Challenge Circles

Cities & Co

Can you help Martin Powell, Siemens' Global Head of Urban Development guide his organisation to the very long term needs of cities?

The Challenge

Texts by Savvas Verdis

When Pedro Miranda invited Martin Powell to head Siemens’ long term global engagement with cities, he was certain of one thing. Powell lived and breathed cities having been the Mayoral Advisor on the Environment to the Mayor of London, Boris Johnson, responsible for policy development for Energy and Climate Change, Adaptation, Water, Air Quality and Waste. Bringing someone that understood the ins and outs of how cities operate would pay great dividends for Siemens. In just four years since its inception, Siemens’ Center of Competence Cities has become one of the most high profile success stories of how a private organisation can become a thought leader in the cities space. Achieving such success has not been easy. Powell has constantly balanced the medium term sales priorities of Siemens’ business divisions with the longer term priorities of the cities that his team engage with.

It is the spring of 2016 and Powell is looking at how best to optimize his engagement with cities and with Siemens’nine divisions. Powell’s engagement with cities currently focuses on thought leadership activities that include major publications on topics that matter to cities and speaking opportunities in conferences across the world. Powell also has at his disposal a series of modelling tools that measure the impact of key Siemens technologies on important municipal indicators such as air quality and greenhouse gases. Finally, through Siemens’ Key Account Management structure, Powell supports over 70 city account managers in Siemens’ largest city markets who act as liaisons  between Siemens’ divisions and the Center of Competence. Powell needs to determine if this is the right structure to achieve the long term aim of turning this engagement into potential business for the company. It is your turn to help him.


This challenge will test your knowledge and experience of how private sector organisations are engaging in thought leadership that delivers long term returns. It would also ask you to consider how corporate governance is structured to meet the demands of key megatrends like urbanisation. There are two steps in this challenge: First an online platform giving you all the details and key data behind Martin Powell's work at Siemens' Center of Competence Cities. You can access the full platform through the login below. Secondly, you will be invited to join your peers in a challenge circle for a half day or full day workshop. At the end of the workshop, you will be able to relay your proposals to Martin Powell himself.

Meet Martin Powell