Silver Economy: Business Innovation of Urban Industrial Heritage

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Antwerp Central Station (Belgium): The Silver Economy of the Cities is a great opportunity for urban business innovation.

The Silver Economy refers to the value of the ageing population. We all know colleagues, family members or friends who where born in the post-war industrial era. Some have  many resources avaliable for businesses and society. With great experience,  they coach the youth, and with great passion, they involve themselves in leasure activities, home projects or family events. Further, with marginal debts, great savings and a lot of time, they travel and experience the cities as never before. However, as many other elderly face health issues, we tend to see the them as a burden who need to be dealt with.

The same story is unfolding in many cities. The one side of the coin shows a beautiful cultural heritage, which people from all over the world will experience and enjoy. In some extreme cases, the Disneyfication of cultural heritage inhibits the locals from living their daily lifes. We all now beautiful Medieval places in e.g. Italy or France, where tourist are taking over the national monuments. The other side of coin shows the decay of abandonned factories, habour facilities and bankrupted recreational buildings. Neglegting this cultural heritage will be a great loss for future generations.

The people and buildings of the past Century formed the cities that we now live in. Instead of sending the foundings fathers to retirement homes or demolishing our cultural heritage, we need better ways of sourcing the values of the Silver Economy. Yes, it is expensive to restore old buildings, and Continue reading “Silver Economy: Business Innovation of Urban Industrial Heritage”

Outside the comfort zone: In search of inspiration

Jazz in Rotterdam
Urban Business Innovation: Live jazz outside a café in Rotterdam attracts customers, pedestrian flow and inspiration while benefitting the musicians and the experienced urban environment.

Due to my recent move to Rotterdam School of Management (RSM), summer camping in the Normandy and a multitude of practical tasks, the new project, ‘Urbanary’, was hung out to dry. Sorry. I will do my best to keep up the postings. However, I’m returned with great inspiration! 🙂

Urban business innovation is process-driven by inspried people
Urban business innovation is here defined as a process of creating and implementing new sustainable ways of value creation, value capturing and and value delivering in urban development. However, this process is driven by people. As Andrea Ovans from Harvard Business Review states;

In the best of all possible worlds, extraordinary people pursue innovative ideas through processes that are perfectly suited to their talents. In the real world, less-than-perfect people are wise to use all the help they can get (Ovans, 2015).

So, let’s take a look at the real-world perspective, where we, the less-than-perfect people, need all the help we can get. We seldom experience great innovations to happen over night. Well, sometimes we wake up enlightened and inspired – but then we tend to forget it and do nothing about it… Instead, innovation is the result of ‘the long haul’.

Where to get inspired – and where to get help
People are social and reflective animals who gets inspiration from doing something. In fact, action breeds innovation way more than innovation breeds action. Continue reading “Outside the comfort zone: In search of inspiration”

Why Urban Business Innovation?

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Luzern, 2017

Our cities are growing with an ever-increasing pace. According to the World Bank, 54 % of the global population lives in cities, which generated more than 80 & of global GDP.  By 2045 the urban population is estimated to 6 billion people – an increase of approx. 50 %.

The world is becoming increasingly digitizes and connected. According to Statista, the number of Internet users increased from 1 billion in 2005 to 3.5 billion in 2017 – and the trend is expected to continue. Today, more than 50 % of the global population is connected to the Internet.

The number of passengers carried by airplane has been on a steep increase since the 1970s. The World Bank states that in 2016, airlines carried 3.7 billion passangers to destinations all around the world.

Other mega trends like climate change, amount of data, demographic changes, health concerns, knowledge development etc. challenges the way we live in the cities. Throughout the 20th century, ‘innovation’ has developed as a mindset for mitigating the challenges. Innovation in the urban development has so far focussed on better physical products or  immaterial services, and we have seen a trendemdous innovation on how to transport people, powering our buildings and create attractive residential areas.

With the increasing urbanization, digitalization and connectivity, companies and cities compete globally – while trying to combating the global mega trends. Sometimes, great solutions are created, sometimes nothing happens albeit the urgenxy of the matters – and sometimes it all goes south… We need better understandings of the factors for urban innovation, and it is clear, that businesses and the managerial powers plays important roles.

The past 15 years, practitioners and scholars have called for research regarding innovation of the business model. Businesses, governmental institutions, NGOs and private users must work together in better ways to tackling the urban challenges while at the time increase growth.

This blog is about Urban Business Innovation. Stay tuned.

All the best,
Kristian Løbner