No Coin and Idea Coin to encourage knowledge flow and innovation?

I guess it’s to do with my personality: I love many old things, old books, old buildings etc. Take music for an example, I love Chinese classic music and old folk songs and Beetles for western music. My wife used to joke that I am actually 70 years old (I am only 45 this year!). Fashion of course has nothing to do with me: I barely know any fashion brands. Many Chinese consumer have a love affair with the ABCD brands in the UK. I only know B represents Burberry (have I got the spelling right?) but not the rest. So when a hot topic such as Blockchain reached my ears, as usual I am quite suspicious. I am suspicious because of a seemingly too rosy picture it offers (or potentials suggested by the experts): it represents a world of real democracy, open but free from disruptions such as hacker attacks.

 

Suspicions aside, it is also useful to think about what Blockchain can offer in different fields so that old people like me wont’ be accused of blocking technological development. Well, has Blockchain anything to do with academic researchers like me who are interested in international business and innovation? The answer is perhaps likely to be ‘yes’.

 

One of the areas that I am interested in is knowledge transfer in a cross-cultural context. I have been following a case of Chinese acquisition in the UK for a few years. One of the biggest hurdles to knowledge transfer between the British subsidiary and the Chinese parent firm is indeed cultural difference between the two sides: British employees are willing to express their views and feelings even to their superiors whilst the Chinese employees are not. Blockchain, as a type of distributed ledger without a central administrator, may therefore facilitate knowledge transfer in this context so that, for example, the Chinese will be freer to express their views and ideas. Perhaps, we can indeed develop a NO coin to encourage the Chinese to speak out different views or to say no to unreasonable orders from managers. We may also come up with an IDEA coin to encourage new ideas from employees in order to facilitate knowledge exchange and innovation.

REDUCTION OF WATER FOOTPRINT IN THE LEATHER PROCESSING PLANTS IN SOUTH AFRICA

[this project is one of the feeder attribute components of the crade-to-grave blockchain for leather provenance]

Water scarcity
Water is one of the most important natural resources on earth. About 71% of the Earth’s surface is occupied by water and only 29% consists of continents and islands. With 71% of the water on earth, only 3.5% is frozen water locked up in the polar ice caps and freshwater lakes. The remaining 96.5% of all the water on Earth is salty seawater (Williams and Williams). Water is becoming, even more, scares and it will soon become a commodity resource.

Source: UN: FAOWATER, Water Scarcity, July 2009

‘Water for Life Decade’ campaign of the United Nations (UN), has made it clear that every continent is already affected by water scarcity. Around 1.2 billion people live in a shortage of water and are faced with economic water shortage because other countries lack the necessary infrastructure to access the water from rivers and aquifers.

Water use in the Leather industry
In most cases, industries including tanneries require clean water to carry out their manufacturing processes. Leather making processes involve huge quantities of water, especially in the beamhouse steps. The Leather Working Group (LWG) is also aware of the water consumption in the leather industry, it designates that efficient tanneries consume about 127 liters of water whereas inefficient tanneries consume three times more than efficient tanneries, about 351 liters of water is consumed to produce 1 m2 of leather from raw to finished (LWG, 2010). This is a challenge that the leather industry is facing today; the industry consumes a lot of water and most of the water that is consumed ends up being polluted.

