Technology journalism legend stresses the importance of the business case

The latest Highways Voices podcast from Highways News hears a stark warning for the transport technology industry to always remember that behind every great idea, there must be a solid business case.

Legendary Tomorrow’s World presenter Michael Rodd features in this week’s podcast saying that inventors of clever technology must “actually go through the whole process of market analysis of working out whether something was… meeting a need that was sellable to the rest of the world.”

Rodd presented new ideas to the nation for ten years before starting one of the first independent TV production houses that he still owns today. The Highways Voices interview is highlights of a chat he had with the Transport Technology Forum, and features several of its key members.

Andy Graham of White Willow Consulting supported Rodd’s take on the business case adding, “I want to play back what you just said to everyone who I know who develops a new piece of kit and I say, well, what’s the business case for this? What are the benefits? Why would people buy it, particularly if they’re a local authority that doesn’t have much resources, particularly if they’re a driver of an older car hasn’t got much money?”

The fascinating interview includes memories from Rodd about a variety of things he covered on Tomorrow’s World including an in-car navigation system from 1971, the first portable ticket machine on trains, a driverless vehicle and magnetic levitation, plus making the first televised mobile phone call and reporting on the financial viability of Concorde.

But it’s his message to the industry that resonates 50 years after he started on the show where he warns against silos, vested interests and particular prejudices.

“We’re locked in to the way our minds work,” he says, “And I do think in in almost all areas of life, that is a major issue that if we’re really going to move forward, we’ve got to take more seriously.”

The podcast features clips of an in-car navigation unit and Michael testing a driverless vehicle in France. Click on the links to watch the full clips.


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