Archive for: September 2012

Taking Care of the Future.

Through HR&A our Master Developer at Konza we met two agencies today in New York involved with the development of a futuristic New York that will be competitive in the next 50 years.

Hudson Yards Development Corporation was created by Mayor Bloomberg to redevelop a section of New York that was their industrial area. It covers approximately 300 acres with mostly non high rise buildings. The city now wants high rises to meet future office demands.

Here they are buying back most of the land while developing modern infrastructure including the subway. Consultants are working day and night to ensure the redeveloped area meets current and future needs.

Later we visited the New York City Development Corporation charged with NY’s future competitiveness. They noted that in 1890, NY was basically a trading centre. In the 1940s, it became an Industrial City and today it is largely a financial and services city. They now want to switch gears to a more technology city.

Through a competitive process, they have put together a number of universities to deliberately steer NY into another Silicon Valley. Cornell University is paired with Israel Institute of Technology to deliberately create multi disciplinary programs in applied sciences and entrepreneurship. NY University too will partner with other global centres of excellence such as Indian Institute of Technology to also focus on innovation and entrepreneurship.

To help create a competitive future, the city will give free land and other incentives. They are demolishing one of the hospitals in order to create space for a futuristic project. Each of the different university grouping will focus in a specialized area that will be critical in the days to come. They are coming up with courses like health analytics, smart cities etc. 

This is how in future we can use data to predict our future. This is very critical and many lessons for developing countries. As we continue to do things the same way it has always been done, things remain the same and this ain’t good at all. We need to leverage on what we have and do a little more.

In the evening I attended a UN sponsored launch of Better than Cash Alliance at the Ford Foundation. Here speaker after speaker they lauded Kenya for its contribution towards mobile money. Our own Michael Joseph (former Safaricom CEO) was in attendance. This was a launch to scale up what has been successful in Kenya (75% of mobile money transactions world wide happens in Kenya). We shall see many researchers coming to Kenya. We must move up the ladder through research and begin to lead the rest of the world.

Instead of spending many hours arguing the merits and demerits of SAP training some Kenyans we need a mobile payroll system that can be integrated with Government’s Integrated Financial Management System.

When Matatus were introduced, there was a regulated transport system in Kenya. Buses could not just stop anywhere. They were like the proprietary software. Mini buses could stop anywhere and charged based on distance travelled and eventually dealt a blow to buses in urban centres. The rest today is history.

Get Adobe Flash player Plugin by wordpress themes