Innovation, Digital Transformation and Smart Cities Consultancy
"Innovation is production or adoption, assimilation, and exploitation of a value-added novelty in economic and social spheres; renewal and enlargement of products, services, and markets; development of new methods of production; and the establishment of new management systems. It is both a process and an outcome". – OECD
In today’s world, we aren’t only innovating more (primarily because of evolutionary leaps in technology), but the rate at which we are innovating is increasing exponentially. According to the law of accelerating returns, the pace of technological progress - especially information technology - speeds up exponentially over time because there is a common force driving it forward. Whether it is IR 4.0, IoT, Big Data, Artificial General Intelligence or Blockchain, the common factor in the explosion of these trends can be explained by…
"Digital transformation is the integration of digital technology into all areas of a business, fundamentally changing how you operate and deliver value to customers. It's also a cultural change that requires organizations to continually challenge the status quo, experiment, and get comfortable with failure". – The Enterprisers Project
While many businesses and government entities seem to be stuck in analog mode – they increasingly need to serve clients who not only expect the simplicity and speed of digital services but are “digital natives” themselves. In essence, it is not a question of “if”, but when? In many industries, the pace of digital disruption (because of innovation) has meant the demise of entire business models and long standing companies; whether it is taxis in the transportation sector, or the threat faced by banks. As an existential threat looms, organizations need to take clear and defined steps towards embracing this change or face irrelevance, at best. This does not only entail a change in technology, but an entire shift in mindset; we need to adjust existing practices that involve a change in leadership, different thinking, the encouragement of innovation and new business models, incorporating digitisation of assets and an increased use of technology to improve the experience of your organisation’s employees, customers, suppliers, partners and stakeholders.
“A smart sustainable city is an innovative city that uses information and communication technologies (ICTs) and other means to improve quality of life, efficiency of urban operation and services, and competitiveness, while ensuring that it meets the needs of present and future generations with respect to economic, social and environmental aspects”. - ITU
Utilizing data has been a cornerstone for building, maintaining and sustaining urban environments. For example, an enormous contribution to our knowledge of how to treat and prevent disease was made by John Snow who used data to analyse outbreaks of cholera in London in the 19th century. Snow used a map to correlate cases of cholera to the location of communal water pipes, leading to the insight that water-borne germs were responsible for spreading the disease. We wash our hands to prevent diseases spreading through germs in part because of what we would now call the “geospatial data analysis” performed by John Snow.
More recently, the gathering and analysis of data has allowed cities and communities to better plan and manage their infrastructure while introducing efficiencies in cost, operations and in reducing environmental footprint and waste. In addition to these benefits, there is a critical need to ensure that urban population growth is managed effectively by municipal authorities and cities. Developers too, stand to benefit in organising their communities and townships around the concepts of Smart Cities.
In all these scenarios, the same questions are raised:
How do we reduce operating and maintenance costs?
How do we invest efficiently?
How can we enhance living, working and recreational experiences?
How can we generate extra revenue?
How do we minimize the carbon footprint?
How do we attract and retain more investors/customers?
How can we differentiate our service?