#68 Schwalm-Eder-West: Creative Bureaucracy & Procurement for Smaller Cities

Episode 74 March 19, 2024 00:44:54
#68 Schwalm-Eder-West: Creative Bureaucracy & Procurement for Smaller Cities
Smart in the City – The BABLE Podcast
#68 Schwalm-Eder-West: Creative Bureaucracy & Procurement for Smaller Cities

Mar 19 2024 | 00:44:54

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Hosted By

Tamlyn Shimizu

Show Notes

This episode, part of our collaboration as one of the podcast partners for the Creative Bureaucracy Festival, features Dr. Philipp Rottwilm, Mayor of Neuental and District Council Member for the Schwalm-Eder-West region.

The main topics discussed in this episode include the concept of creative bureaucracy and its importance in small and medium-sized cities, the transformation of the Schwalm-Eder-West region into a smart region, and challenges related to procurement in smaller cities, including the need for long-term financing and the benefits of collaborative efforts among cities.

 

European cities face unique challenges in implementing innovative solutions. With BABLE Smart Cities, we're cutting through the complexity, offering a streamlined approach to procuring urban innovations 50% faster and 20% more cost-efficient. Learn more about our Navigating the Innovation Market offering by visiting the BABLE Knowledge Hub today.

 

Overview of the episode:

[00:02:32] Teaser Question: Does Dr. Philipp Rottwilm consider himself a creative bureaucrat?
[00:05:57] Dr. Philipp Rottwilm's Background
[00:09:14] Describing Neuental: A small, green, digitally aspiring city
[00:13:16] The Smart Region Schwalm-Eder-West project
[00:22:47] The significance and process of procuring innovative technologies
[00:33:06] Challenges and strategies in navigating procurement processes
[00:33:32] Ideal tools or support to accelerate Smart City projects
[00:37:40] Roll with the Punches: Our guest answers 'this or that' questions quickly and with their first instincts.
[00:42:44] Ending Question: To you, what is a Smart City?

 

