Written by David Tuinzing
“How can we change the behavior of our citizens so they will use our products that lead us to a smarter city?” This is a top issue during various smart city events that I visited last month. Generally, the municipal leaders and representatives of corporate companies give the audience during those events a showcase of the newest implemented city products that will change people’s lives. And often the common questions return: why is it difficult to convince citizens to use these super products? How can we change people’s behavior? The future is within our reach….
You may assume that top innovators of major corporate companies have more experience in the people driven approach that lead to product, than they often show nowadays on the smart city stage. Do they fall back on their need to make quick money? In their struggle to sell products, to the often ignorant municipal leaders, the corporate companies blow us away with powerful and seductive presentations and showcases of implemented products all around the world. Of course, it is not always this extreme. And corporate companies do not agree, that’s for sure. But why do companies and municipal leaders, after implanting the smart products, still often struggle with the question: how can we convince the customers to use these products?
Richard Branson, owner of Virgin Atlantic Airways, indicated 30 years ago: “We will not re-invent the airplane, but we do focus on travellers experience and their need during traveling! The airplane, as a product, is only facilitating us to achieve our goal!”
Please, let’s bring in some of this thought’s from the 80’s, and make the cities smarter by a collaboration of different stakeholders who really want to determine and serve the citizens need. And for sure, don’t forget to use the product driven inventing power of the corporate companies, to translate the need into smart products!
About David Tuinzing
David Tuinzing is co-founder of the Smart Cities Strategies network and Master Chef of Smart City Recipies. He has a strong passion for people, technology and urban design, not particularly in that order. David lives with family in Amsterdam.