SCP E135 The Future of Work: Evolving Career Trajectories and Transdisciplinarity, Anuraj Gambhir

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In this episode I have a really interesting chat with Anuraj Gambhir, an innovation evangelist, business strategist and a philosopher as well. Anuraj tells us in this episode about his really varied career trajectory starting from the telecommunications and mobile technology industry, through to startups and entrepreneurship, and now the holistic Smart Cities space. Anuraj and I discuss the need for meaningful interaction with technology the power of what he calls ‘transdisciplinarity’ or the disruptive creativity that comes from integration across different disciplines and industries. Anuraj also explains his focus on where technology and spirituality meet, and the importance of keeping humanity at the centre of all the tech. Anuraj tells us about a couple of projects he’s been involved with that connect dots between industries and some real use cases of data and predictive analytics helping keep humans safe and well. We finish our chat talking about the emerging trends of neuro-tech and wearable tech being used to improve health outcomes, plus the distributed intelligence in our Smart Regions and Rural Communities. As always I hope you enjoyed listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed making it.

Listen here:

What we cover in this episode:

  • Anuraj’s background in electrical engineering and telecommunications, followed by experiences in the startup and entrepreneurship world and now the holistic Smart Cities space
  • How early concepts of the Smart Home and Intelligent Mobility sparked Anuraj’s interest in Smart Community concepts
  • The need for meaningful interaction with technology
  • The power of what Anuraj calls ‘transdisciplinarity’ or the disruptive creativity that comes from integration across different disciplines and industries
  • Why Anuraj focuses on the place where technology and spirituality meet, especially in this rapidly changing world
  • The importance of keeping humanity at the centre of all the tech
  • The future of work and the skills needed in the Fourth Industrial Revolution
  • The change from VUCA (volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous) to VUCA (vision, understanding, clarity and agility) in the new job market
  • The Japanese philosophy of ikigai and how it relates to the Millennial generation’s approach to work
  • Examples of projects in Anuraj’s career that connect dots between industries and real use cases of data and predictive analytics helping keep humans safe and well
  • Two more new words Anuraj has coined in this innovative, collaborative, increasingly complex world
  • Why we should be building champion networks to drive change, solve big challenges and integrate across disciplines
  • The emerging trends of neuro-tech and wearable tech being used to improve health outcomes
  • The distributed intelligence in our Smart Regions and Rural Communities

Quotes:

“The pace of change has accelerated so rapidly, and we’re living in this time of enormous impact. We’re on the verge of so many technologies that are really going to be creating some amazing benefits for mankind if taken the right way.”

“Humanity is back at the centre of everything again, [because of the] realisation that the technology-enabled world is giving us…so much clutter. It’s really about how do we declutter from the digital elements, which are not so important, and then find deeper meaning?”

“The journey most of the Millennials [are on] and what the next wave of work is going to be about [is realising] that it’s not about a nine to five job, it’s not about just working for a particular corporate. It’s about adding value in a much broader sense and to your own life, which will then actually help the community and other people as well.”

“An [emerging trend] I’ve been looking at is neuro-tech. One of the key areas of a Smart City is quality of life, and the gross happiness quotient is one measure. Then, how can you impact that? It’s so interlinked with…each facet or touch point of life within a Smart City. How can we uplift that? That’s where we’re seeing a lot of research happening in technologies into [like trans-cranial direct current stimulation].”

“Especially in Australia…can we talk about Smart Outback, or Rural Upliftment? The agri-community, which is such a big domain for Australia and we have so much know how in agri-tech. How do we think more broadly and beyond for those remote [areas]? We need to look at that whole community approach, because it’s on that edge that will find that true connectivity.”

