Episode Archive

SCP E55: The Circular Economy, with Ashleigh Morris

In this episode of the Smart City Podcast, I had a fantastic conversation with Ashleigh Morris. Ashleigh is the cofounder and CEO fo the Circular Experiment, and also joined me on the Future Leaders, Future Cities delegation to Japan. Ashleigh and I discuss our observations from Japan, as well as how Smart Cities and the Circular Economy fit together. Ashleigh also explains what the Circular Economy is and what the Circular Experiment worked on. We also discuss emerging trends of connecting knowledge and genuine collaboration.

Listen Here:

What we cover in this episode:

  • Ashleigh’s background in environmental management and how she’s ended up working in the circular economy
  • What sparked Ashleigh’s interest in the Smart City Space and how it fits in with the circular economy
  • What is a Smart City to Ashleigh and why she thinks it’s so important
  • How Australia is embracing the Smart City concept and thoughts on why it’s integrating so quickly
  • What the circular economy is and what The Circular Experiment does
  • The problem with the linear economy model and the experiment Ashleigh and her co-founder did on the Sunshine Coast to prove the benefits of a circular economy
  • What Ashleigh and Zoe took away from the trip to Japan for the Future Leaders, Future Cities delegation
  • The opportunities and challenges of collaboration and integration across diverse stakeholders
  • The importance of trust and relationship building in the collaboration conversation
  • The problem with putting Smart Cities and Circular Economies in different conversations and the opportunities of genuine collaboration


“The rise of technology and applying that into our cities for the better, to drive economics, environmental change and societal change, is really strong.”

“Technology is going to the be the enabling factor that provides us with that big data on what is happening, what are the inputs and outputs in our cities and our lives, and how can we then be more efficient and Smart about how we use them and interpret that to create positive change.”

“A Smart City to me is a connected city. Utilising technology for us to communicate and interpret data, and make more intelligent decisions on how we operate and how we recoup any lost value within the system.”

“If we look [at Smart Cities] through the lease of opportunity, of value creation, it’s unprecedented. I think it’s going to change our communities, our societies, from that micro to the macro level, significantly and for the better.”

“Australians are quite progressive. We’re a small country and we rightfully innovate because we can, and we are a wealthy nation as well.

“The circular economy is not new, it’s been around for millennia, and you can refer it back to indigenous cultures right around the world where you’re looking at the entire operating system that we live in. Taking that…an economic performance-based model that relies on systems-wide innovation to de-couple our economic growth from the consumption of finite resources.”

“Now we build in obsolescence because that’s really become a strong economic model, which is the linear model. We take, we make, we use and dispose, so we have to constantly go out and  buy new. But a circular economy is about keeping things at their highest value for the longest amount of time you can possibly.”

“We were able to prove that there is actual economic revenue generated out of applying circular economy. There’s large economic savings to be made, there’s huge social capital gains…and also environmental savings.”

“Collaboration is essential but it’s very difficult to achieve.”

“There’s power in the collective, so if you’re able to get a diverse group of stakeholders around the table and have a conversation in a way that’s non-threatening…Smart Cities can be a conduit to bring those people around the table to say you all have a vested interest here and this is the means by which it can be achieved.”

“We can’t afford to do things the way we’ve always done…and that’s exciting because it opens such a realm of opportunity for everybody.”


The best place to connect with Ashleigh is LinkedIn

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community

Connect with My Smart Community via LinkedIn or Twitter and watch on YouTube

Podcast Production by Perk Digital



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