Expert Advisory Board Interview – Dr. Barbara Holtmann
What do you hope to bring to the IcARUS project?
Dr Barbara Holtmann, Director of Fixed Africa and member of the Expert Advisory Board: I feel very privileged to be a part of the IcARUS project. Too often we are stuck with terms of reference that require us to replicate interventions and programmes that have delivered evidence, regardless of how sustainable or replicable they might be. Innovation is essential to making cities safer and that requires courage. This project has courage embedded in its DNA and I believe that I can offer both insight into innovative practices and support the analysis of findings that allow for greater creativity and possibility. I am a natural collaborator and I am deeply curious - I hope this means I can help dig deeper and enable inclusive design and management of promising practices.
What do you expect to take away from the project?
The thing I love most about my job is that it offers new and different exposures and experiences - with new challenges. To have the time and space to get to know practitioners, to better understand some of the challenges and to learn together new ways to overcome them, or in some cases, how best to live with confounding variables and intractability is something that excites and motivates me. I hope I will come away with new friends and colleagues, new ideas and a whole load of new learning.
In your opinion, what is the most innovative aspect of the IcARUS project?
Being open to innovation is as innovative as a project can be and it seems to me that this is its core characteristic. The project design expects real value at so many different levels and from so many different sources. Its duration also responds to a reality that is often missed; change takes time and there has to be space to err and amend and shift and regroup. It is rare to be involved in a project where these things are acknowledged.
How can the expected outputs of the project be impactful?
The outputs of the project will provide cities, policy makers and practitioners with new tools. There is an openness to the project that offers wide inclusion in what is found, done and delivered. It is only through this kind of approach that real systemic change can be made. The layers of consultation and collaboration will encourage widespread uptake of lessons and tools and it is in this spirit that real learning occurs.
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