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View Full Transcript

Episode Transcript

[00:00:06] Tamlyn Shimizu: Welcome to Smart in the city, the BABLE podcast, where we bring together top actors in the smart city arena, sparking dialogues and interactions around the stakeholders and themes most prevalent for today's citizens and tomorrow's generations. I am your host, Tamlyn Shimizu, and I hope you will enjoy this episode and gain knowledge and connections to accelerate the change for a better urban life. Smart in the city is brought to you by BABLE Smart Cities. We enable processes from research and strategy development to co creation and implementation. To learn more about us, please visit the BABLE platform at BABLE Smartcities EU. European cities face unique challenges in implementing innovative solutions. With BABLE Smart cities, we're cutting through the complexity, offering a streamlined approach to procure urban innovations 50% faster and 20% more cost efficient. Our expertise not only accelerates your project's timeline, but also ensures impactful, lasting solutions tailored to your city's needs. Discover how we can empower your city's future by visiting the link in the show notes. And now back to our episode of the day. So, as part of our collaboration as one of the podcast partners for the Creative Bureaucracy Festival here in Germany, we are producing this episode with their main goal of rethinking principles, processes and practices for our public institutions. One process that I think many would agree on needs to be a bit rethought and updated is procurement and how do we procure innovative solutions, especially in smaller places and regions. So for that topic, I have a wonderful guest today. He's always one of my favorite people to speak to in general, and I'm really excited to have him on the podcast and introduce him to you all. And I think he does embody the spirit of a creative bureaucrat as well. His name is Dr. Philipp Rottwilm. He's the mayor of the city of Neuental, and he's also district council member for the region of Schwalm-Eder-West here in Germany. Welcome, Philip. [00:02:11] Philipp Rottwilm: Hello everyone. Thanks for having me. [00:02:15] Tamlyn Shimizu: Our pleasure. So we always like to warm up a little bit, get things going with a bit of a teaser question. So I wanted to know what you think of the phrase creative bureaucrat, and if you would consider yourself a creative bureaucrat. [00:02:32] Philipp Rottwilm: Well, that's a very good question. I would say that others need to evaluate if what we deliver is creative, but I hope so. At least I can say that we are trying to be creative, that's for sure. I think these days, especially small and medium sized cities generally have to be creative because otherwise they're going to be in trouble. But it's also a big challenge, to be honest. I mean, being in the thick of the political machinery and the day to day administration work that we all know. I mean, in business it's quite similar. It is hard and at the same time important to find time and also mechanisms to be creative. Right? I think it's not so easy, especially if your week is always completely packed and you're running from A to b like a chicken. But you still have to find time to be creative. I have some sort of mechanisms to do that. It doesn't always work, but I'm trying hard. I write stuff. I mean, you said I'm coming from more like the research side, so I like to write things down. I do that quite regularly. I tell my people in the town hall always that they have to think freely, associate freely, have no boundaries in their thinking, think out of the box. We do a lot of brainstorming also, which is, I guess, not a big thing. But for traditional german political institutions, not always the case. Brainstorm first, evaluate later. Let's have room for ideas. It's not standard, I would say. Big german institutions are not like smaller startups. We're trying to do that and be creative bureaucrats, if you want to use that phrase. But it doesn't always work. For me personally, I think I'm doing okay. And if I'm not creative enough anymore, if my brain doesn't work, that I start walking. You just figured my office is too big for the perfect sound on the podcast, so it's big enough to walk around, which helps me sometimes. If not that, I'm going outside and I walk around in the park, and then I can be creative again. And I'm always trying to get out of my comfort zone. I think that helps my brain, especially to be more creative. If you're always in your comfort zone, then I don't think that you're going to get to the results that you might want to get to. [00:05:57] Tamlyn Shimizu: Very true. You mentioned, and I want to give a little bit more background into who you are. You mentioned you come more from a research background. Can you talk a little bit about how you came to your position today? What led you here? What experiences have you had? [00:06:15] Philipp Rottwilm: Yeah, that's a long road. So I have a master's in business and econ. I lived in a lot of countries. I have a PhD in political economics from Oxford. I did a couple years in consulting at KPMG. I did mainly public sector consulting, works of digitization, strategy, organization. That was pretty much what I did before I came here, you already