SCP E72: The Empowerment of Smartivists, with Tom Mueller

SmartCityPodcast_BlogTitleImage_Episode72 Tom Mueller

In this episode of the Smart City Podcast, I had a fascinating conversation with Tom Mueller, an Economic Geographer and one of the cofounders of Bee Smart City. He shares with us how Bee Smart City came to be, what they do and a bit about their database connecting Smart City providers with people seeking their services. We also discuss the fact that Smart Cities really needs to be acknowledging that it’s not always about the big cities, but municipalities of any size, which you might have noticed is an increasingly common conversation on the podcast, so watch this space….

Tom also shares his perspective on how Germany is embracing Smart concepts and the opportunities and challenges of this new paradigm globally, as well as the emerging trend of bottom-up initiatives and empowering Smart Citizens, who Tom calls Smartivists. 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:

  • The story of Bee Smart City’s 3 founders and what sparked their interest in the Smart City space
  • What sparked Tom’s interest in the Smart City space and
  • Tom’s definition of a Smart City and why he believes it’s so important
  • Why Tom believes we misunderstand the term Smart and misuse the term City
  • The bottom up approach and why the local level is so powerful
  • How Germany is currently embracing the Smart City concept and the recent acceleration of the movement there
  • What Bee Smart City is, and how and why they set up their database
  • The need for Cities to embrace collaboration and public-private partnerships
  • The empowerment of Smartivists and the rise of purpose-driven (as opposed to tech-driven) change
  • What the public sector can learn from the private sector about listening to customers and stakeholders
  • The emerging trend of the power of bottom up initiatives
  • What do bees have to do with Smart Cities


It always fascinated and also satisfied me to see how future-oriented projects and initiatives can benefit citizens, companies and the local government itself.

Altogether we have been working a lot in spacial development (whether it’s real estate or economic development) and the technology you see in the Smart City movement connects us to each other and we want to utilise this development to tackle the challenges cities have today.

We believe we can improve cities and communities by tapping into collective intelligence to leverage the best solutions and also new methodology to drive efficiency, sustainability, equality and economic prosperity. These are the big challenges that we have in cities and communities across the globe.

If you want to really change the development and successfully tackle all the problems that we have currently then it needs to be done at the local level….You need the public and private sector for this. [Cofounder] Bart is a perfect example for how the real estate industry is adopting technology to increase liveability and also support the development of cities on the local level.

Our perspective, our definition. For us the Smart City concept describes the ability for utilising the capacity of a city or community to create and adopt solutions for overcoming challenges and seizing opportunities that help transform the places we call home…to a more prosperous and more liveable place for all stakeholders.

What defines how ‘Smart’ a city is is the ecosystem of solutions that are implemented over time…It’s an evolutionary process. It is kind of a continuous development circle, in which a city or community steadily improves its services and processes for all stakeholders, and for the citizens that live in the city.

We believe it’s not purely about technology. Often Smart is explained as the technology and data, but it’s more about the Smart way of implementing solutions, which is more important than the tech. How well do you know your customer’s need? That’s the measure of success.

If you look at Smart City from a more technology perspective [in Germany]… in embracing advances in digital technologies, and this holds true especially for the public sector, the adoption of innovation has been lagging behind…Germany, has a strong security mentality and if you take our federal system into account, you will have a second reason why processes take a lot longer than in smaller or more centrally governed nations.

What we have learned is that we always talk about the big challenges ahead, but on the operational level what everybody is looking for is about lessons learned, is about proven solutions, and…we need to share best-practices globally. That’s what Bee Smart City is about, how we want to accelerate the development of Smarter Cities and Communities globally by enabling and facilitating sharing of best practices globally.

Those collaborative efforts, whether it’s government internally or external with private parters, need to be nurtured. And we see that often cities believe they know everything and this is pretty dangerous thinking if you want to make progress, because you need all the different stakeholders, and you need to be open and transparent about what you do and take into account the needs of the other stakeholders.

Governments need to take into account the knowledge and passion of local champions and citizens willing to support the development of Smart Cities and really recognise the value that this intelligence of the citizens brings into processes, because without this human-centric perspective it is a waste of money and a waste of a lot of different resources and it won’t be possible to create sustainable and working solutions.


Connect with Tom and Bee Smart City at or find them socials @beesmartcity

Connect with me via email:

Connect via Twitter and Facebook @smartcitypod

The Smart City Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.


