What Works

Solving Urban Challenges Through Innovation

New for this year's Summit, our WHAT WORKS talk series will give the floor to 11 inspiring urban innovators from a variety of disciplines, regions and backgrounds.

These short, 10-minute talks will highlight what works to solve the great urban challenges facing all cities. This is a chance to be inspired by dynamic entrepreneurs who have had a notable impact on their urban community. Come and hear their stories and find out how their projects could be adapted and replicated in many more cities, companies or organizations.


Nirmal Kumar, Founder of G-Auto, Ahmedabad, India. Nirmal set up a cooperative of rickshaw drivers that began with only 15 members. G-Auto now operates in four major cities in the Gujarat state and includes more than 10,000 auto rickshaw drivers as members.

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Rand Hindi, Founder of Snips, Paris, France. Rand is an entrepreneur, bioinformatician and algorithm architect. Based in Paris, Snips is a big data innovation firm specialising in predictive modeling for smart cities, urban dynamics and criminology.

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Alessandra Orofino, Co-founder of Purpose Brasil and MeuRio, Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, Brazil. MeuRio is an initiative developed by Purpose, a company that specialises on monitoring 21st century movements to challenge and solve urban issues. MeuRio provides citizens with meaningful ways of communicating with government as well as with private enterprises.

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Eric Bunge, Co-founder nARCHITECTS, New York, USA. Eric recently won a competition to design and build “micro-housing” in New York. The challenge was to create 55 homes, each the size of a small hotel room. The project was part of an initiative addressing the city’s shortage of studio and one-bedroom apartments.

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Hans Dohmann What Works

Hans Fernando Rocha Dohmann has served as the Municipal Secretary of Health for Rio de Janeiro since January 2009. Through promoting the restructuring of the health sector Hans is responsible for an increase in family health coverage from 3.5% to 33.5% over the past three years.

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Zia Yusuf What Works

Zia Yusuf is the President & CEO Streetline Inc. Zia is a seasoned senior technology executive with a track record of leading companies to success. He is CEO of Streetline Inc. the leading global provider of sensor-enabled smart city solutions. He is also an associate consulting professor at Stanford University and is an actively involved board member of non-profit institutions focused on education in South Asia and social entrepreneurship in East Africa.

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Naureen Kabir leads the New Cities Foundation’s Urban (co)LAB, the Foundation’s applied research and thought leadership arm. Naureen holds a Master’s degree in International Development and International Economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS). Previously, she worked in business development at Google in Silicon Valley, California, where she was involved in executing global content licensing deals with companies and government organizations as part of the Strategic Partnerships team. Naureen obtained her B.A. in International Relations with a minor in Urban Studies from Stanford University. She is a citizen of Bangladesh and the United States.

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Eric van den Broek, Co-founder of the Mutinerie, Paris, France. In 2010, Eric co-founded Mutinerie – a co-working space within the center of Paris – with his two brothers and a friend. Today, many young entrepreneurs describe Mutinerie as one of the most influential and unique co-working spaces in Europe. Eric is also the co-founder of CoPass, the first global network of independent co-working spaces.

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Mauricio Brandao What Works

Maurício Brandão is the co-founder of BijaRi Collective. He graduated in Architecture and Urbanism University of São Paulo and holds a postgraduate degree from the Centro de Cultura Contemporanea de Barcelona.

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Patrik Cerwall

Patrik Cerwall is Head of Strategic Marketing & Intelligence at Ericsson. He heads up the team that works with strategic marketing and business intelligence for Business Unit Network’s complete portfolio, on a global basis. He has been driving the company's Urban Life program, which focuses on the effects of urbanization and the role of ICT in the economic, social and sustainable growth of cities. Cerwall has a Master of Science from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm. He also holds ten patents in the field of mobile communication systems.

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Assaf Bierdeman

Assaf Biderman is a technology inventor, author, and entrepreneur. He teaches at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology where he is the associate director of the SENSEable City Laboratory - a research group that explores the "real-time city" by studying the increasing deployment of sensors and networked miniaturized electronics, as well as their relationship to the built environment.

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WHAT WORKS is organized in partnership with:


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