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“If you want to change the culture, you will have to start by changing the organization.” Mary Douglas
Culture change is needed when we want to change behaviors in any aspect of life. These change practices can be implemented on any scale from organizations to cities. I chose this quote by Mary Douglas today to help start this conversation because we need to understand that organizational change happens on all scales and levels. Cities as organizations are made up of layers and different systems working together. Comprehending how these multi faceted systems work together is the first step to make change possible. Also understanding that for proper change to occur strategic policy or initiatives need to be implemented to the existing systems.
Last week I attended the “TransTrans Summit: Cities and Transportation Innovation” in NYC hosted by NYIT. The hot topics of the summit were Electric Cars, moving more transportation to our waterways and innovative design companies concentrating on transportation. I was impressed with the company Sobi Social Bicycle’s product, where the bike uses modern technology and mobile apps to run this bike share concept. The person rents the bike trough their mobile device by receiving a code to unlock the bike and then when they are done locks it. Anyone wanting to rent a bike would check via app or computer to find where the bikes are via GPS system. The ideas of bike riding is being pushed in cities but if bike lanes are not part of the city traffic system, if bike parking and locking areas are not built into the design of these cities, mindset and culture change will not occur with the individuals that inhabit that city.
These innovative concepts and technologies are happening on all levels but they will not survive or be used on large scales if the proper infrastructure is not developed. Lets look into the electric car. The summit talked about BMW and other car manufacturers are developing on this technology to make them affordable. There is even a company that would retrofit your current car to be electric. These are great moves for carbon reduction but who will buy these cars if there aren’t any charging stations in our cities and urban environments. Needing to put charging stations on high ways and other area’s to create a feeling of safety for drives that they would not be stranded. In this conversation I think of the quote from the movie Field of Dreams “If you build it, they will come” works best. Collaboration and team work between private business, government and non-profits is needed to make these developments a reality. It is in our human nature to want to do the right thing, if people see that there is infrastructure in place for them to purchase or utilize these new innovations then they would. It is time to see the big picture, connect the dots and work together as team to make these changes possible.