Ambidexterity. Transform post #9

Handen EscherAccording to the World English Dictionary “ambidextrous” means: “equally expert with each hand” Ambidextrous is what cities and industries need to be during transition to a low carbon society.

Let me explain.

Some weeks ago I was invited for a brainstorm session about future challenges, with Vaillant, the German based manufacturer of boilers. This multi-billion euro company is worldwide leader in its field and it is good, because of its 140 year of experience and making the best boilers money can buy. But Vailliant is smart and modern company that knows the world is inevitably changing if it comes to energy and the heating of buildings. They need to invent and build low or non-carbon solutions but, at the same time, during transition, they need to make and sell the stuff there are good in for more than a century as well: ambidexterity is needed.

For a city it’s the same. In my city, Amsterdam, about 40% of the energy needed is for living. Our houses need heat and electricity and it’s almost all fired by natural gas. If we want to change this into low or non-carbon systems, we need to adapt all of the 400.000 houses in the city. An enormous challenge, and it is not done overnight. This is why transformation will be slow and ambidexterity is needed. The city needs to keep on doing what it’s good in: delivering gas to all buildings not changed, and at the same time starts developing good solutions for the future: Ambidexterity.

Ronald van WarmerdamRonald van Warmerdam
Sr project manager Projectmanagement Bureau, city of Amsterdam / lecturer TuDelft / Coordinator TRANSFORM

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