The Quadruple Helix in Action: How Intel and Its Partners Are Creating More Sustainable Cities

Rick Wartzman
Rick Wartzman

In his latest column for Forbes online, Drucker Institute Executive Director Rick Wartzman writes about an effort by the chip maker Intel and a group of other organizations in Europe to create more sustainable cities.

“The initiative centers on deploying ambient sensors—augmented by the mobile technology that most people now carry around in their pockets—to collect a constant stream of data that, in turn, can help prevent danger and otherwise improve life in an urban area,” Wartzman explains.

“For example, the information that is captured might instantly alert city officials to a flooded street and, in real time, redirect app-equipped commuters and joggers away from the trouble. Longer term, planners should be able to use this incessant flow of facts and figures to pinpoint—and more effectively counteract—pockets of pollution in different neighborhoods and energy waste in specific buildings.”

Wartzman says that the technology being introduced “is impressive.” But even more notable, he adds, “is the way that different institutions from industry, government and academia have come together to realize a shared vision” while, at the same time, engaging the general public directly in this important work. Some call this kind of collaboration the Quadruple Helix.

In all of this, Wartzman says, Intel and its partners—Trinity College Dublin, Imperial College London and University College London, as well as the mayor’s offices and various agencies in the two cities—are taking a page from Peter Drucker.

Leaders must accept that “they are responsible and accountable for the performance of their institutions, and that requires them and their institutions to be concentrated, focused, limited,” Drucker wrote. “They are responsible also, however, for the community as a whole. This . . . requires commitment, conviction, dedication to the common good.”