Competition & Service

The lack of mobility is the biggest roadblock to opportunity and basic human rights.  Whether it is access to a job, education, medical care, or quality food, mobility is vital to realizing opportunities, lifting people out of poverty, and helping solving the climate crisis. 

Solving access through mobility – on a global scale – is one of the most daunting and exciting challenges facing us as sustainability leaders.  Not only is it the right thing to do, but it is an amazing market opportunity for job growth – as it is estimated to be a market worth approximately $500 billion.

This is why I’m excited to talk one-on-one with Bill Ford at #SB17Detroit on Monday.  We will discuss his views on the Human Impact of MobilityBill Ford talked about environmentalism, sustainability and mobility well before those were buzzwords, and is able to see around corners in order to take calculated risks – as he has for decades.  He is pushing the envelope and his leadership is leading Ford to experiment, learn, and adapt to solve global challenges.

As I prepared for this conversation at #SB17Detroit, I sat down to list the things that I have in common with Bill Ford: 

  • Our Great Grandfathers were entrepreneurs, though his was slightly more famous,
  • We both have pretty well-known Detroit-area last names, though I pronounce mine correctly (Sorry, Mayor Duggan!),
  • We share a belief that mobility has the potential to address societal problems, &
  • We understand that competition can go hand-in-hand with service.

A highly competitive environment – such as new mobility – can still be a collaborative space.  And service requires that we all take risks and work together, even when we’re daily adversaries, if we are to succeed in facing these global challenges of humanity, equity and climate change.
Collaboration is hard work and change is scary.  But the failure to act is inexcusable, especially when it comes to dealing with climate change and addressing social inequities.  We, the people – and the planet – do not have time for the fear of failure or the failure to act.  There is simply too much at stake, especially now in this political environment. 

After nearly seven years in federal service, I am happy to partner with former Obama Administration officials to launch the Smart Cities Lab, which is fundamentally about collaboration to enable access to opportunity.  Our view is that collaboration among cities, and working with forward-thinking people like Bill Ford, will lead to better serving the people of our cities.  And, we’re starting with Detroit. 

Please join us on Monday as we discuss the keys to unlocking mobility as a human rights and market opportunity at #SB17Detroit. 

The Sustainable Brands SB’17 Detroit is coming on May 22, with the theme of “Redefining the Good Life.” Kerry Duggan has served as deputy director for policy to Vice President Joe Biden and as deputy director of the White House’s Detroit Federal Working Group, and she founded the boutique consulting firm SustainabiliD. She has been working with the Sustainable Brands team to navigate Detroit and make connections between companies coming to the conference and potential Detroit partners.

Kerry Duggan
May 21, 2017

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