said, I've been in local politics because that was one of my passions. I just like to do that for many, many years. It's probably 15 years now, maybe even more. Yeah. And then I ran as a mayor in my hometown that you would have asked me, like, ten years ago if that is on the list, then I would have said, you went to the bavarian fu shop. So I guess it was actually unthinkable. But, yeah, life goes on, and then things change, and I'm very happy. So in 2017, I ran, and I ran against the incumbent and won. And then from one day to another, I left the research and the consultancy work and became a mayor. And I'm very happy that I actually did that. I do a lot of party politics, too. I'm a member of the Social Democrats in Germany. I became the deputy head of the state social Democrats in Hessen just last weekend. So that's stuff that I also like, I think. I mean, especially right now with the things that are going on in Germany, also with the rise of the populist. Right. And younger local politicians like me, I think, have to step up and also put in the hours that maybe other people enjoy being outside in the park or somewhere else, and we sit in meeting rooms. But I love the job. I mean, I have to say, it's a great job. So whoever is able to, yeah, do work in politics, I think, give it a go. You can be creative at the one hand, and you can change your own world, your own setting that is around you. So it's very rewarding, I must say. [00:09:04] Tamlyn Shimizu: Yeah. Really interesting journey that you have. Tell us. Paint us a picture about your city. What does it look like? What does it have? What's unique about it? [00:09:14] Philipp Rottwilm: So Neuental is a small city. You already said that. In the german countryside, we are basically in the middle of the country, relatively good infrastructure. So our mobility is doing well. And that is a topic that we also work on right now. We have an autobahn that used to start here. People always said it ends there, but it never ended here. It always starts there. And now they're basically building it to basically link two big Autobahns together. So we're going to be pretty much the center in Germany, and traffic is going to move from north to south through our city, which has pros and cons, obviously, but from mobility wise, obviously, it's going to help us a lot. We have a couple of train stations. So for being in the countryside, our infrastructure is relatively well. We cannot complain. It's a green city. We have a lot of lakes in the region. We are a former brown coal mining area. So tourism at the lakes grew over the past couple decades. And I would say, especially after COVID people enjoy their home regions and attractions a lot more. So we can see that a lot in, for example, campgrounds. We run campgrounds ourselves as a city, too. They became very big again. I mean, a couple of years ago, everyone said, you got to sell these things. They have no future. And now I'm looking for staff all over the place to keep running them. So, yeah, I mean, it's a green area in the middle of Germany. 60% of Germans, I always say that, live in the countryside. So we are trying to be, let's say, like a modern digital town in the countryside that sort of like, shows that a lot of creative things and digital stuff works in the countryside too, and not only in the big capitals of our world. And I think that's also a nice thing to do because you can, a, get things done and then B, maybe get others to jump on the same chain. [00:12:03] Tamlyn Shimizu: Yeah, really nice. I'm going to have to come up and visit, by the way, sometime. [00:12:08] Philipp Rottwilm: Yes. [00:12:10] Tamlyn Shimizu: A really nice picture for us. I'm also a sucker for lakes. Here in the Stuttgart region, all the lakes have kind of like kipped. They've gone bad. And so there's not a lot of swimming options and stuff around here. [00:12:25] Philipp Rottwilm: Yes, we have good water quality, so you're always happy to come. Let me know, and then we will set something up. [00:12:34] Tamlyn Shimizu: Yeah, the next meeting will be swimming. Yeah. You need to take more of your meetings outside. Right. And then it solves your issue. You can do both at the same time. I want to ask you now, get into, you mentioned that your town is really trying to be this digital green place in the countryside. And so I think that this concept is really interesting. And I want to talk more about what are some projects that you're involved in. So maybe you can name one project that you're super passionate about. And also, I always like to pose the question, like, what did you learn from it? [00:13:16] Philipp Rottwilm: I think, I mean, since this is the creative Bureaucrats podcast or topic today, one of the projects that I'm passionate about is, of course, like the digitization stuff. We became a smart region, not a smart city, but a region a while ago, and that is one of our big focus. But we decided that we cannot do this alone. You mentioned that we have a cooperation of several cities in the region, and we basically teamed up five cities. We have 43 districts and villages, a population of like a bit more than 30,000. So it's still relatively small, but large in terms of size, but not population. But yeah, we thought that you want to work on the big topics of our time, you got to do it