city.


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