What will be the biggest challenges for cities and mobility in the next years? And what are the opportunities? What about digital health – which developments can we expect in this field? In this interview, Mobility and Digital Health expert Karolina Korth answers all these fascinating questions.
Karolina Korth is a trained psychologist with passion for innovation and over 10 years of experience in digital transformation and corporate innovation in multinationals in the sector of healthcare and mobility.
Currently, she works as a Chief Digital Officer and Head of Strategy at Siemens Mobility in Spain where she defines and implements digital offerings on the cutting edge of mobility.
Karolina is also a founder of Health 2.0 Kuala Lumpur and the FeMale Voice of Mobility – a movement to empower women in male dominated industries.
She speaks regularly at conferences targeting digital transformation and gives lectures at business schools and universities.
Next Level Transport Infrastructure
In your opinion, Karolina, what will be the biggest challenges for cities and mobility in the next ten years?
In an increasingly urbanized world, ensuring efficient transportation is a key challenge for both cities and mobility providers. People today expect and need solutions that make their daily mobility simpler, more flexible, faster, more reliable and affordable. Cities and national economies, on the other hand, face the challenge of reducing the costs, space requirements, noise and CO2 emissions of transportation.
The pressure on mobility providers and policymakers to meet these mobility and transportation needs is high and growing – by 2050 the urban population is expected to exceed 70%. In the face of these rising demands, the transport industry is now seeking solutions that will take existing transport infrastructure to the next level.
This problem can only be solved if more citizen will decide to leave their car behind and opt for public transport. But this shift will only be possible if the public transport offers the same level of convenience and freedom.
And what will be the most promising and sustainable solutions for mobility of the future?
Digitalization can unlock the full potential of urban infrastructure to increase efficiency and sustainability, reduce operating costs and improve safety and resilience.
Connected vehicles sending data in real-time, infrastructure systems transmitting their status to IoT platform and road users who are connected with their smartphones all produce an immense amount of data. This rich and growing source of data is enabling new types of services of mobility like Mobility-as-a-Service (MaaS). MaaS proposes a novel transport paradigm by providing travelers with easy access to a range of transport alternatives, which are packaged according to personal preferences and can be paid based on actual use. It provides details on alternative travel combinations in a transparent manner and allows travelers to pay for services in a hassle-free fashion, either per use or based on subscription plan, in essentially the same way we pay our smartphone bills.
Preparation for rapid changes
What do these developments mean for leadership? Do you think that managers must change? And how?
All of the jobs we know are changing and many will disappear, so managers become leaders to prepare organizations for rapid changes. To ensure success, managers need to re-think their views about the end users as well as the industry at large. With changing consumer needs and rising competition, managers need to be very open minded to internal and external innovation to ensure competitive advantage over both short and long terms. Gone are the days when traditional business knowledge was enough to build a strong brand name and to capture market share. Today’s businesses move much faster and all complex problems require building an ecosystem so leaders need to stay on their toes, be curious, open to collaborate and willing to prepare their teams for job that do not exist yet.
Tailormade Solutions in Digital Health
We must point out that you are an expert in digital health and behavioral change as well. What do you expect in this field for the coming years?
I always say “We need solutions that are tailored to patients. Ultimately, those will win.” Patients will decide. Many chronic conditions require behavioral change and so far many methods we are using are following the rule: “One size fits all”. Digitalization will allow better personalization of interventions based on patient data.
Digitalization will also increase access to doctors. Nowadays, patients suffering from chronic diseases get around an hour with their doctors in a year. Rest of the time, unfortunately, they are on their own. Telemedicine may solve the problem and increase patients’ adherence.
And last but not least, digitalization will allow doctors to meet better clinical decisions.
Women Empowerment in the Mobility Sector
You are initiater and ambassador of the initiative FeMale Voice in Mobility. What are your goals and how do you help to women empowerment?
Although women are main users of public transport, the sector remains a male-dominated industry. Across the sector, women share in mobility sector worldwide is 19% and the gender wage gap in mobility sector worldwide is 39%. In the case of Siemens Mobility Spain, less than 25% of the employees are female. And I believe that we cannot afford not to use part of the talent available on the market and we also cannot be truly passenger centric if we do not have female making decision about product design etc.
In order to increase the voice of women in the sector together with a few colleagues we launched an initiative FeMale Voice in Mobility with the objectives to raise awareness, promote the sector among students and support women working in the sector.
We have already celebrated several internal and external activities such as round tables, networking events for discussion and best practices exchange etc. and in all of them we are working on this topic hand in hand with other companies from our industry.