Hi #smartcommunity friends! In this episode of the Smart Community Podcast, I have an interesting conversation with Michael Healy, the Smart Cities Programme Manager at Christchurch City Council and Michael tells us all about what Smart Communities are up to in Christchurch. Michael starts by telling us about his diverse background and how this led him into several continuous improvement roles, his passion for making people’s lives and communities better through more efficient processes and how he transitioned into his current role with the City of Christchurch.
Michael then shares with us what a Smart Community is to him and the wide range of projects he is currently working on, before sharing with us how the City of Christchurch began its Smart Communities journey. We then discuss the return on investment of Smart Community initiatives, whether they can be measured and how, and should Smart Communities be a core service of governments and councils.
We finish our chat discussing the emerging trends of the agritech space in New Zealand and its progression, aerospace and satellite imagery and how these are used to collect data and lastly micropositioning and its locating accuracy, all of which are contributing to improved Smart Communities. As always, we hope you enjoyed listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it!
What we cover in this episode:
- Michael’s diverse background and how this led him into continuous improvement roles and the Smart Communities space
- His passion for making people’s lives better through more efficient processes, and in particular for Smart Communities, making communities better
- How Michael transitioned into his role as Smart Cities Programme Manager at Christchurch City Council and the complexity of Smart Communities and roles within the space
- What a Smart Community is to Michael
- Some examples of the wide range of projects the City of Christchurch have been working on
- Where the City of Christchurch began its Smart Communities journey, and how they are planning for the future
- The return on investment of Smart Community initiatives, whether it can be measured and how, and should Smart Communities be a core service of governments and councils
- The emerging trends of the agritech space in New Zealand, aerospace and satellite imagery and how these are used to collect data and lastly micropositioning and its locating accuracy
“[My passion] it’s about making changes to people’s lives, fundamentally, and I suppose in the past, that was with people’s work lives, freeing them up to do more interesting work and kind of cutting out the dumb stuff. But with Smart Cities with a community focus, it’s just really about making a better community to live and work and play in.”
“I think the nature of people probably going into Smart Cities is we’ve got this deep FOMO (fear of missing out). We don’t want to miss out on an opportunity, or an ability to make a difference. So I think, well speaking from personal experience, I find it very hard to say no, but I think that’s probably a common attribute to the people who get into this industry.”
“I think people in the Smart City space typically, are very ingenious about getting the most out of [funding]. But having a good sponsor is a huge positive obviously as well. If you get a mayor, or CEO or a GM that’s quite influential, who has your back and shares your vision, then that’s always extremely helpful.”
“Smart Cities has been about the potential, but it’s time we need to actualise that potential and realise it.”
“It can be challenging to measure [return on investment], but a bit like continuous improvement, if you put your head to it, the metrics are there. It’s just agreeing on which metrics you should be measuring.”
“[The finance team] can be your harshest critics and your hardest audience. But you’re competing against core services; keeping toilets, running water, and keeping libraries open, and parks and obviously roads, free portals. So there’s a lot of stuff there that’s competing for public money.”
“I think that’d be the challenge for Christchurch and probably a lot of other councils. Just make [Smart Communities] core. It’s part of what we do. Innovation is just part of our DNA.”
“For countries like New Zealand, a lot of our greenhouse gas and methane [that] is particularly dangerous comes from agriculture. So to hear about people just coming up with very smart and sustainable ways to actually reduce issues like that, that’s probably the most exciting things that I’ve been hearing about recently.”
Episode 124 with Sean Audain
Find the full show notes at: www.mysmart.community
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