together. So we set up a smart region, and basically what we're doing is the digital transformation of the countryside. Digital solutions, I just said that they're not just for the larger cities. I think there's a lot of stuff that you can use for smaller municipalities, too. In Germany, there are over 11,000 small municipalities, so there's a lot of work to do. So we do smart admin as the basis of our smart region, but we also go one step further with implementing or we implemented a data platform with real time open data as defined by the European Innovation Partnership. Many people might notice that. And we use our collected data to basically optimize decisions, but also improve our digital services. We do a lot there. We have one thing that we call smart environment, with sensors outside measuring pretty much anything that you can measure, from traffic to noise, air quality, rain, et cetera. It's a useful thing to do because right now, like building an autobahn, we have, of course, the issue that we will have more traffic in the future. And people are sort of like, anxious about that. They don't know what's coming. And we are measuring that to a make sure that we see where we can do something about that. Where do we have to build walls? Where do we have to plant maybe more trees? But on the other hand, also to give our citizens real life data that is not just like subjective, but they can see objectively how is, let's say, for example, the noise in front of their house. And that in most cases, makes it a lot easier to have a public debate about that. And that has helped us in the past. And we can think about noise protection in a different way and also other measures to increase air quality in general. I guess, I mean, smart traffic is a big thing around the world, mainly in big cities, but we think that especially in our case, you can also use it in the countryside. So we show traffic patterns. We use floating car data to see where you have how much traffic. We basically use that also to make better decisions for parking, for speed limits, for speed control, also for noise protection. So there's a lot of stuff to do if you actually measure and use this data to make better decisions for your citizens. The biggest thing that we do right now that I'm very passionate about is what we call smart building. So we have a focus. You already said that, of course, like green tech or green buildings is something that a lot of people talk about. But if you look at public buildings in Germany across the board, the new ones, they are, I would say, on the way to where they should be. They're still also, in most cases, not fully digital. So they're not there, but they're on the way there. But most buildings, public buildings in Germany are relatively old, and they are far away from, let's say, the smart home that many of us have at home. Right. If you come from your holidays in France, you drive back to Stuttgart, you can heat up your apartment with your app, you can move your lights on and off because you're afraid that the neighbor is going to break in. So this way he thinks that you're there. I mean, all these things people know what's smart home? I don't have to explain that. Right. Compared to public houses around the country, we are very far away from that. So what we are trying to do is we focus on these digital green buildings, and that is not just solar panels and led, but we pretty much pair climate protection with efficient buildings and digitalization. So we have basically technology in the buildings that automate heating light energy. So there's a lot to do. I'm pretty passionate about that. And, yeah, I think that mainly if you look at the CO2 levels that we want to have in the future, if we don't do that together with all the cities in Germany, we will have no chance in reaching them. Right. So the cities across Germany, and I mean the world actually, they play a big role in that. So that cannot only be the big ones that have to be the small ones, too. And there's a lot to do. And we're one of the small ones that are trying to do that. Smart lighting is maybe the last example that I can give you guys. We are working with, like, motion sensors, and it's stuff that, of course, you don't have to reinvent the wheel. A lot of smart lighting stuff is already out there, but it's mainly used in big cities and not in smaller places. But you can actually, especially for smart lighting and also smart building. It is not just something that makes sense in terms of climate change, and that is always a question in cities. Of course, it is also relevant if you want to save money. Right. Our budgets, you all know that our budgets are not as good as they should be. And therefore, if you save resources in using less light, if you save resources in using less heating, et cetera, then at the end of the day, you're not only doing the right thing, you're also saving money for your citizens. Then you can use that budget to put it elsewhere and maybe build a new playground. That was like a very quick run through some of the stuff that we do. We do a lot more than that. We cannot talk about all of this, but from 360 degree visualization of our streets to digital water and waste management to the stuff that I just talked about. So digitization in small cities and smart regions is something