Hi, it’s Ross Waugh here from inframanage.com and today I’m just bringing you a video of a presentation I made back in early July 2016 at the International Deighton User Conference in Toronto, Canada.
I went up to that conference because of the relationship between Deighton and IDS here in New Zealand, which if you’d look at the IDS videos on the site, you’ll know about the depth of that relationship is 18 years.
And because I was going up there, they asked me to do a keynote. So, I prepared an hour-long keynote for the conference, based on a North American audience, and so the illustrations in this keynote that we can see today will revolve around North American practice and North American issues.
But I think they’re equally relevant to asset managers and the rest of the world. Hence the desire to record this for you back here in New Zealand in early August 2016 and to present it to you.
So, this is an hour-long keynote from the 2016 International Deighton User Conference in Canada. And it was entitled, “Myths, Realities, and Money.”
It’s basically in three parts and it deals with:
- The first part, societal myths and the impact that they have on Infrastructure within the North American context.
- Realities of long-term infrastructure management. Dealing with some lifecycle management and then the structure of infrastructure asset management.
- And then finally the availability of money and the willingness to pay for infrastructure.
Examining societal myths and the Gap Minder Ignorance Study
So, we’ll start with societal myths. And examining the societal myths of our politicians, and also what we tell ourselves and the impact this has on infrastructure management.
So, we’re going to start this examination of societal myths by looking at the Gap Minder Ignorance Study. This is a study that has been developed by Hans Rosling of gapminder.org and the reference is on the slide.
And he’s a professor of public health in Sweden and he’s done a lot of TED talks. If you go, put “Hans Rosling” into TED, you’ll pick him up, some very interesting talks about the progression of public health worldwide.
And what he’s found out, and the team that he works with, over a number of years is that people are actually quite ignorant of the changes that had gone on in global public health over the last 20- 30 years.
And so they set out to try and find out why. And if you go into that web link, there’s a 20-minute TED talk on that in a lot more detail. I encourage you to go and have look at that.
But essentially it came down to three things as shown on the slide.
- The first is that our own experience is not representative (i.e. We have a personal bias based on where we’ve been born, how we’ve been raised, what culture we’ve been raised in)
- Secondly, the facts that were taught at school are quite outdated and teachers bring both outdated facts into their own personal bias to things as well. So, we have our own personal bias, we’re taught outdated facts through our education.
- And thirdly, our news and media organizations have a biased as well.
And so at the end of the day, that ends up providing skewed information and intuition that gives us the upside-down view of the world.
Amplifying Outdated Facts and Biases
The second picture on the slide is the fellow with the megaphone because the other thing that’s happened is that, the internet over the last decade or so is used to amplify outdated facts and bias and so there’s a lot of shouting goes on and on the internet and that can reinforce the wrong information.
And so, the thing is that from these studies that Hans Rosling and the Gap Minder Organization have done, we can know with some certainty that people are ignorant about a lot of facts.
And that ignorance can have a 20 or 30-year lag and at the end of the day, that lag can influence our public and our political decision-making, and that in turn as infrastructure asset management professionals, will skew or influence the public decision-making about infrastructure and how it’s financed, then how much money is available to finance it.