Emil Skandul is a creative technologist and columnist on technology and economic policy. He writes widely about trends and policy topics as an opinion contributor. As a product designer, he founded the digital innovation firm Capitol Foundry. He is currently a digital government policy fellow at Tony Blair Institute for Global Change where he is working on a proposal to tokenize government finances.
Over the past decade, he has been a frequent op-ed contributor to Business Insider, Quartz, Inc, BuzzFeed, Observer, New York Daily News, Crain’s New York Business, City & State, and amNY. His policy expertise includes technology-based economic development and innovation economics. His opinion pieces have illuminated and championed the growth of the tech sector in New York and in cities around the world.
Emil’s career began in his native New York working in politics for a member of Congress. He went on to spearhead economic and workforce development projects in one of the city’s most underserved communities in Rockaway, Queens. At a conference in 2011 on an city initiative to establish a top-tier engineering university in the five boroughs, he met a fellow technology advocate and they soon began to campaign for Queens to become a tech hub. Their group would go on to form the nationally-recognized nonprofit organization, Coalition for Queens.
In 2013, he subsequently launched the design and technology firm, Capitol Foundry. The company was founded shortly after being commissioned to build health technology applications for investors and researchers at Stanford University. As a product designer and technologist, he has overseen the branding, product design, and engineering of applications for countless startups and Fortune 500 companies. His firm’s recent work includes the rebranding and redesign of the exclusive skyscraper lighting app, Spireworks, and the development of Covid19.NYC.
Emil’s applied experience in economic development, policymaking, and technology provides a unique lens for identifying trends with great accuracy or promoting policies to good effect. Often, his opinion writing is both predictive and persuasive in public policymaking. From correctly foreseeing Amazon’s selection of Queens in its national HQ2 contest to forecasting the rise of NYC’s tech ecosystem as an equal to Silicon Valley, his pieces have been prescient. Many of his policy prescriptions such as universal internet access, city-led apps to compete with Uber and Lyft, and the prioritization of workforce development policies have been pursued as policies. He advised New York City Mayor Adams as a candidate. Nationally, his proposals such as a US economic strategy focused on the tech sector, small business vouchers to catalyze local economies, a federal greyfield program to address dying malls and abandoned offices, and a tax on asset-based lending have been welcomed by policymakers and academics.
Emil has also advised global think tanks and elected leaders on technology cluster formation and innovation. In recent years, he has been invited to events at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and was selected to participate in discussions with world leaders at the Global Baku Forum in Baku, Azerbaijan. He continues to be a recognized voice and outspoken advocate on many issues including agile policy design, government innovation, and urban technology.
He is a proud son of immigrants from Europe—his mother was a political refugee who arrived from Yugoslavia via Italy. Besides technology and policy, Emil enjoys sailing in his parents’ native country of Croatia, surfing in the Rockaways, and experiencing local cultures around the world. Recent trips of his include a solo hike in Patagonia and the World Cup Final in Moscow.
Capitol Foundry is a leading global creative technology firm based in New York and Lisbon and founded by Emil. The firm partners with high-growth brands and startups on digital product innovation. Embracing the philosophy of learning transfer, Capitol Foundry has collaborated with cross-industry clients including Fortune 500 companies like Nike and Autodesk as well as startups from Stanford University and the Harvard Innovation Lab. Their global clientele is located in Silicon Valley, Austin, Berlin, Munich, London, Brussels, Tokyo, Dubai, and New York.
The firm’s mission is to catalyze transformational business impact in marketing and product development through design and technology and new digital products, platforms, services, and experiences. The firm's core capabilities include user interface, user experience design, interaction design, prototyping, website engineering, and web and native application development.
Emil’s pursuits are focused on impact-driven projects and business initiatives. He is open to new business ideas where product design and innovation creates asymmetric value opportunity, as well as projects that explore opportunities in financial technology and improvements in civic governance. His current writing project explores the growth of "Silicon Cities"—technology hubs—and the policies that have helped create them.
Are you a writer, expert, or entrepreneur looking to collaborate? Would you like me to speak or join a board? Reach out