Source: ECOLOGIST, Photo: Danwatch, October 2012

There are a lot of things involved during leather making processes, in fact, wastewater from the leather industry is considered to have huge amounts of organic and inorganic substances and its purification is a crucial activity around the globe (THORSTEN & MARTIN, 1996). Typically, the beamhouse steps generate high amounts of toxic, hazardous, and non-benign substances to the environment like salt, sulfide used for unhairing during liming sub-process and ammonia during deliming step. Leather production result into removal of undesirable things from the pelt, like; hair or keratin, unwanted protein, fat and other things, most of these things are removed using heavy chemicals.
According to the mass balance of chemicals in the leather processing by the United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (UNIDO), most of the chemicals used in the leather making process does not end up in the final product. A total of 452 kg/ton of chemicals of wet salted hide is added in the process but only 72 kg/ton of chemicals end up in or on our desired product, meaning that 84% of chemicals ends up in the wastewater (Jakov & Ivan, 2015). If an effluent is not discharged accordingly, it ends up contaminating the freshwater and indeed contribute to greywater footprint.
Leather industry in South Africa
South Africa has approximately 20 tanneries of different sizes which are in different parts of the country. These tanneries process more than two million hides/skins per year, and they consume about 0.6 million m3 of water (Steffen, et al., 1989)
South Africa being a water-scares country, it is crucial to use water responsibly and in a sustainable manner. Therefore, it is also important to explore new or better technologies to reduce water footprint in the South African leather processing plants.
Aims and objectives
Aims
• The main aim is to conduct a literature review on the latest technologies and assess the viability of the technologies contain within that review.
• To point out possible and acceptable latest technologies that will help to reduce the water footprint in the South African leather processing plants.
• Assess the best technology preferred by the South African leather processing plants
Objectives
.
• Collect water footprint data of the sub-processes involved during leather making process from at least five South African tanneries.
• Collect available data of the South African leather industries from other sources like the department of trade and industry (the DTI), that works closely with all the South African tanneries.
• Prepare semi-quantitative questionnaires, question and answers session, and ask them in a structured way to score the best technologies that can be implemented in the South African leather processing plants.
• Promote the technology that will possibly reduce the water footprint within the South African leather industry based on collected data analysis.

Methodology
To collect data and evaluate the challenge that the South African leather processing plants are facing, an accessible and dynamic semi-quantitative questionnaire will be developed. The presentation about the available and practical technologies on the reduction of water footprint will be prepared and presented to the South African tanneries. The main aim of this presentation is to expose the latest technologies that are commercially available that the South African industries are not familiar with. These will also encourage them to share the latest technologies that they aware of and also be able to share their knowledge by assessing which technology is the best bases on different reasons that they might know of. Question and Answers sessions will also be performed in order to the information that will be useful for this research.
The questionnaires will be asked in a structured manner and they will be asked in a fixed question list.
I will then critique and Annalise the data collected based on the questionnaires and question and answers sessions and carry out my study on it.

Increase the efficiency of Traceability of hides and skins in India

[this project is one of the feeder attribute components of the crade-to-grave blockchain for leather provenance]

INTRODUCTION :

                                      Raw material is a prime concern of tanners in India. The tanning industry which supplies footwear, furniture, automotive, clothing etc are wholly dependent on their raw material on supply of cattle hides and sheep skins are vibrant to the tanning industry, they may just be the by-products of meat but it represents almost 50-60% of the cost of producing a piece of leather. When the hides and skins reaches consistent quality allowing tanners to get confidence on the material which can make a good leather and reach the market targets. Quality of a leather can be determined  by the quality of raw hides and skins. The value of the hide and skins depends upon the end use to which the leather goes , eventually reflects on what the tanner pays for the raw material. The quality of the hides and skins are highly related to the amount of damage on the grain or the other surface. Hides and skins have greater economic return than most agricultural products and by products . management practices should ensure that health of animal and reduce the likelihood of injuries that could damage the skins

    
DAMAGES AND DEFECTS ON HIDES AND SKINS :

                                    Damages and defects are caused in the place where animals live and during animal husbandry practices, farming, transportation, slaughtering            

                         There are more than 300 different types of damages and defects occur on raw material which is basically due to physical or mechanical damages and damages from disease

 

PREMORTEM DEFECTS
PHYSICAL AND MECHANICAL DAMAGES

                                    Physical and mechanical effects are often referred to as carelessness effects, because they are potentially avoidable or preventable mechanical damages seen in hides and skins. Sheep skin basically subjects to scratches due to thorny bushes and in cattle damages such as thorn scratches, branding, whiplash, horn gauge, harness or yoke marks, skin disease and ticks. Most noticeable defects on hides and sins are brand marks, scratches, scars and bruises which are caused by mechanical means. Defects as a result of the animal’s age, sex and the genetic makeup are intrinsic.