Links:

Mobile World Congress

Singularity University

Smart Cap Protocol Life

Fishburners

GoBe 2 Smart Life Band

RelaxVR

Flextronics

Connect:

Connect with Anuraj via LinkedIn

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community

Connect via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook @smartcommpod

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

SCP E134 The Future of Work: the Importance of Body Intelligence in Workplace Culture and Design, with Thea O’Connor

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In this episode, I had a wonderful chat with Thea O’Connor, a body advocate and Workplace Wellbeing and Productivity Advisor. Thea and I met last year at the Bellingen Ignite conference run but the RDA Mid-North Coast and it was great to chat again. In this episode Thea shares with us what sparked her interest in the link between technology and health, and the impacts of workplace culture on health and also productivity. She tells us why we need body intelligence in our personal lives and in our workplaces, as well as why we need more power naps! Thea shares with us some techniques that can improve the way we work into the future and cultivate Smarter workplaces now, as well as some tips and tricks to combat white collar fatigue. We also have a really interesting discussion about the opportunities and challenges in the uptake of designing workplaces to support human bodies and brains, and the dangers of the intense, hustle culture in the startup scene. We finish our chat discussing the emerging trend of designing algorithms and apps with the body in mind, and also the experiment I’m doing to try to break my phone addiction. As always, I hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed making it.

Listen here:

What we cover in this episode:

  • Thea’s background as a dietitian that eventually led to her work now in workplace health
  • What sparked Thea’s interest in the link between technology and health
  • The health impacts of workplace culture and a history of separation of mind + body
  • Why we need body intelligence in our personal lives and in our workplaces
  • The power of the power nap
  • Techniques that can improve the way we work into the future and cultivate Smarter workplaces now
  • The opportunities and challenges in the uptake of designing workplaces to support human bodies and brains
  • The need to factor in adequate recovery time in order to work effectively, and the impact that short term contracts and the gig economy has on this
  • The dangers of intense, hustle culture in the startup scene and the resulting problems with burnout and mental health problems
  • Thea’s tips and tricks to combat white collar fatigue
  • Why we should choose technology based on what we want and need to augment our human experience, instead of letting technology choose for us
  • Breaking our addiction to our phones and the personal experiment Zoe is doing with hers
  • The emerging trend of considering impacts on the human body in the early design of algorithms, apps and emerging technology

Quotes:

“I really became interested in how our relationship with technology affects our physiology. We’ve known for quite a while now that as technology has taken over manual work, that’s really contributed to things like the big rise in overweight. But now we’re seeing more and more impacts of that intense, sedentary screen based computer work. And it’s leading to a whole range of problems, everything from RSI to tech neck…even through to our breathing. I see the many health challenges that technology contributes towards.”

In our work culture, we really almost encourage people to disconnect from their bodies, or to do things like rely on artificial stimulation to get through the day like caffeine, rather than work in tune with its natural rhythms…We need to rebuild trust in the body, learn to live in more body intelligent ways, both for the sake of ourselves, but also our workplace productivity.”

“If we’re talking about how can we cultivate Smarter workplaces, I think the key thing that we need to do is to educate people about the role of the body not just in our physical health, but how it actually underpins some of the key workplace capabilities that we need now and into the future.”

AUDIOGRAM: 9.02 – 10.25 “I’ll ask people, you know, given that technology is taking over cognitive labor now, as well as manual labor, what are some of the key skills and attributes that we’re going to need to thrive, and, you know, the participants will come back with things like the people skills, the communication skills going to be more important than ever, we’re still going to have to talk to clients, manage relationships, inspire our teams, emotional intelligence as part of that. And also name things around, you know, innovation, we all know that you have to come up with good ideas for solving complex problems, we need to be agile, to deal with change, etc, etc. And then when we actually look at what happens to those essential capabilities, when we don’t take care of the body, you actually discover it well, things like communication skills, there’s no way you can be a great communicator, there’s no way you can regulate your emotions. If you’ve only had four hours sleep, you will not be able to think creatively or flexibly. If your prefrontal cortex is effective tiredness and fatigue, the prefrontal cortex, which does all you know, that higher order thinking, that’s the part of the brain, that’s the most vulnerable to tiredness. And I go through and show how actually a body’s physiology actually impacts all of those key capabilities that not just my workshop participants, but futures predict, are going to be the most important. So we have to really get that body intelligence is the basis of those other intelligences.”

