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What about the other 68%

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September 26, 2018
It’s a random percentage point.  And, without context, pretty darn irrelevant.  But, for those of us who call South Florida home, where the Metro Miami GDP rivals many small countries, it matters.  Why? A projected 68% of the worlds population will move into cities and urban areas by 2050 (according to this UN Report).

Some cite this statistic to justify leveraging urban centers as regional or national economic drivers, and even more fertile ground for innovation to thrive. Particularly when such density growth is tag-teamed with the smart city movement.

But, what happens when this opportunity doesn’t not knock for everyone?

Surely you know by now, we love a good acronym, so this week we’re exploring a new definition of a SMART and how these principles apply equally to cities and in the microcosm of your organization:

Sustainable: What will this look like in 25 years? That’s the average length of a generation.  Are we designing for now, later or both? You may not ascribe to futurism, but the decisions we make today have a ripple effect going forward, both within our communities and individual companies (to the extent they survive).  Sustainability means considering the impact of tomorrow, today.

Mosaic: The beauty of a mosaic is rarely apparent up close. True appreciation of mosaic design comes from seeing the complexity of this form of art from a distance. If anything, it best illustrates the value in systems thinking.  That’s why CEOs or visionaries often lead from a birds eye view.   How often do we zoom out to see the big picture? Taking a step away from the minutiae shifts your vantage point and provides the different perspective required to see how well the pieces align.

Accessible: Remember those annoying logic matching games?  Diversity is to innovation  . . . as inclusion is to access.  If we’re not careful, we can mass produce inequity.  Particularly when we design from the perspective of our individual privilege. Simply asking, how accessible is my product, service or communityAnd for whom? Is an effective and impactful disruption to create  to opportunities for all

Relevant: It’s the look you get from a Gen Zer when you mention a cassette tape, VCR or 8 track.  Yet, the real question for relevance is, how might we get in front of trends and ahead of market shifts?  Immersive experiences in entrepreneurial community are great place to start.  From networking, to meetups, to deep dive partnerships with the most promising ventures— your proximity to innovation centers of gravity leaves you no choice but to stay ahead of the curve.

Tech? It’s already ubiquitous.  So, why not use technology as a tool to optimize the delivery of crucial civil services, better share information with the public, and improve overall quality of life for residents? And, as co-founder of the A Space Called Tribe and Black Tech Week, Felecia Hatcher-Pearson suggests, how can we use technology to help rid our cities of innovation deserts? Tech cannot save the world, but it can meaningfully connect resources to forgotten or underestimated communities.

Tag us with #VCMConnects and let us know how you apply these SMART design principles in your world?


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