Episode Archive

SCP E327 Summer Series: Investing in People and Their Skills in Smart Communities, with Laila Al Hadhrami 

Hi #smartcommunity friends! Welcome back to the Summer Series here on the Smart Community Podcast. As you know, we’re taking a little break from new content over the Australian summer holidays, and instead we are sharing the replays of a few of our all time favourite episodes. This week we’re sharing my interview with Laila Al Hadhrami from Episode 263, which was released in November 2021. 

At the time of recording, Laila was the Smart Cities Development Manager at the National Energy Centre in Oman and ready to talk about her favourite topic, Smart Cities. Laila begins by telling us about her background and her passion for the digital world and Smart Cities, how sustainability drew her into the Smart Communities space and we discuss the importance of knowledge sharing in Smart Communities. 

Laila then shares with us how she is working to build Smart Communities in Oman, what a Smart Community is to her and we discuss the importance of investing in people’s skills and empowering people. Laila then tells us about her work leading Smart City projects at the National Energy Centre, before she discusses how Oman has embraced the Smart Community concept and its evolution over the last 5 years. 

We finish our chat discussing the emerging trends of serving the basic needs first in communities before looking to the future, and the changes the Covid-19 pandemic has brought to our working and online learning lives. 

We will be sure to get Laila back on the show in future for a full update about what she has been up to since we recorded this episode and how our thinking has progressed since our conversation. But in the meantime, 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:

  • Laila’s background in English literature and her masters in online learning
  • Her passion for the digital world and Smart Cities
  • How sustainability drew Laila into the Smart City/Smart Community space 
  • The importance of knowledge sharing in Smart Communities 
  • How Laila has worked to build Smart Communities in Oman 
  • What a Smart Community is to Laila
  • How important it is to invest in people’s skills and empowering them to share their skills, knowledge and experiences 
  • Her work at the National Energy Centre leading Smart City projects 
  • How Oman has embraced the Smart Communities concept and how it has evolved over the last 5 years 
  • The emerging trends of serving the basic needs of communities first, before we look to the future 
  • The changes Covid-19 has brought to working life and online learning 


“What really attracted [me] to this concept of [Smart Communities], [was] sustainability, because if you want people to have that sustainability in something, you have to create a community for them.”

“In the community, it’s about two main things. It’s about the experience, and the knowledge. And you want to empower these two skills, so you can succeed in achieving any project.”

“[Smart Communities] is not just about technology. It’s about our cities, how can we live in our cities happily and safely, then we will use the technology in order to solve some of the current challenges that we have.”

“If you want to create that community, that Smart Community, it’s about empowering these employees, so they can share their knowledge.”

“I [tell my employees], try to invest as much as you can in yourself. If you’re investing in yourself, this will be the best investment for all of us.”

“I joined the smart city platform in 2017. I always call that period the first phase of Smart Cities. It was from 2017 till 2020. So [during] that [time], it was about the knowledge sharing, just the knowledge we’re trying to have in different hackathons, ideas zones. We wanted everyone to start speaking the language, because at that time not everyone was speaking about Smart Cities.”

“There’s no excuse for governments, Countries or organisations to implement [technology] to improve the lives of their employees or their citizens.”

“The basic needs [is what] we have to serve first, the basic needs for ourselves as citizens, then we go to the future.”


National Energy Centre Website 


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

Connect with Laila via LinkedIn 

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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