Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Uber's Missed Opportunity to Connect a Shared Value

The recent Politico article, How Uber Lost Its Way in the Steel City, reveals how an unequal partnership has led the Mayor and many citizens of the city of Pittsburgh dissatisfied with Uber. The corporation that uses technology to offer an improved taxi service, partnered with the city to invest in an autonomous vehicle facility in exchange for cooperative policy. The focus of this agreement was on the research and development of autonomous vehicles.

Uber has been involved in many extremely costly legal battles with local governments all over the world just to secure the right to implement its basic service. The city of Pittsburgh has rolled out the red carpet for Uber and, not only allows their taxi service, but allows a fleet of autonomous vehicles to use the streets and test the service. There is clear connection between value provided to Uber and potential for investment in the locality.

Creating Shared Value by Michael Porter and Mark Kramer, explains that a corporate strategy that links societal and economic progress will produce a unique opportunity for growth. I believe Uber missed this opportunity and has created a open ended opportunity for other industry players.

Mayor Peduto of Pittsburgh, argued that Uber has not offered any further benefit to the community in which it operates. Last year, the city was a finalist for the federal Smart Cities grant which would provide a grant to invest in technological infrastructure. When the mayor reached out to the CEO of Uber to advocate for the up and coming city, Uber released a statement that it was not beneficial for Uber to advocate for the new technology.

Uber clearly missed an opportunity to empower and be involved in the foundation of tech innovation. This would provide a chance for the company to identify new ways to offer services in a way that could bring in more revenue. As the city grows from investment, Uber could find economic benefit as well. Neglecting to support the development of Pittsburgh opened the door to other firms to take advantage of the cluster of talent and sector expertise.

The city of Pittsburgh has historically been a leader in robotics and autonomous machines because of the academic institution, Carnegie Mellon University. Ford, an automobile giant, is attempting to exploit the missed shared value strategy and invest in the local community. Ford’s Argo AI, has invested $1 billion dollars in a new autonomous vehicle facility in Pittsburgh and is poised to take advantage of the cluster of talent and untapped potential that comes with working with the community. 

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