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2 years

2 years have passed  like a blip and without a note on this blog. This does not mean that nothing happened, not at all, and that the pace of change did stop.  Nothing of that all.
I moved on a career step two years ago, becoming a trusted advisor on topics of digital transformation and smart city for the Brussels Region state secretary in charge of these topics.  A special advisor moving into the realm of administration and politics, with a fresh focus on service, and determined to move forward the Brussels capital in the digital world.
This meant that I had to leave a lot of the topics and network of cherished professionals to dive into a new and unchartered Brussels Region territory of 161 km2 and the different layers, silos, open and closed networks that manage the capital of Europe.

In the meantime my brainchild BEGEO geo trade fair had a decisive first edition in march 2016, followed by a second edition in 2017.  The motivation of academic world, administration, private secotr and professional assocations to energise together one day proved a great success formula.

A lot of technological changes happen at a rapid pace;  Moore's law starts to be applied to the real-world, and is transforming it at a fast pace, making a lot of the existing structures irrelevant if they don't move forward.
Tech is not evil in itself, it is in the way it is applied that good or evil can come forward.  Or in the unexpted outcomes.
Take the algorithms of FB;  they are made to make you like things and possible buying consumption of your digital peers.   Your digital footprints become a digital profile that is sold to the brand that will want to pay to most for your eyeballs.
Take online banking.  The bank teller that knows you, your SME business, and that can even talk your language and provide genuine advice, is being sidelined by robotic profiles.

And now moving into public sector space.  A place that for quite some areas has a defacto monopoly.  And one knows that private monopolies are at the end not good for the customers because he will pay higher price and innovation will slow down.  This is what happened with the browser when IE explorer took the main share and brought it to a halt, or skype that was bought by a larger company. Telephony company ATT bell , was broken up into different parts to avoid this large monopoly that created a major innovation drag into mobile telephony and allowed Europe to become a front runner in the GSM market due to that.  And so there can be examples on and on.
So a public sector, I found out is seeing innovation more a a risk than as an opportunity.  And take with that the budget cycles that keep the existing running elements, and slash first into new projects, than you can imagine that way-back catapult in innovation in e-government.  No wonder that this is a major issue into the European DESI indexes year after year.
There are sometimes these kind of thunderstrikes that cause a complete reset, think the total failure and restart in Iceland, or the lockdown in Brussels due to the terrorist attacks.  These can shake up the system and allow for systemic change, or .. not.

The impact of tech on society in the meantime is growing, and when a Hong Kong start-up not older than six months is putting free floating bikes on the streets of Brussels, this causes fun reactions between old and new world: some wat to regulate, see the public space as something owned by a state monopoly for example.
Fast movers in Brussels like Molengeek and Digityser use the strength of digital to go even faster, and don't play by outdated rules, good for them and good for society.

The geo-information, the usage of time, location and place in the real and virtual dimension is having an impact on more and more fields.  Take circular economy, where distance becomes a key factor in the re-use circle; or mobility that is traffic jammed due to outdated far away housing situations.

All this needs to move seemless, in a flow.  Human centered design is a new key aspect of unlocking a digital city;  digital transformation is more than just a a facebook page and some marketing gimmicks.  So this post is restarted , now! enjoy