WeWork – which seems to be rebranding itself as the ever-so precious “We” – has expanded from its roots as a coworking space provider to an innovative presence in various market sectors, including housing, fitness, early childhood education, and — through its acquisitions of Meetup and Flatiron School — social gatherings and tech training. Now the global company, whose newly framed mission is “to elevate the world’s consciousness,” has launched a smart cities initiative, hiring former Waze and Google executive Di-Ann Eisnor to lead a team of data scientists, engineers, architects, economists, and biologists to work on issues related to urbanization, globalization, and climate change.

Di-Ann is a good friend of our Chairman, Peter Hirshberg, and serves with him on the board of Gray Area Foundation for the Arts. She’s one of the sharpest people we know working at the intersection of cities, agent-based learning, and big data.

Her hiring hints at a strategy at WeWork to use the vast amount of information it has amassed on its users to partner with communities and city governments in developing data-driven solutions to problems such as mobility, infrastructure, and economic development. Quartz raises concerns about the problems with public-private partnerships such as those We Company envisions while recognizing the benefits of having more creativity and capital working on intractable global issues.

Relevant Link
Quartz – We Company’s first steps into the smart city space.