India announced smart city initiative years back. Ever since it was announced, it was a big confusion. Debate on definition of smart city itself took years and is still continuing.
Global ideas of smart cities can not be copy pasted at the moment. Around the world the cities are good and clean. They just need to be made smart. Hence the smart cities immediately start with smart devices, internet control etc. How about Indian cities? They are barely livable. There are too many possible things to do.
Millions suggestions come up. If Indian governments spend money on smart devices, they will end up with no money for civil planning and construction.
How to prioritize and focus? Thankfully, Six Sigma provides a way.
Here they go.
1. Define Critical Criteria for Success:
These are critical to the success of Smart Cities. Any choice made affects multiple features of the smart city plans.
2. Define problems and may be initial wishlist
Then come the problems to be solved.
Once we talk about the problems and wish list, the question of prioritization comes. Remember the criteria for success mentioned above? The prioritization of problems and wishlist needs to be tested against the success criteria. This is a complex job.
3. Fill the Matrix
We could get into the details later. But the above matrix has given us prioritization. It has given in rather simple way. The important thing is that the above matrix allows us to structure the thoughts. It helps to weigh each of the things to be achieved against the defined criteria. It allows structured debate.
The above table prioritized the construction technology as 1st priority, which makes sense.
It is called QFD – Quality Function Deployment. This is one of the tools provided by Six Sigma methods. There is enough material available online on Six Sigma.
4. Go On and On
Continuing our illustration of smart city choices, once one set of choices about problems to tackle, solution possibilities could be defined.
Now again, these could be prioritized against the criteria. Or against the problems to be solved. This could go on, until the priorities are defined at sufficient granularity.
The approach could have helped to involve people in more structured way. Probably it could, even now. And it could save billions of $. And few years too.
Hopefully government listens.