One of the first thing that impressed me when I landed in China is the amount of electrical city cruiser, motorcycles, and scooters. They are everywhere. And they appear from nowhere just behind you at any moment, everywhere: on the sidewalk, on the road, at crossing. Beyond the fact that it takes time to get used to them and to develop that extra sense that allows you to survive in the city, I am amazed at the rate of adoption of those things.
I remember before leaving Italy an electrical scooter was launched accompanied by a quite visible marketing campaign. What will be its succes if everything else do not change in the system? What I want to say is that I had the feeling that a transition to new a new, and possibly better than the oil based one, energetic ‘ecosystem’ will need a thorough consideration of the complex, interwoven underlying system. I recently discovered having a ‘real’ thermal engine motorbike in cities is almost impossible. You will not get a licence plate, or you will do only with very ‘creative’ workarounds. In fact only few are seen around, and mostly those you can rent to take you around the city.
So should we rely on laws and regulation before that on people awareness?
Of course banning thermic engines would be a decision that would impact drastically our lives as well as the economic system as it is now. How can we design a way forward? Where to start and what kind of goals should we give ourselves? I believe the discussions on those issues in the policy making circles are active, but outputs are little and dis-organized. If we want (do we?) to transition the mobility industry toward a different model, we have to design the way(s) this can happen. This should take in account policies, manufacturing and industry needs, availability of resources, and many other nodes of the net.
I am convinced we cannot leave this transition to be organized by the ‘invisible’ hands of the market. Because efficiency and profitability will be hard to achieve in the beginning. This transition should be guided, helped and somehow managed at a systemic level. Should not just be market based.
On the other hand interesting and broad in scope private initiatives are arising. One example could be the Better Place Project. Companies and Countries that are keeping a careful eye on those issues like the vision of the project and decided to join in, in various ways. Obviously there is an economic interest for the car manufacture, it might only be a future oriented ‘research/experiment’ to be ready as it is obvious that this new model is in contrast with the current paradigm. But it also obvious, to me, that when countries invest and get involved in those kid of projects they are looking at a bigger value output than one that is only economic/profit based.
It is en effort to value innovate, to innovate systemically aiming to deliver results that are meaningful, that make sense. To me value-innovation is the result of a series of equations which include design-action, complexity, knowledge, multidisciplinarity, interdisciplinarity, and culture as variables.
Check Shai Agassi TED talk here: