Episode Archive

SCP E251 Letting Children Build our Smart Communities, with Jonathan Reichental and Brett Hoffstadt

Hi #smartcommunity friends! In this episode of the Smart Community Podcast I had the pleasure of speaking with both Jonathan Reichental and Brett Hoffstadt, the co-authors of their new book, Exploring Smart Cities Activity Book for Kids. 

Jonathan is currently the founder of advisory, investment, and education firm, Human Future, and also creates online education for LinkedIn Learning. He has written two books on the future of cities: Smart Cities for Dummies and of course Exploring Smart Cities Activity Book for Kids.

Brett Hoffstadt has a unique fusion of a technical and creative background with achievements in aeronautical engineering, project management, corporate innovation initiatives, and music composing.

We talk about Brett and Jonathan’s backgrounds in aerospace engineering and tech respectively, Brett’s passion for encouraging people into STEM careers, Jonathan’s passion for Smart Cities and how the two came to meet to co-author their book. Brett and Jonathan tell us what a Smart Community is to them, we discuss the importance of big and bold ideas in the Smart Communities space and how important children are to contribute to driving change in this space. Brett and Jonathan then give us an overview of their book and how children can benefit from it, before sharing some narratives from the book. We then discuss the importance of creating ‘active citizens’ at an early age by teaching children about cities and communities, how they can contribute to making communities smart and how teachers may benefit from their book as a resource to teach their students. 

We finish our chat discussing the emerging trends of the use of drones and self-driving cars in our communities and more transparency around product and service development in cities. As always, we hope you enjoyed listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it! 

Listen here:

What we cover in this episode: 

  • Brett and Jonathan’s backgrounds in aerospace engineering and tech respectively 
  • Brett’s passion for encouraging young people and people he works with into STEM careers, to unleash their full potential and being a mentor to others
  • Jonathan’s passion for Smart Cities and his book Smart Cities for Dummies
  • How Brett and Jonathan came to meet and co-author their book Exploring Smart Cities Activity Book for Kids
  • What a Smart Community is to Brett and Jonathan
  • The importance of big and bold ideas in the Smart Communities space to drive change, and how children can contribute to this 
  • More about the book Brett and Jonathan co-wrote, what the book is about and how children can benefit from the book 
  • Jonathan and Brett share some of the narratives from the book 
  • Creating ‘active citizens’ at an early age, teaching children about cities and communities and how they can contribute to Smart Communities 
  • How teachers may value from Brett and Jonathan’s book as resources to teach their students 
  • The emerging trends of drones and their futures, the future of self driving cars in our communities and the need to act on these now, and more transparency around product and service development in cities 

Quotes: 

“One of the topics on my list that was a big passion of mine was Smart Cities. And so I was looking for an expert, somebody great to work with, who could help me and work with me to build something together for kids. And so that’s how I introduced myself to Jonathan.” ~ Brett

“A Smart Community is a community that uses the best of technologies for the benefit of all of its citizens.” ~ Brett

“I’m known for the saying, we can’t apply 20th century solutions to 21st century problems. And that’s what drives the work. We have to have new ideas. So I would just add to Brett’s excellent definition, that it’s not only technology at the core of [Smart Communities], of course, that’s driving a lot of change and helping society in many ways. But ideas in general, bold ideas to change the game, I think is really key here.” ~ Jonathan

“Kids can bring a whole new perspective to things and they’re also not weighed down by all the history that we have as adults with years and years of education and assuming things have to be a certain way, they can bring a fresh look at things and we need that fresh look today in our cities.” ~ Brett

“What I didn’t really plan on when we started this project was the suggestion from Jonathan that we make [Exploring Smart Cities Activity Book for Kids] a narrative to talk about the history of cities and cities today. But the bulk of the book is about cities of the future, and of tomorrow with Smart Cities.” ~ Brett

“Hopefully a lot of people appreciate that it’s not all butterflies and roses in the book. We do address and tackle head on, but there’s challenges we have to meet and cities have their challenges with and without technology. So that’s hopefully a message out of the book is that, we really want kids and families to be active participants in the future for themselves and everyone.” ~ Brett

“This is what contemporary technology enables, this democratisation of solutions.” ~ Jonathan

“A whole variety of new tech allows us all to be part of the solution, rather than to complain and point elsewhere, because, there is no other, there’s just us. And helping kids realise that is powerful, really powerful.” ~ Jonathan

“I think what we’re not talking about enough is, actual talking and listening and dialogue on what’s happening.” ~ Brett

Links: 

Episode 77 with Jonathan Reichental 

How To Be a Rocket Scientist by Brett Hoffstadt

Smart Cities for Dummies by Jonathan Reichental

Exploring Smart Cities Activity Book for Kids by Jonathan Reichental & Brett Hoffstadt

Smart City Book Website 

Connect:

Find the full show notes at: www.mysmart.community 

Connect with Brett via LinkedIn or Twitter 

Connect with Jonathan via LinkedIn or Twitter 

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community  

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

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Perk Digital

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