Yesterday I posted IDM in Pictures 3/12. IDM stands for Infrastructure Decision Making. You can think of IDM either as the next stage after strategic asset management or as an intermediary stage between 20th century physical infrastructure and a 21st century that will be increasingly cyber or cyber augmented, but the shape of which we do not yet know. Infrastructure decision making is about asking those questions that will help us make the adjustments we will need to make.
For example, consider the rise of e-sports, a.k.a competitive video gaming. What impact might this have – on physical sports and on our sports infrastructure? Already a $1.5 billion business, it is increasing at 30% p.a. and projected to continue this rate of growth for at least the next five years. How many of our recent stadiums and those now being built have factored in this rate of growth for e-sports – and the possible concommitant impact on physical sports? So far it has mainly affected Asia and North America. However Australia joined the excitement early this year with major tournaments in Melbourne and Sydney. Do our current sports stadiums lend themselves to housing these events? The physical requirements of e-sports in Sydney (pictured) required the design and construction of a purpose-built elevated stage housed in a movie theatre complex. E-sports require high speed internet access and present high intensity light shows, music, dancing along with the video gaming competition. In Asia and North America they can attract crowds of 100,000.
In times of uncertainty we often seek comfort in resorting to what we have always done and are therefore confident that we know how to do. This may give temporary relief from the stress of the unknown but it only pushes the decision making further out whilst making the decisions harder when they come due again, and this is likely to be much sooner than we think. The consequence of doing this in the recent past may be why we are now hearing the term ‘playing catch up’ from our political pundits like Jeff Kennett. I don’t like this term, or the idea it implies. Why catch up when by the time that we do, what we are catching up with will already have passed?
The earlier we pay attention to future issues and start thinking – and talking- about the changes needed – in mindset, technology, principles and practices – the easier our adjustment task will become.
Though provoking comments about needing to understand your customer (stakeholder/voter/citizen) and trying to work out what they will like and require to live their lives in the future. This will help to shape and determine what Infrastructure will be required. Decision makers need to have this information provided to them from the bureaucracy and from the research institutes.
Agree, however, if decision makers just sit around waiting for information to be provided to them, it is not going to happen! They have to ask questions. debate the issues publicly and actively seek out the answers. How else will the bureaucracy and research institutes know to which issues to allocate their limited resources? That is why, in Talking Infrastructure, and especially in our forthcoming podcasts, we focus on exploring the questions to be asked, and how to ask them.