 

POSTMORTEM DEFECTS                       
 SLAUGHTER HOUSE DEFECTS OF HIDES AND SKINS :

                                      It comprises of inadequate bleeding , and also defects which are due to unnecessary use of knife which may lead to ripping of full flesh or damage to the grain of damage of skins by bacteria or enzymes and defects due to improper and inefficient preserving and transportation. They may also get damaged due to improper storing of the slaughtered skins.

 

 

                

 

Traceability is used as a tool,

To avoid or reduce these types of damages or defects on the hides and skin and also to access the sustainability of the whole leather chain  Before, during or After the tanning process. The improvement of authentication system is vital to the guaranteed traceability along the chain from the sourcing of raw material at the abattoir to their use when manufacturing a finished product.

 

 

 

OBJECTIVES & AIMS :

             The project is about what traceability can achieve in a leather industry in India

 

MAIN OBJECTIVES & AIMS :

           

To make a research on breeding farm and the diet followed by the animals and deeply enhancing  the defects or problems on the animals skin

 

Tagging of animals and  updating records

 

 Assorting has undergone in the breeding farm with respect to their sex , Health and  defects on the  skins and making reports on the animals

 

Research on how the animals are transported to the slaughter house and   the damages occur on the skin during the transportation

 

Execute stamping and labelling system in the slaughter house followed by  the tagging in  the breeder farms

 

Make a research on how the animals are slaughtered and  the damages occur on the animal skin during the slaughter period

 

Analyse the effect of defected hides and  skins on tanning, retaning, and finishing process

 

Analyse the effect of defected hides and  skins on machining operations

 

Critically analyzing the difficulties faced by the tanners to get quality raw material and maintain the consistency of the quality raw materials

 

Analyse the effect of  physical and chemical properties  on the defected skin 

 

examine the difference between the efficient traceability skins and the normal skins

 

Strengthen the communication and the cooperation among tanners, slaughterhouse, farmers as a mutual benefit

 

Qualitative And Quantitative Analysis of Hides and Skins

 

MATERIALS AND METHODS :

                       

METHODS TO PREVENT HIDES AND SKINS FROM DAMAGES AND DEFECTS :

 

Many as one quarter to one third of all hides and skins have various defects, where most of the defects occur in during the preslaughter stage of production while the animals are alive. Impacts created by post slaughter defects are due to poor management and treatment of skins in slaughter house. unskilled person on the slaughter house may result in many visible defects on skin

 

Awareness importance and values of hide and skin among the communities should be created

Accessibility of veterinary service should be delivered near the  breeding farms to prevent and cure the defects on skins and hides

 

There is a strong need to prepare comprehensive training manuals and extension packages on live animal management, such as feeding housing, slaughtering and post slaughtering  of hide and skin management

 

 

 
 
MATERIALS TO MAINTAIN EFFICIENT TRACEABILITY

 

  TAGGING AND ASSORTING :

                                Tagging should be done on animals initially which will help the farmers to assort the animals according to their age, sex, health conditions and defect on the skins, the tag contains a serial number  which  includes letters and numbers on it  for example  AG1234567

 

The tag also consist of bar coding which will help to record the data of the animal in a computer system . During the assorting, the animals are being assorted according to their age, sex health conditions and the defects on skin which will be  helpful in separating  a lot of each category and record the data  in a computer system before it goes to the slaughter house.

 

SLAUGHTER HOUSE :

                      

                       A Stamper has to be installed in the slaughter house which  makes an impregnation on the hides and skins as shown on the image below. The serial number which is carried out in the breeding farms is to be impregnated on the hides and skin after slaughter and record the defects on the hides and skins attained during slaughter period and record the data in the computer system

 

(Stamping should be done on the neck or on the legs of the origin)

                                        

 

 

 

 

THE IDENTIFICATION SYSTEM  GOALS

 

Can be applied while the hide is still on the animal

Human readable/human Decodable

Code can be externally generated

Selectable numbers and alphabets can be used

Lasts through a finished leather

100% retrieval

Readable with hair on and off

Machine readable

Unique code on each piece

Applied and readable on the grain and the flesh

 

The integration of stamper on the leather should not have any significant effect on the final product of the leather.  Leather as a finished product should not be  changed, the colour,  touch, thickness and handle should not change due to stamping  on the leather. When using leather the stamping appearance should remain constant. Cutting, gluing, sewing and shaping the material should not affect the stamp. Must remain stable with time resistance to mechanical, thermal and chemical operations applied during the leather making.

