Traditionally, the infrastructure industry has been slow to capitalise on digital innovations. With global megatrends like urbanisation and population growth, climate change and digitisation the time is ripe for infrastructure issues to be disrupted by digital ideas.
Last year, Global Infrastructure Hub launched InfraChallenge and invited applicants from around the world and across sectors to pitch big ideas to drive digital transformation in infrastructure and solve economic or social infrastructure issues. The impressive number of applications we received from over 30 countries demonstrated a passion to innovate, disrupt and transform infrastructure. After closely reviewing all the applications, the Top 20 were selected by GI Hub in April 2020. These 20 teams were then matched with an innovation or infrastructure expert and received eight weeks of mentoring and support to help further develop their entries and pitch for a place in the Top 10.
Next week our Top 10 finalists will pitch live at the InfraChallenge Final for the top spot. In the lead up to the Finals we asked the teams a few questions to find out what makes them tick, key learnings from their start-up journey and what drives them. This is Part Two of the interviews, you can view Part One here.
What is your proudest impact through your innovation to date?
"Infradinamica is a successful project management tool in the La Paz-El Alto interurban highway construction project, one of the most significant new transportation projects in Bolivia. Our tool was chosen as the means to coordinate changes in the design, ensuring a technically high-level of supervision and establishing close monitoring of progress. The construction project was inaugurated in 2019 and use of the new platform in the successful construction project has assisted the project to achieve its goals."
"Our BiomWeb system installed in an informal settlement in the Bekaa Valley in Lebanon brings sustainable waste water processing and provides a reusable source of water to one the region’s most marginalized communities."
Track Your Build
"The use of our drone surveying and analytics capacity to respond to a humanitarian disaster. In 2017 we supported the Government of Sierra Leone and the United Nations in responding to a landslide in Sierra Leone which devastated over 500 homes in a five kilometre urban corridor in the capital city. Our drones were used to map and monitor the immediate impact of the crisis and critical infrastructure affected in order for the Government and other stakeholders to develop reconstruction plans."
What drives you?
"Continuous learning and development, improving the way infrastructure is procured, delivered and managed and enhancing the value to society."
"Through BiomWeb, our team is changing the master plan of how water is used in future human cities, towns and villages. Currently over 90% of the world’s wastewater is not treated. Our blue-sky vision is that we can secure long-term, sustainable access to water and sanitation for the majority of the world’s population. BiomWeb is our contribution!"
Track Your Build
"The belief that better infrastructure will be the catalyst to solving Africa's problems in healthcare, education, and economic growth. We are determined to develop reliable data products that can support the industry and drive more sophisticated finance to invest in African infrastructure in a way that was not as prevalent before due to a lack of transparency in projects."
If you had the ability to do it again what would you do differently?
"One of the main functionalities of Infradinamica is to monitor remote projects without risking the health of project workers. This has been extremely useful during the COVID-19 pandemic to keep public infrastructure construction going, allowing work and economic reactivation that our countries need so much. What we would've done differently is to have spread Infradinamica's use faster into all countries so they can benefit from this tool also."
"Of course, we have made mistakes throughout our company journey. However, these mistakes have taught us immensely - they are part of our identity and have driven us to grow into the company we are today. Nevertheless, despite our remarkable innovation path, looking back we could have leveraged our work even more in two ways. First, we could have benefited from a long-term vision around applying innovation to commercial products in a more profitable way, positioning Safity as a trailblazer and secondly, we would have established a closer and more collaborative relationship with academia."
What attracted you to apply for InfraChallenge?
"InfraChallenge presents a unique opportunity to showcase Tybolt's revolutionary approach to PPP management to a much wider audience. The feedback and exposure generated already through the process, particularly our mentor Patrick, has been invaluable. Of course the opportunity to present our product to the judges will provide even more opportunity to hone our proposition and sharpen up our pitching skills."
"Global Infrastructure Hub's mission is “Driving sustainable, resilient and inclusive infrastructure”. It became immediately clear that Safity's mission is totally aligned with this statement, with our products being applied to municipal and private infrastructures that serve people through improved quality of life. InfraChallenge offers the winner a direct link to G20 policymakers, influential people and organisations that can help us reach decision makers and new markets. The participation of MIT Solve in the initiative was also an attraction as it provides a unique opportunity to build our relationships within the academic world."
Register for the InfraChallenge Final here
Read Part One here