Blog post 6

Does your work require IRB approvals? If Yes, articulate your detailed IRB strategy. If No, explain why you don’t need IRB approval and identify situations when you might need IRB approval.

We do not believe that we will need IRB approval because we do not have the intent to use human subjects in our research. Our goal is to create a smart innovation for the city of Almaty that will enhance citizen’s lives, which could potentially be used in other cities after that. Our work, therefore, qualifies as research according to the IRB because we will be collecting data, and hopefully adding to generalizable knowledge by publishing our work and making presentations. However, we do not intend to manipulate people in any way or use people to gather specific data in a type of experiment. Because our plan, as of now, is to focus on something along the lines of the environment, infrastructure, heating, or transportation, the data we will be looking at is mostly on how machines or products or the system works. Not so much on people. 

We will, at some point, be talking to people in Kazakhstan, and citizens of Almaty and collect their data and feedback to study how it was perceived and how we can improve our solution to better fit the culture and environment in Almaty, so we will need IRB approval because we would be using human subjects. Also, if we changed our project idea, and needed to start collecting private information from the citizens of Almaty, then we would need an IRB approval. 

Develop an outline for your mid-semester presentations. What supporting evidence will you provide for each point? How will you boost your credibility every step of the way?

For our mid-semester presentations, we will start by explaining that Kazakhstan is a very resource-rich country and is very developed. Their cities have been growing significantly over the years. In order to make the cities the most efficient they can be, smart city innovations should be developed to help fix infrastructural, environmental, or overcrowding issues. Coming up with a smart innovation that will effectively work in Almaty, will help make the city more efficient and hopefully be able to be cleverly translated to other cities in Kazakhstan, or even around the world. Our goal is to develop a device that improves life in Almaty but can also be generally applied to other cities around the world that are experiencing this surge of growth. The innovation will also be able to improve each citizen’s lives too. The magnitude of which we will not be able to determine until we decide on the exact innovation that will work. 

We will then explain all the research we have done on smart, digital, urban, and in use innovations on parking, pollution, short term travelers, and quality of life. We will describe, with specifics, how certain innovations have been successful in other countries, and how we see that something similar might work in Almaty. If we have been able to get our article published on Engineering for Change by this time, then we will make sure to mention that in our presentation at this point. The importance of the Engineering for Change article is to establish a brand for our project. We want to educate people about the significant roles that small but impactful smart innovations can have on developing cities and countries. 

We will continue by explaining that our project is new, so our goal as of now is to work with our partners in KazNU and AlmaU (name drop), the two major universities in Kazakhstan to figure out potential issues in Almaty that can be improved. We will work with them via Skype calls, and email/texts, to build our relationship and understanding of the city. The use of partners currently in Almaty brings credibility that our project is focussing on social and cultural integration as well as acceptance. At the end of the day, our product is made for the people of Almaty.

Once we understand the issues, we will begin to brainstorm solutions and potential innovations that could work and present them to the panel, making sure they understand that we have not decided on one solution, but will decide on one before the semester ends and work on a prototype during the summer.

When we travel to Almaty, we will use that time to test our solutions and receive feedback from the public and explore other prevalent issues in the city, expanding our scope of solutions. This time will also be great to make strong connections with the community there and our partners, to further understand each other and make our expectations clear. 

All in all, our presentation will show the process in which we took to research the contemporary smart city solutions with their potential benefits and drawbacks and our plan moving forward. We will also analyze the potential benefits our posed solutions would have, how will each of them improve life in Almaty, and the applicability of each one not only to cities in Almaty but to the world.

Our credibility will be established by the rigidity of the sources and research we will present and the fact that we are partnering with the only three universities in Kazakhstan to try and reach a solution that will actually make a difference and be practical in that environment. We will also be sure to get as much feedback as possible from the communities to understand where our solution is best applied.

Bishoy Youhana

One thought on “Blog post 6

  1. I like the overall structure of your presentation – especially with how you go from examples to how you will apply those in Almaty to how that can scale up. At the beginning, I would be sure that you describe the problem before mentioning smart cities. Rather than “In order to make the cities the most efficient they can be, smart city innovations should be developed to help fix infrastructural, environmental, or overcrowding issues” I would say something like “Almaty is resource rich and developing rapidly. This may seem to only bring good outcomes, however, it has also resulted in infrastructure, environmental, and overcrowding issues (elaborate on how these impact people). Smart cities solutions are a way of resolving these issues and improving city efficiency by … etc. etc.” Other than that though, you are doing a good job of establishing credibility through the presentation you have outlined.

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