Michael Kolm is the City of Toronto’s first-ever Chief Transformation Officer. A seasoned executive with extensive experience in business transformation. Michael provides strategic leadership to help the City become more effective and efficient in its delivery of public services, now and in the future, while delivering maximum value for public dollars.

With a long and successful background in consulting with powerhouse firms such as EY and PwC, Michael worked with private and public sector clients to plan for and realize the benefits of implementing business transformation.

Leading the City’s Transformation Office, Michael works closely with internal and external leaders, partners and stakeholders to lead transformational projects that will ultimately drive social, environmental and economic benefits for all those who live, work and play in Toronto.

One of Michael’s current focus areas is developing a Smart City strategy which includes leading the City’s submission to the Federal Smart Cities Challenge.

“Find something that you are really passionate about”

Michael’s 6-Point Plan for Toronto

Michael was hired to identify, lead and drive bigger/broader transformational opportunities in the city. These are the fundamental behavioral aspects of how he work at the city that will be really important to help us keep moving forward and modernizing.

  1.  Planning the Transformation

We need to transform Toronto into a more resilient city. We need to get ready for the impact of climate change and that is a massive transformation that they are focusing on.

  1. Operations and how they deliver their operation services

We need to figure out ways to be more efficient and use public dollars more effectively. They went through a whole a bunch of programs looking on these aspect and one example of that is real-estate. On January, they created CREATE TO as a single place where all real-estate are managed in the city of Toronto.

  1. Supply-chain

We spend almost 3 Billion Dollars a year on goods and services here in Toronto buying from private company and they have to make sure that the money spent is used effectively. They also have to make sure that they make a good decision on who they partner with the delivery of goods and services and be strategic on how they spend on different things.

  1. Customer Service

Michael and his team plan on having a strategic services on how they need to deliver the goods and services on different mobile platforms and reduce the burden of people lining up and taking number like the old fashioned way that you interact with your city government.

  1. Smart City Transformation

Michael’s main question is “are we using technology and data in a way that provides better outcome for our residence and really focusing on making life better for people that work, like and play in the city of Toronto?”

  1. Cultural Transformation

Focuses on the fundamental things like how we behave or how we do our work here at the city and how we organized our work here at the city which falls under a few headings.

    • Governance
    • Change in management
    • Be data driven and fact-base
    • How to do partnerships better
    • Figuring out how to embed innovation and human centered design
  • Find out how to become better at experimenting and failing fast

Michael also talked about Smart Cities privacy security governance model.

If you want to know more about Smart City data, privacy and security, you can check out our episode 1 with Dr. Ann Cavokian here.

Michael’s goal is not to become a surveillance-based city but rather to leverage the value of data to help us identify, diagnose and drive outcome; measure success and measure outcomes by doing it in such a way of being respectful of the privacy and entune with the security risk that are present today.

Michael shares his smart city discussion that he have been referring to:

Smart cities 1.0 discussion focuses on structure, infrastructures, vehicles and traffic management which are we need. These are also big challenges for every citizen for the city of Toronto to make it easier to get around or make the environment cleaner and safer.  

Smart cities 2.0 discussion focuses on making data and technology use as an equal playing field for people who are not as advantage in society and maybe need some help in terms of food, child-care or training so that they can get into a better job.

“Our goal is to have a citizen driven human centered smart city”

Resources Mentioned:

Productivity Tool:

  • Spend time with your kids and family

Book Recommendation:


  • Go to craft beer brewery

About Transformation Office:

The Transformation Office develops strategies to help the City become more effective, efficient and able to adapt to future challenges. The Office works to deliver the greatest value for public dollars by transforming operations, programs and services.

With a focus on those who live, work and play in Toronto, the Office transforms public services to allocate resources in more effective and modern ways to drive social, economic and environmental benefits.

Connect with Michael:

Email: Transformation@Toronto.ca

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