Not Neom – more AI!

Asset Management just took an interesting right turn.  Neom, the city of the future planned to cost $550 billion, is currently hoovering up Asset Managers.

Some people I hugely respect, including Mark Sexton and AMCL, Rhys Davies (previous chair of the technical committee for ISO 55000) and Stacey Jones, ex-BHP, have committed to time in Saudi Arabia to ensure AM is properly incorporated as Neom’s design and construction develops.

At one level, this is progress: that a mega mega mega project takes whole-life Asset Management very seriously from the start.

Ever since I interviewed some Asset Managers from Enron twenty years ago – not long before Enron ate itself – I have understood that AM can only be as progressive as the objectives it is aligned to. We are not automatically on the side of the angels.

When we talk about ‘future friendly assets’, the starting point is that someone has thought through how much a shiny new asset will take to operate and maintain in practice.  But it must mean more than this: what will the impact of the asset be, starting with whatever materials it uses, and extending into the impact on ecology and long-term pollution, including CO2.

When, if ever, is it a better idea to build new than to maintain the infrastructure we already have? Can we build our way out of trouble?

A fascinating time to look at the different directions we might take from here. Neom as opposed, for instance, to the commitment to biodiversity in infrastructure at the Blue Mountains City Council.

For the moment, Neom is an Asset Management magnet, with consequences probably far beyond the Middle East.

It’s worth looking Neom up on YouTube, if you have not already.