Interview with Berrin Benli


Interview with BERRIN BENLI. Co-Founder of NOVUSENS Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute, the 1st ‘think tank’ organization in Science, Technology, and Innovation field in Turkey which is independent and for-profit, service innovation oriented that was established in 2009, Ankara, Turkey.

It delivers professional services to Public and Private Industry Organizations, Universities, NGOs, SMEs and Start-Ups.

It has a strong SME (Subject Matter Expert) Network that has high profile of consultants who are experts in their respective expertise areas in ICT, Energy, Education, Health –Healthcare & Independent Living, Transportation, Environment, Agriculture industries that are focused sectors of NOVUSENS both in Turkey and abroad.

SCASC.- What is the maın objective of NOVUSENS?

B.B.- To accelerate the economic and social growth of Turkey by increasing the ‘Innovation and Entrepreneurship’ capacity and ability for ‘Sustainable Development’ through PPP (Public Private Partnership) model at the local and global markets.

We provide professional consultancy and training services in many areas as Concept Development; Project Design, Management and Implementation; Strategic Research Projects; Strategy Development and Analysis; Policy Making and Policy Influencing; Industrial Design Services, or Professional Business Mentorship.

SCASC.- And your focus?

B.B.- We hace two major focus in “ICT Innovation” field: Data Innovation - Big Data, and Smart Cities.

SCASC.- What is a Smart City in your view?

BB.- Cities are the main centres of economic and social growth. Smart Cities consists of effectively integrated Digital and Human systems in an ‘urban environment’ to deliver a ‘Sustainable’, ‘Prosperous’ and ‘Inclusive’ future.

SCASC.- What can NOVUSENS offer to Smart Cities in Turkey and also abroad?

BB.- We have established “Smart City Institute of NOVUSENS” (SCI) on 4th of February, 2014. The vision of the SCI is to contribute to the establishment and transformation of Smart Cities in which we love to live in that patterned with social, cultural and history supported by high technological integrated infrastructure through unique and value added solutions by PPP (Public Private Partnership) model to increase the quality of the lives of the citizens.

SCI is covering ICT, Energy, Transportation, Education, Health, Architecture, City Planning, Finance, Environment industries. SCI is a Think Tank and a Do-Tank organization that offers various services to be able to contribute to Sustainable Development of Turkey: Developing and contributing to the mid-term and longer-term strategy and policy studies in Smart Cities field of Turkey; developing the Smart Cities eco-system and collaboration with Public, Private Industries, Universities, NGOs, SME(s) and Start-Ups; developing local and global partnerships; contibuting to the policy making studies; delivering strategic research projects and publications; developing and delivering industry specific solutions thru PoC (Proof of Concept) Projects (concept development), Pilot Projects (pre-production), Production Projects (large scale) and Regular awareness and thematic events.

SCASC.- What are the current major efforts of SCI?

BB.- SCI has five major efforts nowadays: 1) Implementing the “Smart Cities Readiness Guide of Turkey” Project together with “Knowledge Society Institute” of TBV (Turkish Informatics Foundation); 2) Developing “Smart Campus” Project for two major universities of Turkey; 3) Developing “Living Lab” and “Rural Living Lab” Projects for different regions of Turkey; 4) Developing the Smart Cities eco-system both in Turkey and abroad; 5) Preparing proposals for H2020 Smart Cities projects.

SCASC.- Do you have H2020 Focus on Smart Cities?

BB.- Yes, definitely. SCI has been involved into H2020 projects in Smart Cities field. We are currently in the process of preparing project proposals with the related EU Consortiums...

SCASC.- What is the project management approach of SCI? How you are developing and implementing the smart city projects?

BB.- SCI has a phased approach in implementing the Smart Cities projects. Situational Analysis, Concept Development based on the needs, PoC (Proof of Concept) Project Design and Implementation, Pilot Project Design and Implementation, Scaled out Project Design and Implementation are the main phases of our project management methodology.

This approach belongs to NOVUSENS and applies not only to Smart Cities projects but almost all the innovation projects.

SCASC.- Which sectors are involved in Smart Cities in Turkey? What about ICT Sector’s position among them?

BB.- ICT, Energy and Transportation are the three priority sectors that SCI pays highest attention based on market needs and challenges. SCI pays more interest and efforts to generate integrated solutions among these three industries.

SCASC.- Is there any “Roadmap” and “Strategy Report” for Smart Cities in Turkey?

BB.- Not yet. But we have initiated a very important project: “Smart Cities Readiness Assesment of Turkey” together with “Knowledge Society Institute” of TBV (Turkish Informatics Foundation). In the first phase of the study, an inventory to be built up which will consist of the smart cities applications that have been developed till today and a current situational analysis that will highlight the top challanges of Turkey. The second phase of the project will deliver the roadmap and the strategy of Turkey in Smart Cities field.

SCASC.- What are the Challenges of Turkey in Smart Cities field?

BB.-Some of the challenges that we have identified through some focused workshops and events are:

  • Misperception of the concept
  • Eco-system establishement
  • Collaboration among stakeholders
  • Silo applications and implementations
  • Engagement of the end users from the beginning
  • Testing of concepts and technologies
  • Access to resources
  • Focused approach based on priority needs

Some of these challenges are related with social and cultural change which might take longer than expected. As SCI, we’ll be spending our efforts both in developing the related concepts and implementing them through PPP and also studying on cultural shifts accordingly.

SCASC.- Did you have any connection with Barcelona so in developing strategic partnership?

BB.- Yes, we have attended to the Smart City event organized by TBV where Mr. Manel Sanromà was the Key Note Speaker. He shared his vision and Barcelona Smart City Experiences. We have had the chance of having a special meeting with him afterwards. We’re very pleased to get to know him closely and to have a potential collaboration with the City of Barcelona.

SCASC.- You also work on “Big Data” right? What kind of studies that you are doing in this field?

BB.- Yes. “Big Data” is another major focus area of NOVUSENS similar to “Smart Cities” field.

Our aim is to contribute to the development of “Data Innovation” through professional services like SCI. We have established “Big Data” Institute on 26th of September, 2013 to foster “Data Innovation” in Turkey.


Who is she

Berrin BenliBerrin Benli was born in 1963, in Ankara. She has BSc degree of Computer Engineering from METU (Middle East Technical University) in 1986; she has been student of University of Phoenix, Arizona (Exec.MBA, Global Management Program) in 2005.

In year 2000, she was recognized by the Turkish IT media as the first international woman executive of Turkey- appointed by e-Europe Middle East Africa Region in IT Business Industry. When she was leading Innovation Centre of Intel in Turkey, she led successful large scale longer-term concept projects that (technological and business new usage models).

She is the co-founder of NOVUSENS-Innovation and Entrepreneurship Institute which is the 1st Think Tank organization of Turkey specialized in Science, Technology and Innovation. Berrin has established "Big Data Institute" in 2013 and "Smart City Institute" in 2014 to support ICT Innovation field. She is also the co-founder of "IDE Consulting" which delivers professional ICT services on high-tech industries.

Benli is the curator of “TEDxAnkaraCitadel” event which was the first TEDx event in Ankara. She organized the event on 2013 and 2014. She is the Board Members of TBV (Turkish Informatics Foundation) and Gökyay Scie

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