Using creativity and technology to tackle the problems of tomorrow
WHILE SEAN McClowry considers himself more of a technologist than creative, he taps into creativity as a means of tackling complex problems. Throughout his time at Deloitte, Sean has always found creativity powerful when it comes to telling a story.
Observing that work on digital scenarios and climate change could often be difficult to understand, Sean saw an opportunity to use creative storytelling as a crucial point of difference. Working with storytelling guru, Matt Lawson, Sean’s team came up with a brand and concept of Optimal Reality — a brainchild of creative and technical experts at Deloitte.
In conversation with Sean, we discover the journey of bringing together left and right brains to make a positive impact. Optimal Reality can shape a vision for a truly connected, smart city through simulation modelling and cloud computing.
Think of a platform that creates a digital replica or ‘twin’ of something, such as a transport network or energy system. It works by combining historic, simulated and real-time data to paint a picture (or twin) of different scenarios. In the case of Optimal Reality, the focus might be on reducing transport congestion or trialling scenarios to increase energy efficiency. Optimal Reality can shape a vision for a truly connected, smart city through simulation modelling and cloud computing. It’s a proactive approach for shaping trialled and tested solutions for tomorrow’s challenges.
Creativity arising from collaboration
A creative mindset is unleashed when interdisciplinary teams collaborate. This has been Sean’s mandate since working with digital twins and developing Optimal Reality. The work his team did for Air Services Australia was a digital transformation program and involved teams from Strategy, Analytics, AI and Experience Design. With such a diverse range of capabilities, Sean became passionate about how the team could apply their previous work to climate-based problems and in particular, focus on the development of smarter cities.
“We see issues in transport as a network-based problem of interdependant pieces and this is similar to energy networks.
For example, moving a power station network to a system powered by renewables.”
The team have thought outside the box, looking at how they could solve problems around climate change and in particular, working out how to decarbonise a transportation network by introducing more electric vehicles onto the grid. The crux of this approach is about testing the technical limitations of the Optimal Reality platform whilst creatively exploring opportunities for user interfaces and simplifying the complex scenarios that go with such an endeavour — a truly collaborative process that demands purposeful creativity in spades to tackle complex scenarios.
This type of work comes at a crucial time within the context of Deloitte’s commitment to addressing climate change. As a result, the Optimal Reality team are generating a lot of interest on their approach from across other member firms and as well as several technology partners.
In Sean’s words, purposeful creativity means having a real and lasting impact “it’s about creating a legacy…something you would be proud of for a long period of time.” He imagines this as something you would look back at in years, or decades, to say this “had a positive impact and the world has been left in a better place.”
Sean McClowry is a partner in Deloitte Digital and is taking a leadership role on Sustainability and Climate offerings for Consulting. Sean leads work in the area of Digital Twins and Simulation, driving work around Deloitte’s Optimal Reality solution – a Digital Twin platform focused on the future of mobility, energy and smart cities, bringing Formula 1 technology to solve client issues. Sean also focuses on climate-led Transformation, helping clients leverage new technologies and evolving customer, employee and business practices to take a holistic approach to taking action on climate change. Prior to joining Deloitte, Sean was the Chief Digital Officer and CIO at the Global CCS Institute. In his role at the Institute, Sean developed information exchange platforms for solutions to climate change. Sean has also founded ventures around sustainability standards and climate solutions for emerging economies.