that I'm pretty passionate about. [00:22:47] Tamlyn Shimizu: Yeah, absolutely. And thank you so much for the great examples. When we're talking about this digitization, digitalization and these different solutions, sensors, et cetera, that means as a government that you had to procure these technologies. Right. And this is a big pain point that we hear from a lot of different cities we work with and from other stakeholders, of course, as well. Also companies side, they also don't like the procurement process. Right. So I'm just wondering what you view as maybe how are you navigating these challenges with procurement? Do you have any advice or any antidoteal stories or anything along those lines? [00:23:31] Philipp Rottwilm: I would say, first of all, it is, as you said, sometimes a pain, not only for bigger cities, but especially for smaller cities in Germany and across the EU. Actually, to do procurement in general, we always have to think about funding as well. I mean, spending money is one thing and getting the right thing, but in the very first place, you have to get the funding for it. So you always have to talk about proposals. Where do I get funding from? That's where the entire process starts for us. That is. Also, you need resources and good people to do that, actually. And these days there's so much funding out there that you have to find the right thing or the right program for the project that you want to do. Then you have to match everything that whoever funds you asks you for. And that's always also related to procurement. So our bidding processes are fairly standardized. I mean, in Germany, we have very strict rules about what cities can do and what we have to do. And the thing is, it doesn't really matter if you do that as a small or medium city or you do that as the capital, Berlin. Right. The rules are pretty much the same. And resources in Berlin are scars, too. That's probably not the big difference financially. And of course, also in terms of staff, because at the end of the day, someone has to run these procurement issues, and these are our people. For us, the biggest challenges are, I would say, long term financing. So we always look very closely to not only what does something cost in the very beginning, but actually more what does it cost every year after, let's say, most projects are funded with, let's say like our smart region project, for example, we got 2.5 million from the state in the beginning to fund that. But after three years, there will be no more funding. So everything that we did has to make sense in the long run. So I cannot just buy XYZ and then I have a lot of it stuff. I still have to be able to finance that in the long run. And I think citizens also expect us to check every euro two or three times before we spend it. I mean, you would do that at home. So they want that from politics too. And it's often that citizens don't feel that we are actually doing that. So I guess that is one of the big things for us, long term financing. So we're spending a lot of time actually to really get on people's nerve to make sure that we can get rates that are in our budgetary constraints. You also need to have a significant size to make things work. That's why we always team up. I said that when we talked about smart region. I think this is one of the big solutions for smaller and medium cities across the globe. You don't always have to go the next step and basically become a bigger city. You can just team up with your local cities in your area. And that is the case for procurement, too. So what we basically do is we always have one city of our five cities in our region that are working together that is basically leading something, and that is the case for procurement, too. And they are specialists in that area then, and they're doing it for the five of us. And that helps us a lot. It's still complicated, of course, but it helps us to make sure that we do not make mistakes that you do if you only do it once or twice. But we have people who do it all year long. Same with, I mean, if you want to get an operation, you're not going to go to the doctor that does it only once a year, you're going to go to the doctor that does it every day, all year long. Right? So that's basically what we do for procurement, too. We have specialists that do that for us. But what I would say the difference between us as a smaller city and bigger cities is for sure that we think much harder about which projects to do, which funding to get and how to do our procurement and also our bidding processes. I mean, we really think about that a lot. And if you have a bigger budget and a bigger staff, then you might not do that as diligent as we are doing it. I mean, a good example is actually what we just talked about, smart buildings, or we just did a big tender for ebikes because we want to build a system in the entire region where you jump out of a train, you can get an ebike, you ride to the next spot, you drop it there. This is standard for every big city, but it's not standard in the countryside. Maybe in tourism or tourist areas it is the case, but in the normal countryside it is not. So we spend a lot of time in actually finding the right partners and making sure that, again, it is feasible for us in terms of financing in the long run. And we do that, I