“Focussing on existing solutions will not make the difference”

Interview with Joost Brinkman, Lead, Accenture Sustainable Services and Ronald Warmerdam, Senior  Project Manager, Project Management Bureau, City of Amsterdam, Coordinator TRANSFORM, Lecturer, Technical University of Delft. For me smart cities are cities where people are working on improving the liveability of cities and especially for me as a transform co-ordinator it...

Interview with Joost Brinkman, Lead, Accenture Sustainable Services and Ronald Warmerdam, Senior  Project Manager, Project Management Bureau, City of Amsterdam, Coordinator TRANSFORM, Lecturer, Technical University of Delft.

For me smart cities are cities where people are working on improving the liveability of cities and especially for me as a transform co-ordinator it is about using a huge amount of data to do energy transition.

Ronald Warmerdam

Focussing on existing solutions will not make the difference, so we need new stuff, we need new innovations and I think Amsterdam is doing really good at that.

Joost Brinkman

Transcription of the interview

For me smart cities are cities where people are working on improving the liveability of cities and especially for me as a transform co-ordinator it is about using a huge amount of data to do energy transition.

With good data you can provide better advice and better information to your citizens, to businesses, but also to the governance, to the organisation of the city itself. Within our project transform we are collecting to get a huge amount of data to use that to become smart in the energy transition.

I think Amsterdam is focussing on these open data, but it’s also focussing on innovation and bringing a lot of entrepreneurs and new innovators to Amsterdam and co-innovates with them, because focussing on existing solutions will not make the difference, so we need new stuff, we need new innovations and I think Amsterdam is doing really good at that.

The biggest challenge is to bring all the stakeholders within in city and that means a lot of persons, a lot of companies, a lot of involvement of stakeholders to work together to be really smart. While Accenture is helping with those innovations on multiple levels, on the one hand we are investing for instance in this project called Transform, where we really develop a decision support environment for cities to work on, but we also support an innovator start-up challenge and we yearly organise the Accenture Innovation Awards, where we see a lot of innovations coming and we also try to put them into the ecosystem of Amsterdam.

On the basis and fundaments of data you can make decisions and this is where you need data for. I think the biggest challenge to develop a smart city project is a real long time commitment from the city. You need real long term commitments to ensure that private companies are investing in these kind of solutions and you need a common vision, but most important at this moment is the sense of urgency that we really need to speed up and accelerate in this direction.

For citizens this is may be a difficult thing, because as a citizen I would say: ‘what’s in it for me’. I think it’s very important to think about that and I’m not having a solution for it, how to inform citizens and showing them there’s something in it for them. How you get citizens involved in the cities, that’s a very good question and also the most difficult one. I think you only get citizens involved when you solve their needs, if you give additional services like for instance the Car To Go project here in Amsterdam which really fills in a gap that inhabitants need, so you have to look at the need, what’s in it for the citizen in his normal day life.

I think cities will look totally different in 10 years from now. Because of technology on the one hand innovation is going really fast. If you look what’s going on for instance with electrical cars, with solar panels, but also the sharing economy, it will be a totally new environment in 10 years from now.

If it comes to energy and energy transition I think we need big data and business cases aligned together and I think we have to convince the industry, but the industry has to convince the cities as well, to make that two sound business cases. I think coming to the Smart Cities Event will give you a lot of insight in the latest developments on smart cities. There will be a lot of city’s servants, but also a lot of people form the industries that show their latest projects and latest developments, so it’s about challenges and barriers, but also opportunities and chances.

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