“Given that the body is the foundation of our lives, and it’s home to all of those workplace capabilities, we need to take care of how we design our days around the body. We need to use a body-centered design process… In most workplaces, we actually work in direct opposition to the design of our bodies, so we’re undermining our key instrument for living and working.”

“If we were to work in tune with those [body] rhythms, we’re going to have to stop during the working day. And the default position has become work flat out…and learning how to insert some pauses and commas into your day, that’s more of a challenge. It does take a concerted effort between managers and teams to change those norms.”

“We’re learning more about how quite short recovery breaks throughout the day, anything from 1-10 minutes, can actually make a measurable difference to your cognition and also your energy levels. There’s more and more science coming out around that and I think that’s going to be the essential skill for people working in this more flexible, unpredictable economy.”

“We know that burnout is a massive shadow issue and that mental health rates are higher amongst startup entrepreneurs. So it’s a massive issue but the culture is so intense. People don’t want to take time out for anything.”

“When you start to show people the science behind how severely white collar fatigue can impair those essential capabilities, that often does make people stop and think. Then you need a [workplace] culture that’s going to support [changing that].”

“In order to tackle [our attachment to our phones] we do need a degree of self discipline or self regulation and, and we need to expect that it’s going to be uncomfortable… Expect to feel anxious, that’s a normal part of tackling an addiction.”

“The body is our home, our foundation. It’s the only vehicle that we have for living [and working]. As we’re getting all starry eyed about artificial intelligence, we tend to forget how amazingly intelligent the body is and we should be listening to it, learning from it and respecting it.”

Links:

Email apnea

UQ’s Be Upstanding website

Buddhify meditation and mindfulness app

Connect:

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

Connect with Thea on LinkedIn or at Thea.com.au

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community

Connect via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook @smartcommpod

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

SCP E133 The Future of Work: Personal Branding and Talent Retention in the Digital Age, with Sally Illingworth

Episode133_SallyIllingworth_SmartCommunityPodcast_BlogTitleImageIn this episode, I have a truly fantastic conversation with Sally Illingworth, a strategic thinker and calculative action taker who thrives in fast-paced and complex-adaptive environments. Sally tells us about her really interesting background from starting in a pizza shop and working her way up the food retail industry, to moving into management consulting and the world of digital marketing. The theme on the podcast this month is the future of work and this is a brilliant interview to kick us off. Sally and I discuss how her career progressed and why she believes that hard work and a willingness to learn can help anyone make similar moves in their career. We cover the skills that are needed in the future of work, including the importance of creativity and curiosity, as well as the challenges and opportunities facing businesses and organisations trying to attract and retain talent in this digital age. We finish our chat discussing the emerging trends of the speed at which jobs are being created and then becoming commonplace, as well as the challenge of balancing legacy systems and the need for employers to protect their brands with the trend of employees taking control of their career by building personal brands online. As always, we hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed making it.

 

Listen here:

 

What we cover in this episode:

  • Sally’s background starting in a pizza shop and working her way up the food retail industry, moving into management consulting and the world of digital marketing
  • Sally’s passion for inspiring people and helping unlock human potential
  • How her career has evolved from the food retail industry to where she is now and the value of patience, hard work and belief in possibility when learning new things and getting better
  • What a Smart City and Community is to Sally and why it’s so important for us to preserve energy and resources (human and otherwise) so we can reach more potential
  • The future of work and the skills that will be needed in the future more than they are now
  • The challenges and opportunities facing businesses and organisations trying to attract and retain talent in this digital age
  • The importance of curiosity and creativity in the present and future workforce
  • The emerging trend of the speed at which jobs are being created and becoming commonplace
  • The challenge of balancing legacy systems and the need for employers to protect they brands with the trend of employees taking control of their career by building personal brands online

Quotes:

“I’ve developed like this massive passion for just showing people that if you’re willing to put in the work and commit and develop the stamina to do something, then the world is your oyster.”

“One of the most common things that discourages a lot of people is there are unfortunately circumstances where people get sold dreams that this is going to happen overnight. And they don’t talk about the work that I talk about, the stamina required to do something. What happens is people spend money or they put time, effort and motion into things and then this massive change that they were sold doesn’t actually happen [overnight] so they become discouraged and [decide they’re] not even going to bother try.”

