| 4. In which ways is the initiative creative and innovative?
Disclaimer: not sure if a plan document needs to be uploaded as well. It's in Dutch and available but below is the summary of that document.
2010 Initial Brainstorming on government water challenges
* Develop early thinking between the government, science institutes and industry on how the water challenges in deltas and cities is developing, the main external causes for that and global trends in information technology and how those were impacting governments. Programs used for this were the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and the workshops organized by the Netherlands Water Partnership organization.
2011 Broad feasibility study within the sector and international exploration
* Setup of a jointly funded feasibility study between the ministry, university of Delft and IBM to explore obstacles in the sector for innovating the way water is managed by the government and identifying potential innovative solutions to be realized in a proof of concept program.
* Exploration of international best practices and lessons learned in other industries
* Draft definition of a potential solution (the Digital Delta program) and onboarding of additional founding fathers for the joint concept
* Submission of a draft business case for the program to the new Top Sector Water program from the Ministry of Economic Affairs which is focused on progressing innovative programs that benefit the government and competitive position of the Netherlands.
2012 Research/PoC program and business case definition & Letter of Intent (formal start of initiative)
* Adoptation by the Rijkswaterstaat organization (the operational department of the ministry of infrastructure and environment) to lead and coordinate the program.
* Identification of 5 Founding Father organizations willing to invest in the program and Declaration of Intent .
* Detailed program definition with goals, intended deliverables, research questions, use cases to be realized, required resources, contribution of all founding fathers et cetera.
* Validation of program at national and international events and workshops.
* Research Partnership Agreement definition and external tender regulation check.
* Kick off of 'quarter master phase' while awaiting cross departmental review process.
2013 Cross ministry review process and start of proof of concept
* Review process from cross ministries team to validate program setup, governance and control
* Start of program
* Focus on realizing 6 use cases, 1 for each Founding Father and 2 for the ministry. Solving obstacles identified by feasibility study, enabling partners to get broader access to relevant government and each others data, make reuse of IT services and technology so they can focus on developing new science and solutions for managing water in innovative ways.
* Setup of sounding board where more stakeholders can participate, get updated on the program, share progress and lessons learned and contribute their insights.
* Presentation at key (inter)national events.
* Setup of a series of international round tables to invite similar leading initiatives/peers to learn from each other and explore international collaboration between similar initiatives.
2014 Finalize start-up and design phase and decide how to progress and scale up
* Continue program, round tables, sounding board sessions
* June/July close of start-up phase
* Deliver and broadly communicate lessons learned, (inter)national feedback, substantiated economic potential case
* Present at (inter)national events
* Define and initiate follow-on phase
| 5. Who implemented the initiative and what is the size of the population affected by this initiative?
This initiative started with the Director General of the Ministry of Infrastructure and Environment Annemieke Nijhof in 2010 and was picked up by the DG of the operational department of Rijskwaterstaat Jan Hendrik Dronkers who asked his Corporate Innovation Director Ben Spiering to take the lead in exploring the business case. Ben Spiering worked closely with the person responsible for the management of water Roeland Allewijn. The program definition and management was eventually led by Raymond Feron, the program director.
The 2 persons who were leading from the regional Water Authority point of view were the President Michiel van Haersma Buma and the Strategy Advisor Joost de Haan.
The main persons who explored and designed this initiative from the University of Delft were professor Nick van de Giesen and the Director for Valorization Paul Althuis.
From the science institute Deltares Director Inland Water Systems Ron Thiemann and department lead numerical software Arthur Baart contributed to the design of the program.
From IBM the collaboration and design was led by Djeevan Schiferli responsible for the market development of water, Bram Havers the IT architect and Roeland Nagel, technology consultant for water all under the super vision of the Global Water executive Michael Sullivan and the IBM Europe chairman Harry van Dorenmalen.
| 6. How was the strategy implemented and what resources were mobilized?
The 5 founding fathers lined up their finances and investments totaling 5.5M euros for the 12 month proof of concept phase.
The preparation for the proof of concept phase has cost a substantial but undefined number of headcount hours from the founding father organizations as well as from the other initial founding fathers who contributed to the initial exploration of the concept but who did not participate in the current realization (water utility Vitens, Wageningen University and the Waterschapshuis, the shared IT services organization of the local water authorities).
The feasibility study costs of 2011 are estimated at over 100.000 euros spread evenly between the ministry and the university of Delft and IBM. On top of that over 60 organizations participated with their best qualified resources in multiple interviews and workshops.
In 2012 the focus moved to the definition of the business case and selecting those partners willing to co-invest in the future. Over 250.000 euro of government funding was made available and added to that multiple resources from the founding fathers from water and IT subject matter experts, legal departments, communications and other supporting functions.
