Episode Archive

SCP E331 Happy 5th Birthday to the Smart Community Podcast, with Zoe Eather and Ellen Ronalds Keene

Hi #SmartCommunity friends and welcome to this very special bonus episode to celebrate the Smart Community Podcast’s 5th Birthday! Our Podcast Producer Ellen Ronalds Keene jumps into the host seat to interview Zoe about the history of the podcast, the ways it has changed Zoe’s life and the impact it has had on others. Ellen and Zoe discuss the network effect of the podcast and the ways the Smart space has matured over the last 5 years. Zoe shares why she is excited about seeing Smart being embedded in boring government processes, and the opportunities and challenges of the ‘collision of professions’ in the space. Zoe and Ellen finish their chat sharing what they are looking forward to including Smart concepts becoming general public conversations and a personal example of why this work is so important. Thanks so much for tuning in over the years, #SmartCommunity friends! We hope you enjoyed listening to this episode as much as we enjoyed making it!

Listen here: 

What we cover in this episode:

  • Some of the reasons Zoe started the podcast back in February 2018
  • The power of connecting digitally and connecting people across the Smart space 
  • The history of the podcast, including the name change from Smart Cities to Smart Communities
  • The network effect and why Zoe continues to podcast long term
  • Ways Zoe has seen the Smart Space maturing over the last 5 years 
  • How great it is that Smart is being embedded in boring government processes
  • The ongoing journey of solving big problems facing humanity and the planet
  • The opportunities and challenges of the “collisions of professions” in the Smart space 
  • The importance of learning from each other and how we share our learnings intentionally
  • Where to next for Smart Cities and Communities 
  • How Smart concepts have become general public conversations 
  • Why we need to keep bringing creativity into the Smart Community space 
  • Ellen’s personal example of why liveable, sustainable and accessible places are so important


“[My Churchill Fellowship] was something that came about because the podcast led into that, right? It was like a stepping stone as well, to be able to share my learnings on the podcast, but also then build out my itinerary based on who I’d spoken to on the podcast as well. So it’s the gift that keeps on giving. And to be five years, it’s pretty special.” ~ Zoe 

“When you started the podcast, it was actually called Smart City Podcast. And within that first 12 months, you rebranded to Smart Community Podcast. And then there is just so much still to talk about and so many people working in this space doing really interesting and also often quite niche things…And then I think what your podcast does quite well is kind of go broad but not nearly as deep.” ~ Ellen 

“What I love the most is when podcast guests will reach out to me and say, ‘Oh, through the podcast, I was asked to do this, that and the other.’.. I love that so much, because it means that we’re creating impact too through what we’re doing. And it ripples out right, and then that then will ripple out further. So I just think that’s really exciting.” ~ Zoe 

“It is networking on steroids for me. But it’s also this gift that keeps on giving to everyone else involved, whether you’re listening, or whether you’re just following on our social media to just absorb it that way. Or whether you’re a guest, or working with a guest… And that’s why I continue to do it. One, I love having the conversations, but two, just that network effect and that ripple out effect is really special.” ~ Zoe 

“But now, when we’re talking about it, it’s not the ‘Smart’ stuff in the corner, it’s weaving it through, and it’s embedding it. And when we’ve got government agencies actually embedding “Smart”—which means, technology solutions, foundational digital connectivity, and an ability to collect, store, manage, analyze data to make better decisions—then we know that this is being invested in now, not as something shiny. It’s a must have not a value add.” ~ Zoe 

“Awareness leads to focus, which then leads to action. And you can see that playing out. I think we’re in that wave now, of the awareness. So then what’s this next part of focusing, and then the action? So I think, for me, it’s exciting to see this stuff getting embedded in the boring government processes.” ~ Zoe 

“I think that Smart conversation perhaps was accelerated by the pandemic. But also obviously, it created a whole bunch of new problems that we had to solve. But that’s the whole point. We’ve got to solve these problems for the humans that live on this planet, and hopefully solve the problems for the planet too.” ~ Ellen



Connect with Ellen on LinkedIn or hello@perkdigital.com.au 

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community

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

Podcast Production by Perk Digital


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