“There’s a lot of jobs now that didn’t exist even five years ago. With things like technology, it’s causing a lot of fear for a lot of people because they [worry] what’s going to happen, that all the jobs are going to go, and then we’re going to have this massive unemployment issue.”

“From a company perspective, you’ve got to get really clear what differentiates you, and why would someone want to work with you? In today’s landscape, people want more fulfillment and meaning from their jobs and that’s reflected in retention rates.”

“How can [employers] really harmonize that balance between employing someone but allowing them to have the freedom to really own and build their career beyond their job? It’s a big challenge…How do you as an organization, as business, as a company embrace the fact that people aren’t going to work for you for 20 years?”

“Thanks to things like social media, the power no longer sits with the people with millions and billions of dollars—everyone has a voice, and everyone has the ability to really own what they do. So this power shift is causing a lot of challenges for companies, but for employees as well.”

“The most curious people will become really integral from a strategic perspective in terms of how a lot of this change [in the workforce] due to tech is managed by organisations. Because you need that curiosity to try and solve a problem or challenge. Once you’ve got that curiosity, you need to be able then obtain information, assess things, analyse things…On top of that, you need the creativity to be able to connect the dots and try and find the solution.”

Links:

World Forum for Foreign Direct Investment

5G AI enabled automation white paper

Connect:

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

Connect with Sally via LinkedIn or at sallyillingworth.com

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community

Connect via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook @smartcommpod

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

SCP E132 Using technology to make people happier and healthier, with Declan Edwards

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In this episode I had a fascinating chat with Declan Edwards, Founder and CEO of BU Coaching and non-technical founder of the soon-to-be-launched PocketCoach App. Declan tells us how his background in physical health and wellbeing led to his passion for the mental and emotional health and wellbeing space, and how despite only hearing about the term Smart Cities and Smart Communities this year, he’s right on board with the concept. Declan and I discuss how Smart Cities can make people happier and healthier, and the importance of doing so in order to tap into the vast amounts of human potential that is unfulfilled right now. We talk about the cultural impact of Tall Poppy Syndrome on the willingness of Australia as a country and Australians as individuals to act on big ideas. Declan then tells us about his PocketCoach app, including how it was an advantage to be a non-tech founder and the way his team works remotely. We finish our chat talking about the emerging trend of measuring Gross National Happiness, as Bhutan has done to great success. Other countries are now catching on and it’s a really interesting emerging trend to be wrapping up this month of #selfcareseptember topics on the podcast. As always I hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed making it.

Listen here:

 

What we cover in this episode:

  • Declan’s background in physical health and wellbeing and how it led to his passion for mental health and emotional wellbeing
  • Why he’s on board with Smart Community concepts (even though he only learned about them this year)
  • How Smart Cities can make people happier and healthier
  • The importance of using Smart approaches to unlock the vast amounts of human potential currently unfulfilled
  • How Declan sees Newcastle and also Australia embracing Smart concepts
  • The cultural impact of Tall Poppy Syndrome
  • Why Australia and Australians need to be more comfortable acting on big ideas
  • Projects Declan is working on now, including his PocketCoach app
  • How the app development process has been and why it was an advantage to be a non-tech founder
  • The way Declan’s team uses technology to work remotely
  • The emerging trend of measuring Gross National Happiness, as Bhutan has done to great success

Quotes:

“My background was I was actually originally in the physical health and wellbeing space… I was loving that until I started to feel that what was really missing was the mental and emotional well being, and really having this more holistic and proactive approach to looking after ourselves.”

“I saw the traditional approach to looking at Smart Cities, which is how do we use technology to enhance services. So things like how do we make energy work better? How do we make transportation better? How do we make the actual process of living in and running a city more effective and more enjoyable? And I think that’s incredibly valuable. But I also started thinking how do we also use technology to help people be happier?”

“If we can make things run more smoothly, more efficiently, and we can free up some resources in the form of time, money, energy, and have that space… I think it allows humanity and societies and communities to tap into some potential that’s really unfulfilled at the moment.