In 2013 cross departmental government team was asked to review the program who engaged in over 20 interviews with the founding partner organizations. After the start of the proof of concept phase a substantial amount of effort and costs has gone into answering the many interview requests from the press, creation of video promotion material and web site.
| 7. Who were the stakeholders involved in the design of the initiative and in its implementation?
While the realization is ongoing the results are confirming the potential for the trans-formative nature of the approach.
In the summer the university of Delft organized a design competition in Africa for developing low cost yet robust sensors that would make up a meteorological platform that could be rolled out in large quantities (20.000) to provide a low cost weather monitoring service to the Africa continent. The technology hurdle to be solved was how to onboard sensors quickly so water and weather scientists could focus on their core expertise and not having to spend time and resources to the IT.
The Plug & Play sensors technology was developed on the Digital Delta IT platform reducing the time spend on similar research projects up to 60% according to the university. University scientists and students are now able to plug in their sensors within minutes and share their data with everybody facilitating new science and solution development in the Netherlands. Reference: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zJD1VP6F83k and http://tahmo.info/
New sensor technologies are quickly overtaking the market, with traditional solutions being expensive and requiring fixed power lines and physical buildings. With over 2 million datasets per day the current monitoring network from the government might well be replaced in the future with these new promising technologies, easy onboarding will be a prerequisite which is now proven.
In a 2nd use case the Digital Delta solved the obstacle of findability of data. 'Just' realizing yet another central data store for open data will not solve the fact that any interested person would first need to know where to look. Typical data sources are traditionally not indexed by Google or yahoo. In the Digital Delta this is solved, anybody can now use Google to find for instance coastal height data for the Netherlands, the very first hit in Google will point you to the Digital Delta who in turn will forward you to where the data is actually stored (the government). Through the solution used science institute Deltares could substantially reduce the time to connect new data sources in other countries enabling them to provide for instance flood warning services anywhere in the world. ref: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fOZYCBY3yz4
Ongoing use cases show that development time for new science and solutions can be reduced by 75% and government cost savings for managing the water system by 15%.
| 8. What were the most successful outputs and why was the initiative effective?
First of all the quest has been to engage with potential providers of new water science and solutions and make them focus on end user and business process impact compared to a more traditional technology exploration/validation and proof of concept. The selected use cases all address a specific element of the water management processes but all have in common that they do that by leveraging existing and new data within the participating organizations.
A use case is successful if:
1. it proofs the potential for cost savings and/or lead to faster response times and/or better decision making
2. enables reuse for follow-on use cases of data, tools, algorithms, models, or IT functionality (develop once, reuse many)
To ensure broader validation of the approach and solution beyond the 5 founding fathers a sounding board has been set up where representatives from academia, small and medium enterprises, multinationals, ministries and other other water managing authorities will hear about the lessons learned and review the progress and chosen direction. Their feedback will be used in the follow-on phase to ensure the best alternatives have been heard and selected for public use.
An international sounding board and round tables are being set up for 2014 to ensure even broader validation and learn from similar initiatives in other industries and parts of the world.
Another aspect of success is being derived from the input use cases have on the outcome of the study on viability and on the requirements/specifications for full scale implementation, the specs.
The research questions that have been addressed in the proof of concept phase are actively communicated with the entire water sector in the Netherlands. Different architectures and incremental development paths that are being investigated are presented on delta/water conferences. Results of the proof of concept phase, including the Use Cases are being fed into the roadmap Digital Delta. This roadmap is primarily focused on vertical and horizontal collaboration Vertical collaboration between local, regional, national and international parties and horizontal collaboration between public, private and science partners, also connecting the water sector with other sectors like energy, integrated city operations, mobility, telecom, security etc. These presentations and workshops are used to enrich the solutions for implementation with user-driven feedback and ensure external monitoring of the activities the chosen directions in the implementation phase.
| 9. What were the main obstacles encountered and how were they overcome?
In more traditional research projects the government subsidizes but does not participate or a very detailed tender is put on the market leaving no space for innovation. In the Digital delta the government leads the initiative and focuses on facilitation and setting the desired outcomes but without defining the detailed solution leaving space for innovative approaches but also providing the partners with transparency on what to accomplish.
A second obstacle was ensuring a level playing field, crucial for public-private engagements. This was solved by awarding a research assignment combined with asking the partners to co-invest in the program which is different than the traditional model of subsidizing. This also addressed the obstacle that many want to participate if there is government money available but few are prepared to co-invest and if they are also required to make all knowledge gained in the program publicly available afterwards, a requirement to ensure the level playing field.
Substantial benefits can be gained in adjacent domains to water. E.g. cost reduction in maintenance of equipments, prolonged life times of infrastructures, energy optimization of pumps, lower chemical use in treatment and so on. To capitalize on these benefits multidisciplinary skills are required, not only between knowledge domains but also the collaboration between various departments like innovation, water management and the CIO and CFO. This has proven a challenge that can only be solved by ensuring endorsement by the executives in all partner organizations.