This content was originally published on The Resilience Shift website. The Resilience Shift, a 5-year programme supported by Lloyd’s Register Foundation and hosted by Arup, transitioned at the end of 2021 to become Resilience Rising. You can read more about The Resilience Shift’s journey and the transition to Resilience Rising here.

Transformative technology can no longer be ignored. In the Resilience Shift we believe technology should enhance rather than compromise critical system functionality and we listened with interest to the sessions at the Intelligent Communities Forum (ICF) in early June.

The ICF‘s main topic was humanising data with a key message being that what really matters is how we use technology to make a difference to people’s lives.

A strong message to take home was that purpose should come first. What are the benefits that we want to achieve for the community, i.e. prosperity, safety, resilience.

How technology can help should come after that, not before. Being smart is not a purpose per se if this is not trying to achieve an outcome for a community.

Open data will play an important role as it can allow for a much broader exploitation of data. The broadest possible foundation of open data should be our aim, and this will become an important national asset. As an example, the Ordnance Survey has just released some key parts of the OS MasterMap which will be made openly available for the public and businesses to use. It is estimated that this will boost the UK economy by at least £130m each year, as innovative companies and startups use the data.

Another key emerging theme was how to achieve change. In particular, that we should be brave enough to experiment with change, and there is a need for courageous leadership, which is willing to adopt new approaches and learn by doing. This approach resonates strongly with the Resilience Shift.

At the municipal level, there are multiple examples of it and the ICF forum presented 7 examples of intelligent communities which are already using technology to drive change. The city of Espoo in Finland was awarded the Intelligent Community of the Year.

Using technology to change resilience practice for critical infrastructure
Intelligent Communities Forum (June 4th)

When considering the socio-technical system beyond just the physical asset, technology creates additional challenges – for example, the labour market will require new skills, education and continuous learning.

A third of US workers will have to switch occupation by 2030, and a lot of children now in schools will work in jobs that do not exist today. 80% of new jobs will require competencies and skills such as decision making with imperfect data, systems thinking, and understanding how information is manipulated by technology.

It’s therefore clear that transformative technology can no longer be ignored and will play a substantial part in how we design and operate resilient infrastructure in future.

We are exploring how we can shed some light on this question through our activities. If you have ideas that can contribute to this outcome, do get in touch.