Currently I am at the Smart City Event Amsterdam. From the presentations so far it seems as if cities are undergoing a change form being the central directive, requesting supply for a segment demand, to being one of many stakeholders who jointly look to solve city pain points. This can happen by push- (city) as well as pull- (industry / citizens) initiatives. So the “top down” and one directional way of city projects seems to transfer into a networked solution approach, that also encourages “bottom up” initiatives and impacts business logic from business “in” cities to business “with” cities.
Regulations often hinder innovative solutions and new business models
One statement of a city representative captures that quite nicely: “If you want to break the law, work with the city”.
City behaviour changes from a tactical to an entrepreneurical behaviour. Means, so far cities identified a painpoint, e.g. build a tunnel, install security cameras, improve lighting. Within the legal framework set up amongst governmental bodies on municipal, supra- and national level specifications for technology providers are written and tendered. There now seems to be tendency that city understands its role as a facilitator for solutions created by industry in a collaborative way. So instead of set technical specifications the painpoint and goal is announced and industry is invited to come up with ideas to solve it. The role of the city therefore changes to a facilitator of solution- and collaboration platforms.
It seems to be a win-win situation that allows various ways to achieve the goal and therefore provides multiple choices for the city. Even more there is the opportunity to drive change of regulations. It might be, that regulations have been set up by people who didn’t know better or circumstances changed over the time and regulations didn’t evolve adequately.
So concluding form the first day:
1) The self-concept of cities changes
2) The role of cities transfers from a one directional supply request to a facilitator of solutions, enabled by facilitating collaboration of various industry players.
3) Focus from EU, cities and industry shifts from getting pilot projects to find mechanisms and standards to scale up solutions.
4) Legislation “opens” to amend regulations to enable new business models
5) Barriers in collaboration amongst stakeholders are on organisation, finance, legal. Demand is that governments take leadership to facilitate collaboration and investment.