In an era of global social, economic and environmental challenges leaders are looking to smarter ways of addressing bigger challenges. This translates into governing bodies and key decision makers in cities looking for solutions to challenges as a “collective”. Collective in a sense that is inclusive of smaller entrepreneurial innovators together with large scale organizations that work towards overcoming challenges. Inclusive also refers to honing in on reliable and responsible dependence on the countries natural resources to aid sustainable developments and innovation that impacts positively with little to no opportunity costs.
Most cities and countries generally have a unique material or reserve that’s inherent to its geographic location. Generally speaking, these are what make for exports and economy influencers. Worst still, sometimes they are not optimally used. Largely green architecture and sustainable design has seen the likes of zero energy and renewable energy concepts, intelligent design and innovation and water and waste consciousness to name a few. The thinking of using inherent materials ofcities while maintaining safety and quality into building architecture and design is a concept in need of more research, innovation and development. Coconut shells have been seen to be used as contemporary interior decoration tiles in green buildings while bamboo technology are part of the tyre industry. Incorporation into building design is an example of using materials found in abundance smartly.
African cities to name a few have been for a long time using local workforces on small, medium and large scale projects and interestingly, most are seen as community driven or empowered projects from a human capital perspective. While many don’t have the qualifications, with the right training, development and quality controls that has been a challenge overcome and successful projects delivered. This not only lends itself to employing and empowering youth, unemployed or older caliber of individuals, cities can look to their cities“unutilized” staffing solutions. A great example of one such ambassador is Rwandan Architect Christian Benimana.
Dealing with larger organizations often equate to lengthy timelines for approval processes and sign off on projects. Technology has seen a new uprising of entrepreneurs offering an array of simple yet effective and impactful solutions. Cities can look to commission design and innovation tenders long in advance to address national challenges pertaining to building innovation and design for example. Innovation in any aspect of national interest should also be an open invitation to the public and with Innovation Hubs in place. Micro ecosystems of entrepreneurs should be considered where they remain focused on key areas and to the solutions they provide. A micro approachproves to be easier and more functional to appoint business to. Entrepreneurs tasked to see to solutions and addressing challenges strictly within their scope of work allows for concentrated and prompt deliverythat when populated across core areas, can address quick turnaround times and smart solutions from various smart suppliers.
South African Entrepreneur, Space Tourist and Philanthropist Mark Shuttleworth who advocates and promotes smart design and innovation through The Innovation Hub and Mark Shuttleworth Foundation in South Africa sees many young dynamic innovators designing solutions that create impact on national levels. This strategy should be implemented in any city where innovative development participation is welcomed, curated, trialed and tested for national consideration.
TESTING AND DEPLOYMENT
One way to gauge the success of smart building concepts and innovation, smart materials and smart workforces is when deployed in small scale and in government interest areas prior to large scale deployment. This is a micro project approach the same way the medical faculty test on mice.
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