Sparking an interest in 3D printing, with Stephanie Piper

SmartCityPodcast_BlogTitleImage_Episode71 with Stephanie Piper

In this episode of the Smart City Podcast, I interview Stephanie Piper, 3D printing enthusiast, and the Community Engagement Coordinator at the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba, where she runs their Maker Space. In this episode we discuss Steph’s journey from studying biomedicine and vaccine development, to being involved in the 3D printing space and why she’s so passionate about the possibilities and opportunities 3D printing technology provides for Smart Cities.

Steph explains what 3D printing actually is, and what kind of people and projects are happening at her Maker Space, as well as some of the ways 3D printing can be used to help recycle and reuse plastics, and implications for the circular economy in these particular areas. Steph shares her passion for educating people about this technology, and her views about integrating across disciplines, governments and academia, as well as some of the emerging trends in the 3D printing and maker space arena.

What we don’t discuss in this episode is something exciting that has happened for Stephanie since we recorded this interview back in September. Along with a team she formed at the Toowoomba Startup Weekend Women, Steph has started a business to help engage girls in STEM and to teach electronics in primary schools. It’s called Spark Girls and they were the winning team at the Toowoomba Startup Weekend Women, which then saw them head to the Asia Pacific Start Up Weekend Women finals in Bali a couple of weeks ago. Very excitingly, Spark Girls emerged the winner in Bali as well, so that is a wonderful achievement and just the beginning for this fledgling business.

Hopefully we can catch up with Steph again in the new year to hear more about how she’s educating the next generation and encouraging girls to be engaged in STEM. But in the meantime, this is a great conversation about the possibilities of 3D printing. 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:

  • Steph’s background in biomedicine and vaccine development, and her journey into 3D printing
  • What sparked her interest in 3D printing and also the Smart City space
  • What a Smart City means to Steph and why she thinks the concept is important
  • Some of the projects Steph has seen in the Smart City space that excite her
  • The Maker Space Steph runs and the projects she and others work on there
  • Why Steph is so passionate and believes it’s so important to teach others what’s possible with 3D printing and other technology
  • What 3D printing and digital fabrication actually is and the opportunities it presents for the circular economy
  • Integrating across disciplines, academia and government via community organisations
  • The emerging trends of community-led projects and efforts in this space


I had a go at building my own 3D printer from a kit, that was the only way you could do it back then affordably. And I got put on a research team at QUT, looking at 3D printable biodegradable scaffolds for implantation.

Now I’m the Community Engagement Coordinator at the University of Southern Queensland in Toowoomba, and my job is to run the Library Maker Space, which I absolutely adore. So I still get to follow my passion of working with 3D printing and I get to enjoy sharing my passion with others in that space, which is pretty exciting.

To me a smart city is a place where it’s rigged out with enough sensors and enough inputs that it can really work for you. I’m particularly excited about the area of the circular economy and how we can really make that useful to us in that sense, but yeah there’s so many great projects going on in this space which makes me happy to see as well. 

It’s important because we need to keep progressing and keep growing in this space. We can’t just sit back and stagnate and say, “This is good enough”. I feel like we really need to power forward and make sure that we can help people as best we can with the technology that we can provide, and part of that, part of where eI want to sit in with all this, is making sure that people can understand the technology and feel confident in using it. 

I’m really keen on 3D printing and using that technology to do innovative and new things. I’ve been really keen on the idea of exploring textiles with 3D printing recently. Not many people are looking at textiles meaningfully with the technology because most people that own a 3D printer for hobbyist sake are guys, and of course textiles are usually a particularly feminine pursuit, and I feel like we have a lot of room to grow and explore in that area. 

It’s so important to learn digital fabrication skills because there’s so much potential with what you can do with it, and we’ve grown so much from the traditional manufacturing techniques that we had to originally employ. 

I tend to find that many of the classes, the people who attend them are often teachers. The scenario they tend to find themselves in if they come to a 3D printing workshop, is they’ve had enough budget or gotten some grant money from somewhere to buy a 3d printer but it’s stayed in its box for a year and no-one knows how to use it, which is so saddening to my soul to hear about. 

I feel like sometimes the technology moves to fast for us and especially for the average teacher or average person to try and catch up with it, so I want to make sure I can share my knowledge and passion and ideas for what you can do with it, and make learning a lot more fun and easy for the teachers to embrace with the students. 

There’s quite a few other different ways of digital fabrication…those involve traditional subtractive manufacturing where you start with a block of something and you chip away to make your object. 3D printing’s a bit special because it is additive manufacturing, in contrast, where there’s no material wastage, you have a huge amount of freedom in what shapes you can create, there’s no slowing down for complexity, so you can get a high degree of complexity quite fast, and it’s a pretty nice technology.

