Smart Oxford…not forgetting the ‘shire’ of course

Where does change actually begin…? Who creates change…? What cements change so that it actually changes something…?

The answer is really simple – just one word: PEOPLE.

It was a gathering of both inspirational and diverse change-makers at Unipart this week. An apt venue given the enormous change their business model has successfully achieved across the last two decades. We met to begin a conversation about the potential of creating something to make Oxford even more special – “Smart Oxford”.

It wasn’t something that was actually mentioned out loud, but I am pretty sure that most would agree that if there is anywhere that could make this happen – not just happen but in an extraordinary way – then surely it is Oxford. Let’s face it Oxford has few rivals at helping to create those that might be called beyond Smart.

There were a number of very impressive presentations giving examples of Smart stuff occurring right now in cities across the planet – some of which I had come across before at the world summit of It was, for me personally, extremely exciting. I have never doubted that Albert Einstein was right when he said:

“I know of two things that are infinite: the Universe and human stupidity – but I am not sure about the Universe”

But I have always believed we would wake up from sleep walking our way over the precipice just in time. What I was seeing before me was clear evidence. Better still right here in Oxford.

However, of course we are an incredibly rural county. At CBL we have built our Smart Buying phenomenon on that very fact – initially bringing energy security to off-gas communities by launching Smart OIL. This is the critical point to grasp: if we are to pull this off then it has to be inclusive, it must make a stand for every one of us that lives, works, plays, learns and also visits right across the ‘shire’.

It is simple remember: PEOPLE.

Find the commonality that will bring that entire group together and, I speak from personal experience here, the power of that group will ensure that Oxford and its shire can go Smart and – very probably – way beyond too.