 

THE SUPPLY CHAIN BETWEEN THE TANNERS, SLAUGHTER HOUSE AND THE FARMERS

 

The main objective of the leather sector is make research on both qualitative and quantitative methods and a combination of both primary and secondary sources of data. They found the problem starts from the animal husbandry stage and goes up to the production of finished leather.

 

The leather sector should educate the farmers about the importance of by-product and take them as employers and pay them to maintain a healthy growth of the animal skins and hides

 

Install veterinary services near the breeding farms which helps in preventing or curing the defects on the skin of the animals

 

Educate the workers in the slaughter house about the importance of the skinand also educating them with slaughter  methods

 

Safety transportation vehicles should be installed to carry the animals from breeding farms to slaughter house and then to the tannery

 
ETHICS :

               I would like to affirm that the information supplied by the farmer, employees of abattoirs and the staff of the tannery will be presented in a way that the supervisor will understand . All information obtained during the study will be managed highly confidential and a confidentiality agreement will be signed with the people involved in the supply chain operation before any data is collected. I would keep up the promise and maintain my honesty and strive to be consistent all the time

 

 
  RISKS AND COSHH:

 

         There is a risk of affection for the workers at the breeding farms and the slaughter house when working with animals and handling with waste material that may be contaminated with microorganisms or working in a area such as meat waste or the animals contaminated. Members of public who  pass through the farms can be exposed to infection.

 

 Safety measurements should be taken into consideration such as

 

IDENTIFY THE HAZARDS

 

ASSESS THE RISK

 

CONTROL THE RISKS

 

CONSIDERING THE RISK TO THE EMPLOYERS

THE RISK OF INFECTION HAS TO BE FORSEEABLE BEFORE IT CARRIES OUT AN ASSESSMENT AND TAKE MEASURES TO CONTROL THE RISKS

UoN Blockchain Workshop – 5 May AM

UoN Innovation Centre (opposite Railway Station)

UoN Blockchain Workshop

9am-1pm 5th May 2017

UN Innovation Centre, Green Street, NN1 1SY

The broad purpose is to explore the opportunities that Blockchain and associated technologies can offer the University. Blank canvas, open mind – no agenda other than that.

If there are other colleagues that should take part in this workshop, please let me know (olinga.taeed@northampton.ac.uk), or the meeting organiser – Professor Armellini, Dean of Learning & Teaching Ale.Armellini@northampton.ac.uk

Tracking progress on sustainability certification

 

Driven in large measure by the ground breaking outcomes of the United Nation’s (UN) Rio Summit of 1992, on environment and development, and the more recent UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) (which replaced the Millennium Development Goals – MDGs), there has in recent decades, been a growing move towards the development of a number of sustainability/environmental certification schemes. Indeed, the number of such schemes (e.g. for commodities trading), is endless and is somewhat of a mine field, without effective guidance and support.

For example, there are well known designations such as Fairtrade and the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). However, depending on the commodity, there are others that might provide a ‘better fit’, for example, The Better Cotton Initiative for cotton producers, Bonsucro for sugar cane producers, or the Pro Terra Standard that is primarily focused on soy-derived products. For example, ProTerra is the first certification program in the food and feed commodities sector to respond to the demand for both non-GMO soy and improved sustainability. 

As I have written about in previous articles (e.g. on frugal innovation and shifts towards the developent of market equity portfolios that take account of the future impacts of climate change), there is an increasing drive towards organisations taking account of their social impact. Thus there are a growing number of ‘double bottom line’ companies being developed. For example, the B-labs of which there are more than 1,800 so called B-Corps’ that are committed to producing a measurable social impact.