guess, with small teams. We always work in small teams. We try to do that to prepare these things, let our teams decide. That's also something, I mean, at the end of the day, of course, someone has to make a call. But in german administration, it used to be always top down. And that is something that we also try to try to change. Right. To put more trust in your people, your staff is the most important, most important asset that we have. And if I want to be part of a process, then we have a couple of cases. If you don't know, let me put it the other way around. I only want to be part of a process in three cases. A, the process works very, very good, then I want to know. B, something goes really wrong, then I also want to know, or you really don't know what to do. What I'm trying to say is that putting trust in people, and that is the case for procurement, too, and let them do their thing in small teams makes the result much more relevant. That is also what citizens expect of us. Expect of us. They don't want our town halls and ministries across the country. They don't want them to be as slow as they used to be. They don't want decision making to be as slow as it used to be. They want it to be run like a business, be fast. And that is, of course, only possible if you have the staff for it, if you make fast decisions. I know it is not always possible, especially in procurement, but we are trying to do our best. I mean, I'm not 100% sure if that answers your question, but we are trying to be creative, let's say the realm that the german law or the EU law gives us, and that is already pretty narrow. Right. So it is hard. [00:33:06] Tamlyn Shimizu: Being creative in a narrow space is definitely challenging. You mentioned that you're trying to speed up a lot, and that's quite difficult sometimes to run faster. If you could wave, I guess, a magical wand and say, this is the tool that I would need, or the support that you would need to accelerate the work that you're doing, what do you think that tool or support would be? [00:33:32] Philipp Rottwilm: I would say more trust. Because the trust that I just spoke about that we give to our staff would mean that EU and national and state government puts less boundaries on german cities. It doesn't matter if small, medium or large cities, we all have the same boundaries that we are working with. And I think if we would have better funding and more trust in general and more opportunities to move within this narrow space or we widen this space. Right. Then I think that also our procurement would be a lot more efficient because we have to tick a lot of boxes to make sure that we do everything right. I mean, of course, we are talking about the people's money, so it makes perfect sense to follow certain rules. We have to do that. But sometimes we do that to an extent that it is not efficient anymore, and that's why it takes longer. So I would for sure vouch for more trust in german cities. We are not doing this for the sake of, I don't know, for ourselves. Right. We are doing it for the people. Everything that we buy, everything that every it system that we want to use, we're doing it for the people to speed up processes to make it easier. So why would we not do the right thing? Right. So have a bit more trust in your system would help us a lot. And of course, financing, I mean, german, german cities in general do not have the financing that they need across the board. It doesn't matter who you talk to, from Berlin to the smallest place. And that would be something that would help a lot, because we spend a lot of time just to make sure that every penny gets looked at three, four or five times. And we always have to work with funding. And funding also takes a lot of time. I have to write proposals, then I get a ton of questions that we have to answer. Then eventually I might get the money. Then I have a ton of rules that I have to follow so I don't have to give it back. Then I have followed all these rules, then I have to tell whoever gave me the money that I spend it in the right way. And this entire process, I mean, there's so many people on all sides of this process that only work on how we put our funding from A to B to C. That I would love to see a study that just tells us how much it costs to just give funding to the state, the cities in Germany, and how many resources we actually use just to put money from A to B. I think that will be. People will be very surprised in how much staff and hours we put into this. So, yeah, I think we have to take it down a notch. Funding is a nice thing to do. Procurement law is also right, but we are over regulated and this is going to be hard. It's going to be hard to change, but we have to do it. [00:37:40] Tamlyn Shimizu: Yeah, really good words there. I unfortunately have to move on from the main interview part, but the fortunate part is that I now get to move on to one of our fun segments that we get to play a little game. And this segment is called roll with the punches. Roll with the punches. Answer this or that questions quickly and with your first instincts. So I will basically roll through questions and you just answer. Answer and we go fast through it. And then at the end, if you want to explain any of your answers, you can. [00:38:24] Philipp Rottwilm: Sounds good. [00:38:24] Tamlyn