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Building Intelligent Communities in Smart Regions with Leanne Kemp

In this #smartcommunity blog, Zoe sat down with Queensland Chief Entrepreneur and good friend of The Smart Community Podcast, Leanne Kemp. They have a great conversation around moving from Smart to Intelligent Communities, the #smart things happening in regional Queensland and bringing people together through innovation.

Can you tell us about your background and what you are passionate about?

My background has been in a series of different disciplines of technologies over the better part of the last 25 years. I’ve been blessed enough to be able to create a number of businesses out of being curious to solve certain challenges or problems that exist. I’m passionate about being curious.

What sparked your interest in Smart Communities?

I see communities and citizens starting to really question the ‘how we’re living’. Most of us know why we live in the places that we live but we should ask ourselves how we’re living in that city and the relationship we have with each other. There’s also the technology aspect of it – ensuring we couple technologies so we all have a better lifestyle. 

What do you think a Smart Community is?

I think Smart City projects are defined as being able to make the city work better. We can apply information and communication technology to accurately monitor, measure and control a city’s processes. We can also apply these technologies from transport to water supply. Smart Cities are about saving money, becoming more efficient and delivering a better service to the taxpayer and the citizens. 

Intelligent communities are different. I think intelligent communities adopt technologies, but they don’t make it their entire focus. Instead, they find vision driven, community-based smart solutions to solve the most urgent problems in the community. They seek out to make better cities, both large and small, urban and rural, where citizens and employers want to thrive and really prosper in the broadband economy that exists. I think this is especially true in rural and regional Queensland. 

How do you think Queensland is embracing the Smart Community concept? 

I think some cities and communities are embracing broadband and IT infrastructure as something that needs to be focused on to be competitive. Also, more energy is going into developing a workforce that is able to do the knowledge work.

More effort goes into crafting an innovation ecosystem where businesses, governments and institutional partners can create high-quality employment and also meet the social needs of the community. We need to be putting more emphasis access to digital skills and technology for those who are otherwise likely to be left out. 

Can you tell us about some of the work that you’ve been doing across Queensland?

Over the past year, I’ve been working from Roma and Charleville to Brisbane. As Queensland Chief Entrepreneur, I’ve been reaching across Queensland to realise innovations, connect with Indigenous communities and trying to get to the real core of each of these communities. I’ve been really enjoying the diversity of these areas and developing a set of economic benefits to these communities. 

As you’ve been travelling through these more remote areas, what are some nuggets of innovation that you’ve seen? 

One example I’ve seen is testing new business models between farmers and oil and gas companies to ensure water security and to be drought resilient. I’ve seen scientific research into bush tucker and Indigenous plants that have been growing in these communities. These plants have a commercial quality and through partnering with local universities, we have been able to promote this.  

I’m also seeing entrepreneurs within government starting to break the traditional systems of thinking and leadership hierarchy that has traditionally existed. It’s a really exciting time to be part of something like this and there’s so much more to see. 

How do you think we can better integrate across these different disciplines and bring people together? 

We need to take the fear and failure out of innovation and being an entrepreneur, but it is a challenging environment. Remote areas are distant, but we do have possibility to blend this with our incredible natural beauties such as The Great Barrier Reef. 

I also feel that have three tiers of government is a challenge. We really need collaboration and coordination to move forward the next set of work. We need to need to know who the right people are to get in the room, especially in remote areas.

How can people connect with you? 

OQCE social media:

Facebook: QChiefEntrepreneur https://www.facebook.com/QChiefEntrepreneur

Twitter: QChiefEntrepren https://twitter.com/QChiefEntrepren

Instagram: QChiefEntrepreneur https://www.instagram.com/qchiefentrepreneur/

Linked In: Queensland Chief Entrepreneur https://www.linkedin.com/company/11550714

YouTube: Office of the Queensland Chief Entrepreneur https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCA8N8s4G7zTdj3fiYMc5wpg

Sign up to OQCE newsletter via website: https://www.chiefentrepreneur.qld.gov.au/

Leanne Kemp social media:

My Twitter – @leanne_kemp

Instagram: leannemkemp https://www.instagram.com/leannemkemp/

And my LinkedIn – just search for Leanne Kemp


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