Without doubt, this increasing move over the past decades towards increased socio-environmental impacts-based initiatives and certification is a good one. However, one question that does arise is how might progress towards these goals best be measured? And how might it be done in a manner that is transparent and with results that are widely available? Could Blockchain serve as possible option?

The Case for an Art Coin

Tigris Ta’eed

I’ve always had a very clear idea of why I make art, and why others should. It’s a clarity which has on thankfully rare occasions stopped me from making art, or at least attempting to make it. I’ve always understood, perhaps instinctively that the role of the artist is to fill in the blanks, to frame the questions that have no answers and to legitimise our human lack of knowledge. What I’m talking about is the great unknown; where we came from and where we go when it’s all over. If we can learn to accept the fact that this fundamental knowledge is beyond our grasp, then uncertainty and ignorance must surely be ok. And if it’s ok not to know, perhaps even rather cool, what then for dogma?

Those very peculiar years between the greatest unknowns, birth and death, are filled with false certainties and charlatan insights. All we really know for sure is that we are unsure. Words like ‘perhaps,’ ‘maybe,’ ‘possibly’ or phrases like ‘I don’t know enough about it to have an opinion’ or ‘I used to think x but now I’m not so sure,’ are the sure fire P45s of the chattering classes with immediate expulsion from the smarterati.

Tigris Ta’eed

Entrenched ideas, immovable belief systems and implacable protocols are the enemies of art. Art exists to effect change. Its purpose is not simply to decorate, to offer investment opportunities or to allow collectors to bask in the reflected glory of a keen mind and a piercing talent. Neither does it exist in order to perpetuate what over the last two decades has become a burgeoning ancillary industry of celebrity curators, monolithic museum raising and art fair chic, with all the accompanying sneering cultural divisions and manufactured creative hierarchies.

Fighting dogma through accepting that the human condition is one of unclear thought and mostly hidden fragility is one of the ways that art can both instigate change, and maintain it. To this end I will be launching Antifreeze18 in May this year which is a unique celebration of visual art to be held at both formal and informal locations across the town of Northampton in September/October 2018. What sets it aside from any other national art event is that antifreeze is a direct response to the fact that much of the art we see in galleries and reproduced in journals and books is not representative of the cultural and philosophical values or aspirations, nor the creative impulses and needs of the broader populous. It is the aim of Antifreeze to recalibrate the visual art tradition into one which is relevant and inclusive and one which offers a platform to the thousands of people across the UK, both trained and untrained who make important, compelling and persuasive work but who are excluded, disengaged, disinclined or simply unable to conform to prevailing conventions.

Tigris Ta’eed

Antifreeze will bring together artists from across the UK and Europe who make art for reasons of expressive, communicative, poetic or political necessity. It will be antithetical to the current established art community and encouraging of art which is essential, profound, heartfelt, challenging, possibly unfashionable and perhaps transgressive or impolite. Selected work will reference the human condition in its broadest sense as opposed to the exclusively theoretical, fashionable or fiscally suppositional or prudent. Antifreeze defiantly isn’t an amateur art exhibition as the notion of the ‘amateur’ can’t be applied to artists who strive for these outcomes. Also the work submitted for selection will be subject to the same level of analytical consideration and criticality as that of ‘professional’ or established avant-garde work, except with significantly different criteria.

As well as choosing work for exhibition, the selection panel will also choose fifty artists who they consider would most benefit from one of thirty, £1,000 bursaries which will be sponsorship by local Northampton companies as well as the University of Northampton. Each bursary will bear the name of the sponsor. A really key factor in this whole event, and one of things that I’m perhaps most excited about is the fact that the work selected for inclusion will be picked up free of charge from designated drop off centers right across the UK as well as sites in Europe. (Albi, Toulouse, Perpignan, Antwerp and Frankfurt so far)After the 5 week period of exhibition the work will be returned to the centers, again free of any charge. The reason for this significant and defining aspect of the event is the fact that some of the kind of important artists that we are aiming to attract are either physically or physiologically unable to travel, or engage.