Shimizu: Sounds good. [00:38:25] Philipp Rottwilm: So I have a chance to make up for it if I go wrong. [00:38:30] Tamlyn Shimizu: Yeah, exactly. You can explain yourself. Right. Because they're tricky questions, some of them right. It's hard to decide. Are you ready? [00:38:39] Philipp Rottwilm: I am always ready. [00:38:41] Tamlyn Shimizu: Okay. Beer garden or coffee house? [00:38:44] Philipp Rottwilm: Beer garden. [00:38:46] Tamlyn Shimizu: Notetaking. On paper or digitally? [00:38:49] Philipp Rottwilm: Digitally, for sure. [00:38:51] Tamlyn Shimizu: Traditional tendering or innovation partnerships? [00:38:55] Philipp Rottwilm: Innovation partnerships. [00:38:58] Tamlyn Shimizu: Sustainability or economic growth? [00:39:04] Philipp Rottwilm: You need both, but I guess. Sustainability. Sustainable growth. [00:39:12] Tamlyn Shimizu: He found a loophole. Fixed requirements or flexible outcomes? [00:39:20] Philipp Rottwilm: Flexible outcomes. [00:39:23] Tamlyn Shimizu: Public transport or bikes? [00:39:26] Philipp Rottwilm: Bikes. [00:39:29] Tamlyn Shimizu: Local startups or international companies? [00:39:33] Philipp Rottwilm: Local startups. [00:39:36] Tamlyn Shimizu: Investment in infrastructure or human capital? [00:39:41] Philipp Rottwilm: Human capital. But you still need both. [00:39:46] Tamlyn Shimizu: Creative bureaucracy or sustainable governance? [00:39:52] Philipp Rottwilm: Creative bureaucracy. [00:39:55] Tamlyn Shimizu: Yeah. Okay. Do you want to explain any of your answers also? You had a little bit of a loophole, and one, but I allow it. It's okay. [00:40:05] Philipp Rottwilm: Yeah, the last ones were not so easy, I have to admit, because often you need both. I think we need to find ways in actually having sustainable growth so that it might have been a loophole. But I think this is a challenge that we have to address also to make sure that we stay together as a society as a whole. I wouldn't play A against B. We need both and we have to find ways to make that work. [00:40:38] Tamlyn Shimizu: Absolutely. [00:40:39] Philipp Rottwilm: That's a challenge. That's a challenge. But, yeah, I guess, yeah, it makes sense. [00:40:47] Tamlyn Shimizu: It's meant to be that way. Right. But I 100% agree with sustainability and economic growth, we really have to marry them. So, yeah, I allow it. [00:41:00] Philipp Rottwilm: Same for infrastructure. I think we talked about the countryside in the beginning of the podcast a little bit, and I said 60% of the Germans live in the countryside. I think there's a lot to get from this, right? I mean, we have big issues in urban areas, not enough space, not enough housing, and we need to build good infrastructure in the entire country and in the entire EU, and make no difference between urban and, let's say, more rural areas. I think that is a big upside for us that we can still use. And I mean, I already said that during COVID a lot has changed. People realize that life in the countryside is actually quite good, especially during a pandemic. You have a garden, you can run around. Having three kids in a two bedroom apartment is not a nice thing in a pandemic. And I think a lot of people, I mean, we see that, too. A lot of young families moved back in the last couple of years, but we still need to think about infrastructure across the country, too. [00:42:22] Tamlyn Shimizu: Absolutely. [00:42:22] Philipp Rottwilm: So it's hard to say AOB in that case, I guess. [00:42:26] Tamlyn Shimizu: Yeah, exactly. I have one last question for you, and it's the question we ask every single guest that comes onto this podcast, and it's really interesting to hear all the different perspectives. And the question is to you, what is a smart city? [00:42:44] Philipp Rottwilm: A smart city for me is a city that develops digitally, for sure. I mean, I said what we do in a smart region, for me, a smart region. A smart city is a place that tries to use digital tools to make the world for our citizens better. I think those are the three things that we always try to do. We have to finance stuff in the long run. We have to find projects that are needed by our citizens. And we try to do this with digital tools, not just for the sake of being digital, but actually for making life a little bit better every day for our citizens. So a smart city does that by using smart tools and is hopefully driven by smart people. [00:43:49] Tamlyn Shimizu: Yeah, very good. Well put. And, yeah, I was hoping you would tie in with the smart region, because our definition has to expand right from smart city to smart town to smart region. It has to be all inclusive, I think, these days, of course, as well. So with that, that's all I have for you today. Thank you so much, Philip, for coming on. It's always a pleasure to talk to you, and it's always interesting to learn something new from you every time. So thank you so much. [00:44:14] Philipp Rottwilm: Thanks for having me. My pleasure. [00:44:17] Tamlyn Shimizu: And to all of our listeners. Don't forget, you can always create a free account on BABLE smartcities EU and you can find out more about smart city projects, solutions, implementations and more. Thank you very much. Thank you all for listening. I'll see you at the next stop on the journey to a better urban life.

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