In this episode I have a fascinating chat with Hyma Vulpala, the Deputy Director of Digital Workplace, Research and Academic Information Services at La Trobe University. Now, when we recorded this a few months back Hyma was Head of Digital and Data for Yarra Ranges Council in Victoria, so you’ll hear us refer to that in this episode. Hyma tells us about her background in IT and digital and her passion for the opportunities that the ever-changing digital space provides. She tells us some of the changes she’s seen in the space over the last 2 decades and how the rates of technological change are really increasing, especially in the last 5 years. We discuss why Smart City and Community concepts are so important and will continue to be into the future. Hyma and I talk about the different industries in Australia that are adopting Smart concepts, and the dangers of not embracing digital transformation, including not attracting and retaining the required skills sets. We discuss some of the projects Hyma has been working on at Yarra Ranges Council, and the changes in community engagement, customer service and communication styles that digital technology has facilitated. Hyma tells us about the ways Yarra Ranges Council needed to integrate across different departments in order to fulfil their digital strategy, and the cultural shift that is needed for true digital transformation to occur We finish our chat discussing the emerging trend of industries and employment that will be most affected by technology, and the need to look at support, skill building and employment opportunities, both for those in impacted industries and also for young people just entering the workforce. 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:

  • Hyma’s background in IT and digital and her passion for the opportunities that the ever-changing digital space provides
  • The changes she’s seen in the space over the last 2 decades
  • How the rates of technological change are increasing more and more rapidly
  • Why Smart City and Community concepts are so important now, and will continue to be in the future
  • The different industries in Australia that are adopting Smart Concepts
  • The dangers of not embracing digital transformation, including not attracting and retaining the required skill sets
  • Some of the projects Hyma has been working on at Yarra Ranges Council
  • The changes in community engagement, customer service and communication styles that digital technology has facilitated
  • The ways Yarra Ranges Council needed to integrate across different departments in order to fulfil their digital strategy
  • The cultural shift that is needed for true digital transformation to occur
  • The emerging trend of industries and employment opportunities that will be most affected by technology
  • The need to look at support, skill building and employment opportunities both for the impacted industries and for young people entering the workforce

Quotes:

“My interest is the connectivity; the opportunities to increase the engagement with our community, and [how it] it improves the liveability of people. And also it actually provides opportunities [for] operational efficiencies with organisations. Indirectly, we’re solving community problems or challenges and creating opportunities for them.”

“For me, a Smart City or a Community is harnessing the technological advancements, and opportunities to modernise the way we live and work and improve our engagement with our local community.”

“I would actually say being in this industry for almost two decades, in the last 3-5 years actually, the increase of technology has almost tripled. On average, every human [has] at least 5 devices to manage or to use, and that keeps growing. And that has actually created the amount of data that we currently have, [and] many businesses doesn’t know what to do with it.”

“In any business or any in any industry…if they don’t realise [the benefits of technology], unfortunately, the businesses no longer exist. For example, there are many companies that came like, Uber or Netflix or Spotify, there’s so many companies like that, which came and disrupted the way we used to do things. And now if any business doesn’t really evolve with the change, I don’t think that they would have any future. Before technology or data, or Smart Cities wasn’t there on the board’s main agenda, but now it is becoming one and it is becoming a mandatory skill for all the leaders that they need understand what technology stack they’re investing in, what are the opportunities it’s creating, and they need to understand what it means. Whereas before most of the leaders are actually doesn’t need to have that but it’s now… it’s very, very important for any sector, whether it’s a government or private, that digital capability building or the data capability building is becoming a mandatory skill that they need to harness to keep their jobs or to evolve with the change. This is the future way of working and we need to build that future workforce as well.”

“I would actually say the local governments still need to catch up. They have a huge opportunity to increase or improve the skills in the sector, because they are the direct link to the community and the community is expecting the change. They expect the service in a similar way as corporate or private companies are providing, they don’t really see any difference between a private or public [in that way].”

people are time poor and they want everything done quickly. They and at their convenience. So and I, I actually believe that you know, the technology and that, you know, the opportunities it is creating is actually pushing the boundaries of the service delivery for any organization. And if they don’t adapt sooner than later, I think it is going to be a big risk for them.

“You need to have the right mindset, and the right people with the right skills. If you do not have that coordination, I think it is going to be hard to deliver any project successfully.”

“Digital transformation is not about technology. It is about people and it’s a culture that cultural, you know, that initiative that we need to do in instilling that instilling that new ways of working using the technology. It’s a cultural shift.”

Links:

Yarra Ranges Council DocuSign Case Study

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Connect with Hyma on LinkedIn 

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community

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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.

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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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