Tigris Ta’eed

The much ruminated, and admittedly overly poetic notion that the cure for cancer was lost on the battlefields of the Somme has some resonance within the current condition of the visual arts. Our Somme is multifarious; as I’ve said, the increasing dominance of the market place and the distorting effects of speculation, the fact that museums and galleries have become increasingly risk averse due to cuts in funding, a retreat from art education within the secondary system, and the louche pursuit of pedigree, status and celebrity at the expense of quality, consequence and weight. My piratical adoptive town of Northampton will help to recalibrate the visual arts tradition within the UK, which has become irrelevant and exclusive. Most people have experienced impenetrable modern art, and although the selected work will be held to exacting critical standards, engagement, resonance and the likelihood of intellectual, spiritual or political change will be decisive factors, all of which are democratically creative. Every arts society, every hospital, care home, college, university, studio collective, school, prison, working men’s club and community center across the UK will be invited to submit work.

The reason Antifreeze has taken off in the way it has, expanding unsolicited into Europe and garnering such ardent support and excitement across the UK, is that all those volunteering their time and their money share a set of core values. They might have quite different creative or personal tastes or preoccupations, but they believe wholeheartedly that art is not only important, but that its ability to effect sustainable societal change is worth fighting for. They witness the distorting effects of the market and the taste disfigurements of the unelected and the untalented. These are deeply principled individuals who are often wedded to a life of financial uncertainty in order to pursue that which contributes. An Art Coin could not only be used to maximise purchasing power through a broad network of collaborating businesses, institutions and support structures, but it could also be a badge of honour that reminds the kind of people that Antifreeze is seeking to celebrate that there is strength in numbers, and that what they do is not only legitimate, important and understood, but that it is vital.

Tigris Ta’eed

Blockchain, cryptocurrency, and supply chain money flows in Public Sector sourcing and procurement.

In the latest edition of the Social Value & Intangibles Review Nick Petford draws attention to issues concerning Brexit, e-procurement and the adoption of Blockchain technology as the platform for cryptocurrency in university procurement. The requirements to meet efficiency, quality, and social value challenges and to secure environmental and economic benefit are however generic across the vast Public Procurement landscape. But, whilst skilled professional sourcing and procurement practitioners are in high demand, a skills gap has led to a largely process driven and risk averse culture where the procurement teams are often seen as simply a compliance function or barrier to innovation, and outcomes are marked by an unnecessary transfer of commercial risk to suppliers.


Contract price erosion, higher levels of risk transfer and increased levels of bureaucracy when tendering for contracts has made the public sector a less attractive place to do business, particularly for SME’s. This trend needs to be reversed if citizens are to continue receiving high quality public services and a more diverse mix of providers are to deliver innovative public sector goods, works, and services. Meeting the need of this skills gap will involve moving the next generation of procurement professionals into proactive functions in the supply market: positions where strategic sourcing will see an enhanced importance in the development and mapping of money flows in the supply chains. It is here that Blockchain technology, supporting cryptocurrency transactions, may promise a revolutionary shift to build value, including social value, and leverage capability.

Blockchain as a Solution for Connected Health Services

 
 
The emergence of smart phones, cloud computing, and networking on the Internet has created a type of consumer increasingly accustomed to doing everything using smartphones to check bank balances, purchases, watching movies on mobile devices, etc. From here these consumers wonder why health systems can not provide appropriate applications for similar service using the Blockchain technology. Which led to the emergence of information technology companies working in the field of health that attract investment capital with the flexibility to design applications that meet the needs directly to groups of patients at the same time emerged obstacles for IT companies, notably lack of access to health data with no agreement on how to distribute the resulting economic benefits For smartphone applications and at the same time IT officials in search of the potential of Blockchain technology in health care to answer the following basic questions:
 
  • Who should pay for applications and electronic services in the field of health?
  • What is the evidence of the effectiveness of the services provided by the application and which are the reason for paying the wages? 
  • What conditions should be available to be the starting point for developing health applications with a business model?
We believe that the Blockchain solution is to strengthen cooperation between health providers and technical companies by enabling the exchange of health data to enable more efficient and adaptive health care delivery. The national health system must take into account that the framework in the area of health care data must be updated from the demand for standardised standards of patient health record to providing data access through application interfaces using Blockchain . The framework of the health electronic services system will be operated by accredited third parties and can be directed by the health system as well.
 
