Interview − 14 Jun 2023
Alan Whiteside, Innovation Consultant at StonnInnovation Ltd., talks about his expertise and his point of view on dRural as Advisory Board member
What is your field of expertise?
AW: I look at opportunities for technology to support sustainable rural communities; my background is in healthcare and I live and work in the Highlands and Islands of Scotland. Many of the issues and opportunities in rural communities are cross-sectoral and I bring together key stakeholders to co-design shared solutions.
Enabling technologies are the key to delivering sustainable development goals and creating the infrastructure to deliver remote access to education also creates a platform to improve healthcare, clean our energy, create sustainable economic growth, address environmental impact, etc.
Developing place-based cross-sectoral collaborations that address local issues and opportunities creates products, services and knowledge that has a market in other rural communities with similar circumstances.
How could your experience contribute to the project’s success?
AW: I focus on the societal, environmental and economic impact from introducing innovations and can help improve outcomes by better understanding interdependencies and how a system of systems’ approach can benefit multiple key rural sectors.
How do you think dRural can contribute to creating and developing smart communities in rural areas?
AW: In my experience, innovation designed for urban regions often fails to meet rural requirements. Transparency within and between rural areas supports the digital adoption of solutions that address local priorities. Integrating these solutions and objectively measuring their impact supports sustainable smart rural areas with products, services and knowledge that meets both rural and urban demands.