If we’re just focused on survival and physiological needs and hitting our basics, there’s really not as much capacity to go into things like community building, self-esteem, and self-worth, and self-actualization. But if we can start using technology and smart cities to cover some of those more fundamental human needs, I get really excited by what does that mean, on the back end of that? What can we then do with those extra resources?”

“Humanity and a lot of societies around the world can still be very reactive. We won’t do anything till it really hurts. But the more we use these technologies and [create] Smart Cities, I think the more we’re going to have the space to start [asking] where do we want to see humanity moving and how can we facilitate that?”

“When people are happy and fulfilled, they have better contributors to society, they are more innovative and creative. It creates this really nice ripple effect [as they’ve seen in] Bhutan, which is the country that now measures Gross National Happiness alongside GDP.”

“I do worry that culturally, Australia does have a bit of a Tall Poppy Syndrome issue. What we really need to see change culturally is [to] not be afraid to think big and encourage big ideas together. Don’t be afraid to adapt and to innovate.”

“What we realised is if we want to change the number of lives we want to change, if we want to leave a mark on the world and really make humanity happier, then technology was the way to do it—to democratize it and to make it more accessible time-wise, money-wise, geography-wise.”

“I think not being in tech has actually almost been a strength at the start, because it’s allowed us to be quite innovative, because I genuinely didn’t know the confines of what was and wasn’t possible.”

“Yes, use technology to make things more efficient. But how can we also use it to make our country happier? And the classic rule of thumb is, what we measure we can manage. Let’s start proactively measuring wellbeing, and use technology to manage it and improve it.”

Links:

SingularityU Global Impact Challenge

IQ Talks Newcastle

Maslow’s Heirarchy

Easy Park in Newcastle

Thinkific

Survey Anyplace

Martin Seligman, the father of Positive Psychology

Connect:

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

Connect with Declan on LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram @declanedwards_bu

Connect with BU Coaching on Facebook and Instagram @bu_coaching or via the website

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community

Connect via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook @smartcommpod

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

SCP E131 Where to next for Smart Cities and Communities? (Part 3)

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I’m back with another bonus episode of the podcast that brings together multiple guests answers to the question “where to next with Smart Cities and Communities?” As it’s #selfcareseptember to round out the theme of health and wellbeing, this time I’m sharing with you the answers from our guests this month.

Listen here:

Previous guests featured in this episode: 

There are a couple of main themes in this episode. You’ll hear these guests talk a lot about using data for various aspects of health and safety within cities, and the privacy implications that come from that, so how do we strike that balance between protecting individual privacy but also using data to keep people safe and well and supported when they’re experiencing health or wellbeing challenges, and as Declan puts it, between Smart citizens and happy citizens.

All the guests agree that it won’t be a one-size-fits-all solution for any place or person, and in fact there are parallels to be drawn between the way medicine is moving to a personalised health care model using a mix of technological advances and greater human engagement in health practices, and the way cities and communities need to use the technology available and also  have great citizen engagement practices.

The other big theme that came through is the question of WHY or the concept of SO WHAT. When thinking about where to next for Smart Cities and Communities, it’s essential that we don’t lose sight of the reasons it matters to have Smarter Cities and Communities in the first place. As I discussed with Declan, we don’t want to end up in that dystopian future so we have to be involved today in order to be creating the places we want to live in tomorrow.

As Dr. Katherine Loflin says, “once you screw it up it’s a lot harder to get it back on track than it is to get it right in the first place.” So let’s aim to get keep that in focus and work towards prevention rather than cure.

You will notice in this episode and also in previous episodes in September, I mention my Churchill fellowship report, which is finally finished and you can read it here, but I will also be doing an update episode of the podcast soon detailing my findings, so stay tuned for that!

As always I hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed making it.