Blockchain technology can revolutionise the provision of health services, as well as help health systems to boot to reduce the cost of this development, the stakeholders to determine how to distribute benefits and take into account five basic principles:
 
  • Potential effects of technology on health care systems
  • Organizational changes
  • Secure the correct data
  • Financing electronic health systems
  • Security and privacy of patient data

I have discussed the Connected Health Services in my book, published in 26th March 2017, and for more information please access the ebook through the following link: 

Al-Zoiny, S. and Al-Sherbaz, A. (2017) Connected Health Services in Smart Technologies. UK: Kobo Publisher. 1230001603163. 

https://www.kobo.com/gb/en/ebook/iqIkgVY1dDy-MShVWyQn-A

Blockchain and Procurement

Blockchain is a revolutionary computing concept that has taken the computing community by storm, but in every new technology, there are questions about its security. This one is no different. In the paper to come, potential security threats will of Blockchain be analysed from a technical point of view and examined in a way to find solutions. The security of the cryptocurrency will also play a part in the analysis of Blockchain and the author may contribute to bitcoin’s security in the cryptographic nature. The writtens below are an overview of Procurement, blockchain from the understanding of the author. There may be edited versions to follow.

Procurement

The acquisition of services, goods and work is the cornerstone of any business. These goods and services have to come from external sources. External to the organisation, institution or charity. The challenge is to find a source appropriate to provide the organisation with the product/ services which meet its needs. Following, the cost need to be agreeable and depending on the value of the purchase, time and contract negotiations need to be considered. “Large public and corporate organisations like to promote choice and greater competition with procurement and acquisition programs. Choice and quality go a long way in business.” (Anon., 2017)

The act of procurement is more than just organisations purchasing goods, or services, it is the building and maintaining of relationships with all sources of the services. Negotiating contracts and transaction prices are all a vital element of procurement. The concept of procurement is “maintaining fruitful long term relationship with suitable supplies”.

Business transactions have been reformed by this concept and are ever growing.

(Problems with procurement)

Procurement offers a plethora of advantages in comparison to a purchase only transaction, but it too has a few problems:

  • Accidental Orders – Sometimes an organisation can mistakenly order items they didn’t want, even though with a good relationship with the supplier this is easily rectified these problems are still very common.
  • Inflexible suppliers – Most suppliers will accommodate a purchasing company’s needs but some may not offer discounts or may even include surcharges.
  • Exceeding Budget – If they budgetary updates are not communicated properly throughout the company and especially to the purchasing department.
  • Damaged Goods – The company may only know that the item is damaged when it reaches its destination, then there’s a long process of returning, negotiating and reordering which has already caused a unnecessary delay.

Blockchain

Blockchain provides a new way for organisations to engage with technology to reduce cost, improve speed and transparency and integrate social value across the procurement function. It is known as the new ‘revolutionary computing’.

In brief, Blockchain allows competitors to share a digitally distributed ledger across a network of competitors without need for central authority. Thus no single party has the power to tamper with the records (Ledger). Every member of the transactional process will have a shared ledger consisting of all records of transaction costs, times, and even the quality of the goods. Essentially every member of the transactional process will be able to view the movement of the goods purchased, from supplier through all the middle-men to the purchasing organisation.

   

Marrying the Blockchain concept with the procurement process could be wonderfully beneficial as the advantages of Blockchain simplify the process of procurement, and the process of procurement joins well the concept of Blockchain.

