In this episode of the Smart Community Podcast, I have a great chat with Karen Corr, a Community Engagement and Development Specialist and the Founder and Executive Director of Make a Change Australia. Karen and I met when we were on a panel together. We were talking about liveability at the Bendigo Invention and Innovation Festival earlier in 2019. In this episode, Karen shares with us her journey from being a Water Engineer to becoming passionate about culture change and how that led to her work with Make a Change Australia. We discuss the power of engaging with the “Smartness” of people that live in regional communities and harnessing their local knowledge for ownership of Smart solutions. Karen and I chat about why liveability is so important, and the need for equity of access to liveability, connectivity and accessibility solutions in small towns and regional areas. Karen tells us about the Ramp Up Resilience project that she’s been working on, and it is just a brilliant example of how to integrate across disciplines, industries and sectors. Karen explains how much time and energy authentic integration and engagement actually takes, and why she should be investing in that more. We finish our chat discussing the emerging trends of changing the language we use to engage with currently unheard voices in our communities, and also of flipping the engagement conversation on its head so that it’s community-led not government-led. This episode is part of the Spotlight on the Regions that we’re focusing on for December. As always, we hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it. 

Listen here: 

What we cover in this episode:

  • Karen’s interesting background in water engineering to climate change volunteering and how her passion for culture change led her to found Make a Change Australia
  • What sparked Karen’s interest in the liveability part of the Smart Communities conversation and what a Smart City really means to her
  • The power of engaging with the “Smartness” of people that live in regional communities and harnessing their local knowledge for ownership of Smart solutions
  • Why liveability is so important as a fundamental piece of a Smart Community
  • The need for equity of access to liveability, connectivity and accessibility solutions in small towns and regional areas
  • How Karen and Zoe see Australia embracing Smart concepts
  • The Ramp Up Resilience project that Karen has been working on, and how it is a brilliant example of integrating across disciplines, industries and sectors
  • The way the Ramp Up Resilience team have changed their language to engage people in a conversation around climate change that can be quite polarising and disengaging
  • How much time and energy authentic integration and engagement actually takes, and why she should be investing in that more, rather than accepting tokenistic engagement approaches 
  • The emerging trends of changing the language we use to engage with currently unheard voices in our communities, and of flipping the engagement conversation on its head so that it’s community-led not government-led

Quotes:

“You’re tapping into that local knowledge and having local people come up with the solutions. There’s also lots of solutions out there that aren’t necessarily going to come from local communities, but having their take on it and their ownership on it [is key].”

“If there’s a technology solution, how does that get framed and messaged and communicated so that it connects with the everyday person? That’s the biggest thing that’s going to actually bring people along.”

“If we want to integrate across disciplines more, we need to invest more in the work that it takes to integrate more.”

“By asking strategic questions, it generates conversation and then you get where that person’s passion lies and what’s important for them, for their community.”

Links

Bendigo’s Cycling City Strategy

The Ramp Up Resilience Program

Connect: 

Connect with Karen via LinkedIn, or with Make a Change www.makeachange.org.au or @MakeaChangeAus on Facebook and Instagram

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community 

Connect via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook @SmartCommHQ
The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Perk Digital.

My Smart Community

My Smart Community offers consulting and media services with a focus on making our communities more accessible, liveable and sustainable for all. We have a focus on Smart Mobility, Smart project management, Smart technology in regional communities, dealing with disruption and facilitating genuine collaboration. As well as podcast production, communication and media advisory and engagement, keynote speaking, moderating, master of ceremonies and workshop design and facilitation.

The Smart Community Podcast

The Smart Community Podcast is a hub where smart and exciting people from all around the world come to discuss all things Smart City, Smart Town, Smart Region - anything that makes a place more liveable. Together we can create our own Smart Communities.

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