Collaboration, Connection, Creation and Community – What did the Cities say?
It is an unusual moment when a company or organisation can stop the perpetual conveyor belt of daily responsibilities, statutory duties, corporate reporting and internal meetings to look outwards and ask “How can we play our part in making the biggest difference?”
By talking to cities over the last four years, we at SmartKlub have learned how we can create that unusual moment time and again. We believe that’s unique!
In the process of launching SmartKlub, we asked our partnering cities what they wanted from us. The response was loud and clear:
Collaboration, Connection, Creation and Community
Our public and private city partners are continuously juggling ever-growing responsibilities with ever declining resources to deliver smarter, cleaner, faster solutions for their city. They need help.
Collaboration came top of the list of SmartKlub’s most appreciated added values. Whether through annual symposiums or specific problem solving seminars, we were told this not only facilitated plans and solutions but the spin-off of meeting colleagues from other cities with similar problems unlocked “collective intelligence”.
SmartKlub will create a unique collaboration environment supported by an “always on” digital platform of problem solving friends, libraries of solutions and case studies.
A recent example: SmartKlub brought together public and private sector teams to work on a government research project maximizing city intelligence in the use of energy obligation grants, cross referenced to the best investment opportunities. Result: accelerated learning and a repeatable software solution.
Connection was the next city need: to European collaborators, to smart solutions, to policy conversations. “Make these connections quickly and simply”. This reinforced our belief that our digital service must embrace social media to connect ongoing conversations, to build power opinions and help committed groups become effective solution teams.
Example: we have been asked to facilitate connecting UK members to Europe to collaborate with Passivhaus solution best practice across Germany and Scandinavia to produced low cost solutions to comply with the new UK building regulations.
Creation (Solutions & Problems)
Next we were asked to create solutions to the city’s biggest problems. “Define the problems and solve them inline with our city vision please”. This led us to design a co-creation process that embraces all stakeholders with breakthrough methods in procurement.
Example: procurement in public/private solutions. The trap of well intentioned officers supporting community interests with an early “call to arms” to help initiatives get moving in energy efficiency and carbon reduction programmes, often come to a grinding halt because the city uses public procurement only.
This makes local rapid solutions difficult by excluding smaller parties who were intended to benefit from the new work streams. SmartKlub has experience in implementing a much more effective and economical public/ private partnerships that dynamically change as the solution develops enabling a greater number of stakeholders to be included and the right parties contract for the elements they are best equipped to deliver. This approach will be seen more and more in local ESCO formations across the UK.
All of our city conversations had an overarching theme: “community”. Our city officers, elected members and industrial leaders all understand that building local supply chain capability and community involvement in decision making is good for all elements of effective energy solutions. Local community support improves every aspect: planning, knowledge, awareness, job creation, public relations and follow on projects. What’s not to like?
Citizens, despite being a target for local energy schemes, are often forgotten due to a lack of know-how in effective community engagement. As the lactic acid of engineering design and construction options builds up, the individual voices of the community and their role in shaping schemes is at risk. SmartKlub’s collaboration model ensures the community voice improves projects and encourages neighbouring communities to build cluster organisations with them and so co-create substantial energy projects.
With this kind of feedback from City members and officers, E.ON was happy to support SmartKlub in facilitating a better way to generate community energy projects and long term supply chains.
But who else might support SmartKlub’s quest? Please subscribe to find out!