As the ledger is shared between all those involved in the procurement process there must be a protocol in place for the verification of payment amounts and amount of goods agreed between supplier and purchaser. Blockchain has successfully dealt with this issue. When a record on the ledger is updated, it awaits the verification of all those involved that the update is correct before the update is approved. The ledger then, proves secure and the act of procurement can flourish with this new partnership.

Blockchain uses bitcoin currency. Bitcoin is a cryptocurrency, a type of digital currency in which encryption techniques are used to regulate the generation of units of currency and verify the transfer of funds. A bitcoin is programmable and can represent money, goods or services, at the discretion of the trading parties. A bitcoin can even be programmed to represent the funds for a particular need, it can be used to represent a departmental budget, ensuring that coin is solely used for that department, thus sticking to their budget.

Using Blockchain for procurement is an exciting partnership, whose lifespan will change the way of business in our future.

Empowering Consumers in the Circular Economy. Is Blockchain the Missing Link?

The call for a more sustainable economy is not new. It goes back as far as the call for global responses to climate change and the rapid growth of populations associated with the rising scarcity of natural resources. We are living however a momentum of unprecedented favourable alignment of technological, political and social factors that are enabling an effective transition to a more sustainable economy. The term ‘circular economy’ has emerged to represent this new economic landscape which is paving the way for business model innovations that maximise environmental and societal benefits with no detriment to economic gains. In general, the circular economy advocates, inter alia, the creation of production/consumption systems that:

  • Emphasise the delivery of functionality and experience (value in use), rather than product ownership;
  • Build upon collaborative or shared consumption approaches;
  • Create closed-loop or cascading (open-loop) value chains where recycling, remanufacturing, repair and reuse processes substitute or minimise disposal processes.

An increasing number of businesses are already implementing one or more of the initiatives above, which are fundamentally based on the prolonged use of products. This is the central point I would like to draw your attention to.

The role that end consumers can play to prolong the life span of products is not just a consumption issue, it is also a supply issue in the sense that consumers can potentially supply other consumers or businesses with products that can be further used, repaired, remanufactured or recycled.

There are actually digital platforms where consumers can make their assets and even their skills available to the market (e.g. ebay, Airbnb and taskrabbit). But these business models are third-party centralised marketplace systems that control the flow of information and currency between the parts involved. 

Another limitation for consumers is that a number of current circular economy business models are still primarily focused on the firm, relegating the end consumer to roles such as use or share and the subsequent separation of products or waste for reuse or refuse collection. This wastes consumers’ capability and effort which an effective circular economy should co-opt.

Co-opting the consumer’s capabilities and skills has the potential to transform regenerative product-service systems and accelerate the shift towards the circular economy. The main question is: How can consumers be empowered to engage and participate more actively in product reuse and recovery processes? Blockchain seems to be the key enabler to significantly empower consumers for the circular economy.

The advent of the blockchain technology offers unprecedented opportunities for circular economy business models geared by peer to peer (P2P) networks. Digital ‘blockchain-enabled’ platforms allow P2P transactions to takes place on the cloud without third-party intermediaries. That is, consumers can engage in transactions and securely pay each other directly, without intermediaries, through a decentralised and globally distributed blockchain network. By enabling consumers to circulate and recapture value from their underused assets, blockchain platforms have the power to significantly catalyse the shift from the linear to the circular economy.

The opportunities that can be created with the support of the blockchain technology are limitless, including the value one can attach to the currency, or coin, used in blockchain marketplaces. Currency value is no longer limited to hard tangible financial value. Intangible social and environmental values can also be attached to an ‘extra-financial’ coin that connects socio-environmental value to financial value. The main challenge is to define the metrics to represent intangible values. Pioneering initiatives to tackle this issue are already in place. The CCEG Blockchain UN Lab has been developing projects aimed at enabling transactions of intangible and non-financial values using a unique combination of blockchain technology. You are welcome to take this challenge with us, helping to shape the new marketplaces for the circular economy.

As an example, follow this interactive prezi http://ow.ly/A34u303S4wa or watch video of Circular Economy in a city context