How to evaluate Smart City innovation: Wildcard for roundtable on October 10th

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A couple of days ago, Facebook reminded me of a two-years old movie of Johnny Georges presenting his innovative Tree T-Pee to a group of investors in the TV show Shark Tank. The product can help farmers saving cost on water and energy usage.

Johnny produces the Tree T-Pee for $3,59 and sells them for $4,50. Most of his customers buy 10.000 or more pieces of it at the same time. However, one of the potential investors thinks the price is too low. “If you don’t ask $12 at least, I cannot do marketing, I have no margin”. Johnny refuses to raise the price of the product because he sells to farmers and he is a farmer himself. Finally, another investor states: “farmers are the cornerstone of America. They cannot afford $12 each.” This investor decided to give Johnny the required $150.000 to increase the company. On July 11, 2016, stated: “As of 2016 you can get the Tree T Pee online at their website. That said they currently are only offering the black version (they have removed the white version from their listings) as their testing has shown that it is actually the best version for all types of trees. The Tree T-Pee is currently available for under $8 and appears to be doing quite well. The company currently boasts over 36,000 likes on Facebook.” It seems Tree T-Pee has been successful in the last two years.

The case of Tree T-Pee shows the difficult balancing-act we’re all in when speaking about Smart City innovation. The corporate voice of marketing as well as the entrepreneurial vision of doing good by doing business are at the table. “What is the business case (subtitle: can we make it $12 each)? How can we scale? Who is going to pay for what? What is the return on investment? When will we have the results? And “What is the bigger picture (who are the farmers), what is the need or the societal problem we want to solve by doing our business?”

Time to share
On October 10 from 16:00-21:30 CET, we as PostNL organize a roundtable meeting with different corporates, municipalities and startups. Central theme: how to organize and evaluate smart city initiatives? All participants answer the following questions:
(1) What is your vision on smart city
(2) How are you going to realize this vision
(3) How do you organize and evaluate your Smart City actions?
(4) How do you measure whether or not you’re on the right track?
(5) What are your resources (time, money, people)
(6) What are your best practices?

After the short presentations, we will jointly prepare dinner and discuss the several topics. The aim of the meeting is to share and learn from each other in order to help our organizations to improve the Smart City projects we’re running.

We have a wildcard this evening available. The meeting takes place on October 10 from 16:00-21:00 CET on Kaageiland, near Leiden. If you want to join us, please send an e-mail to with a short description of your organization, it’s smart city activities and your motivation.

Check the video of Johnny Georges