Connect:

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community

Connect via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook @smartcommpod

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

SCP E130 Promoting Health in our Smart Communities, with Sophia Arkinstall

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In this episode of the Smart Community Podcast, I had a fantastic conversation with Sophia Arkinstall. Sophia is the Project Lead at Springfield City Group in the Health, Education and Smart City Division, and she’s also an MBA candidate at the University of Queensland. Sophia is passionate about creating healthier and happier cities through creativity, sustainability and design. In this episode, we discuss how we can bring that health aspect into the Smart City and why it’s so important to do so, as well as the lessons on this that Sophia has learned from visiting various countries and cities around the world, including France, Switzerland, Denmark and the United Arab Emirates. Sophia also tells us how she sees Australia embracing Smart Community concepts, and about the learning city projects she’s working on right now to help with the Smart People aspect of Smart Cities. We finish our chat discussing the emerging trends of the economic impact of sustainable practices, and the health impacts of commuting. This is the fourth episode in my #selfcareseptember series about wellbeing in our cities and communities, and I hope you’ve enjoyed it. As always I hope you enjoy listening to this episode as much as I’ve enjoyed making it!

Listen here:

What we cover in this episode:

  • Sophia’s background in public health and her passion for healthier, happier cities
  • What sparked Sophia’s interest in the Smart Community concept and what a Smart City means to her
  • Why it’s so important to bring health into the Smart City and Community
  • The pros and cons of how Australia is currently embracing
  • The lessons Sophia has learned from visiting various countries and cities around the world, including France, Switzerland, Denmark and the United Arab Emirates
  • The power of policy and top down directives, as well as bottom up approaches
  • Some of the projects Sophia is working on right now, including a Learning City project to help with the Smart People aspect of Smart Cities
  • The emerging trends of the economic impact of sustainable practices, and the health impacts of commuting

Quotes:

“Public health for me was all about healthy urban areas. And that’s how public health really started—with eradicating disease and communicable disease, particularly through hygiene in cities…Health is [about] 80% derived from our environment, so our socio economic status, and where we live. Cities really [have] a big impact on that.”

“[A Smart City is] all about the people. I’m looking at cities in a way where the systems and the tech actually has a direct impact on the health and the happiness, the wellness of the people who live there.”

“The fundamentals of a healthy and Smart City still are so important in many parts of the world, for instance sewerage and hygiene. From an Australian perspective…we [need to] take into account the future and the current trends around disease. We need to do more to prevent illness, and cities play a huge role in that through health promotion.”

“Globally, health is going in a way that is more digital, more personalised medicine. There is an aspect for cities to play a part in that, particularly from the health promotion perspective. Using data to understand how people commute to work, or how much time they are spending commuting, how many people are using the parks and walkways; that sort of data really can help cities understand the health and the wellness of the citizens, and how active and utilised particular zones are.”

“That Smart People aspect of what you need for a Smart City is obviously a really engaged population, where people have the ability to engage in lifelong learning and in every aspect of their life, whether that be at school, at home, in the community, in parks, in libraries: everywhere is an opportunity within the space to learn.”

[audiogram] “Sustainability really has an economic impact on us in terms of investment in the long term and now. I think some people, some businesses and cities think of sustainability as sort of like a difficult thing to hurdle in the immediate short term. But realistically, people are investing in companies and cities and initiatives that take into account sustainability. Because there’s less risk in a company or an initiative that has thought about the long term sustainability from an environmental perspective on that project. So that has big impacts on finance. And I know, for instance, from the startup ecosystem, if your startup doesn’t consider the environmental impact, or have a culture that supports a real way to deal with the environmental impact of whatever it is that you’re doing, it’s harder to get funding.”

“We should be talking about commuting a little bit more… it’s about having services, employment, schools, and all the facilities that you need close by. Because [commuting] has a real impact on people’s health and wellness, and not just their physical health, but their mental health, too.”

Links:

Dubai World Expo 2020

City Deals Policy

OnG French multinational

Inaugraaul Festival of Learning

Springfield learning city https://www.greaterspringfield.com.au/greater-springfield-a-learning-city/

Sophie’s videos on LinkedIn

Paris, ESSEC business school? ESSEC Business School (Paris)

Barcelona Super Block?

