During our research it became clear that technology itself is not the problem. For example, WASTED is low technology-enabled social innovation project. One of the earlier research findings of this organisation was that the main focus of many projects lies on technological solutions and not on behaviour and awareness. Therefore, WASTED started a new project that employs a simple technology to engage citizens, stimulate public awareness of our global plastic waste problem and change behaviour at a local level. Starting, constructing and implementing the project itself was their main challenge. At the end their main concern was how to create a viable business case.
Another great example is RIGO Paint. The company is aware of the problems the paint and coating industry has created. Petrochemical (or solvent-based) paint and acrylic (water-based) paints are widely known to contribute to air pollution and health problems. Furthermore, the process of manufacturing results in significant energy use and waste products. Their aim was to produce an environmental sustainable paint, to reduce the organisation’s CO2 footprint and at the same time to stimulate the local circular economy. RIGO Paint started a circular economy project and developed a technical innovation of an artisanal product, a linseed oil based paint that is 100% environmentally friendly. The progress in durability is enormous. The crux of the project is that local wasteland and uncultivated ground are used successfully to cultivate flax and hemp to produce linseed oil and at the same time provide added value to the landowners. For example, a safer environment for air traffic at and around Schiphol Airport. Key insight: it is very well possible to grow eco-friendly crops and produce raw materials in a high density populated area through the use of local waste land / uncultivated ground.
Together with a team of five researchers of the Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences (AUAS/HvA) we systematically analysed several smart city projects in Amsterdam. This post includes one of the key insights into the management of smart city projects. The report with all our findings will be published mid-November on the online platform Amsterdam Smart City.