30 minute cities

Connect:

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

Connect with Sophia via LinkedIn, on Twitter @sophieark or check out her videos on YouTube

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community

Connect via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook @smartcommpod

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

SCP E129 Smart Communities that help people thrive, with Katherine Loflin

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In this episode I had a brilliant chat with Dr. Katherine Loflin, an award-winning, internationally-recognized trailblazer in place science, earning her the moniker of The City Doctor. Katherine tells us about her background in social work and why that’s so powerful in the place making space. Katherine and I discuss the idea of Smart Community as a deliberate community, and why it’s important to be aware when there may be a tale of two cities happening, where one part of the community is thriving while others are just surviving. We explore how fundamental place is to human existence and wellbeing, and the interconnection between place and work. Katherine then tells us about some of the work she does as the Place Doctor, including with cities charting attachment to place, with corporations to help them attract and retain talent, and with Amazing Place Productions, which tells the stories of places. Katherine explains how work-life balance has become more of a focus for citizens and why we need an alternative to the needs-based or social argument when it comes to getting governments and organisations on board with Smart Community concepts. We finish our conversation discussing the need for values-based and common-ground-based conversations around difficult and divisive community issues. As always I hope you enjoyed listening to this episode as much as I enjoyed making it.

Listen here:

What we cover in this episode:

  • Smart Community as a Deliberate Community, and the power of awareness
  • The tale of two cities, and the scale of surviving to thriving
  • Why place is fundamental to human existence and wellbeing
  • How the US is currently embracing Smart concepts
  • The interconnection between place and work, between place and talent attraction/retention
  • Projects Katherine is currently working on as the City Doctor and the systemic power of the Place Doctor model
  • How the digital layer has changed our perception of place and flexible work options
  • The work life balance switch that has occurred from live to work to work to live
  • Why the needs-based or social argument doesn’t work and what we need to be doing instead to get government and organisations on board
  • The emerging trend of talking about our failures and getting scientific and transparent
  • The need for values-based and common-ground-based conversations around difficult and divisive community issues

Quotes:

“For me, the Smart Community is the deliberate community, the community that really understands the dynamics that affect how optimized they are as as a place and how well people are thriving within it…How can communities be very forward facing and understanding the power of their community in a very Smart way, as far as design but also, how it can be the place for humans to thrive?”

“When I talk to communities, I talk about a scale of surviving to thriving, and [is] there A Tale of Two Cities, if you will, where if you’re in this certain category, demographically, you’re experiencing the city in a [very] different way than somebody who’s [in another] category.”

“We don’t really realise that everything about our lives, from the moment we wake up till the time we go to sleep to how well we sleep overnight, is affected by where we live. I mean, it is a fundamental concept to the human existence”

“I do research and practice in actually helping cities start to track how attached residents are to their place. I am delighted and to see that so many mayors…are starting to look at attachment-based metrics as part of their report card that they study about themselves that they deliver to their communities every year. So, as much as economic growth is charted, attachment is starting to be charted.”

“For the first time in our country, young people will choose place over job. And that one simple change in the way that people are looking for jobs, going to jobs…It has really changed the corporate conversation a lot to understand that the lines between workplace and actual place are very blurred, and they have to dig in around those issues [to attract and retain talent].”

“People still identify and attach to a geography now…Even though technology plays a completely different role than it used to, it hasn’t replaced the need for people to still be human, and be able to interact with other humans in such a way that actually helps them grow and be better humans themselves.”

“You can’t guilt a local government into joining a place-based movement by saying this community is being left behind and this community is being left behind. What you can do that I think is powerful is that you show them why it’s in their best interest to behave this way.”

“[Something] We’re not talking about as much as we should is our failures. I think that we are so excited and motivated to show a track record of progress around place-based initiatives that we hide when something didn’t work the way we thought it would, and implementation didn’t go the way we wanted it to.”

Links:

Soul of the Community, by Knight Foundation

Amazing Place Productions

Connect:

Connect with Katherine on LinkedIn or at City-Doctor.com

Connect with me via email: hello@mysmart.community

Connect via LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook @smartcommpod

The Smart Community Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.