It’s going to be a slow game, I think, integration across the board in that way. I’m sort of really excited anyway for the integration hopefully at the community level, where you have a lot of different businesses locally, especially with recycling of goods. I feel like theres’ a lot of potential for reducing need through Smart ways of working by working with these community groups. 

I’m excited about the implications for the circular economy in these particular areas as well as the Brisbane Hacker Space. I feel like not many people know about them because they are so grass roots driven and so volunteer orientated that they don’t have a budget to advertise. It really is a word of mouth thing. It’s a well kept secret. 


Inmoov robotics project that one of Steph’s Maker Space members is working on

The WA plastic bottle reprocessing facility Steph mentioned is Greenbatch

Filastruder and Protocycler are both versions of recycling plastic into 3D printer filament


Connect with Steph at her blog or on Twitter @sjpiper145 and find out more about her new business Spark Girlz at their website.

Connect with me via email:

Connect via Twitter and Facebook @smartcitypod

The Smart City Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

Getting Data Sharing Right in the Smart Community, with Geof Heydon

SmartCityPodcast_BlogTitleImage_Episode70 Geof HeydonIn this episode of The Smart City Podcast, I have a great chat with Geof Heyden, Associate at data sharing company CreatorTech and Co-Founder of the IOT Alliance in Australia. Geof shares his background in the telecommunications industry, and how that sparked his interest in the Smart City space. He is passionate about helping all levels of government to really understand the importance of data and data sharing in a digital economy, and how we all need to be on the same page with protecting and sharing appropriately sometimes quite sensitive data. We also discuss the importance of councils and state governments, taking stock of what’s happening internally first in order to make Smart decisions about what Smart applications are needed, and the interesting evolution in thinking going on about what makes a liveable city or community. Geof shares his thoughts on the patchiness of Australia’s adoption of Smart concepts, and explains how the IoT Alliance came to be. We also discuss why collaboration across industries and disciplines is critical for us to actually be solving the problems we have today, with or without IOT. 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:

  • Geof’s background in the telecommunications industry and his passion for data in the digital economy
  • The implications and applications of the third phase of the internet and the decreasing cost of sensors
  • Four-step journey of evolution of a Smart City is and why the concept is so important
  • Why smaller regions and communities are often better equipped than big cities to do liveability and mobility
  • The patchiness of Australia’s adoption of Smart initiatives and the cultural challenges for Australia to compete in the digital, global economy
  • The importance of the internet for anything Smart and why government investment is so critical
  • Projects Geof is currently working on including data sharing policies for local governments and sensor networks in regional areas
  • How the IOT Alliance came to be and what they do
  • Why solutions can only come in the digital age when we get out of silos and collaborate
  • The emerging trends of 5G, cyber security and data sharing for innovation
  • The opportunities and challenges of sensitive data-sharing initiatives like the My Health Record
  • The importance of transparency in decision making (rather than technical detail) in building community trust


Now we’re deeply into the third phase of real pervasiveness of the Internet where it’s not just people and computers being connected, it’s sensors that are getting lower and lower cost…and the real excitement is around all the new applications and services that these sensors and networks enable.

If you ask 100 people [what a Smart City is] you’d get more than 100 answers, so we already have quite a dilemma on our hands.

Really interesting things start to emerge after [we get out of our silos]…and that is when data from something like the [Smart lighting and waste management] example start to be brought together so that you can innovate with new ideas that use both sets of data from completely different parts of the business.

Councils and governments have got to learn how to use data, and they’ve got to learn how to use it starting with baby steps. And those baby steps are the ones that are happening right now.

There’s lots of experimenting going on, there’s lots of silo-ed projects delivering great results, but they’re all doing old things in new ways. What we’ve got to get to is the new things in new ways, which we haven’t really got to yet.

We have a massive challenge in many of the Australian cities…most of the growth and development in our cities over the last 100 years has happened through the age of the car and we’ve just about become so dependent on it, and designed suburbs be nothing more than dormitories with cars, that people aren’t walking because they’re just too far away. And we’re now very dependent on cars, and that doesn’t make for a liveable city.

Most people don’t live and work in the same council’s footprint, so you can’t even develop a service that makes much sense if you’re working on it within one council…Mobility as a service will never work if we can only do it one local government area at a time.

When you look at something as fundamental as our national broadband network, when that idea was first being talked about it…we were in the top 10 in the world in broadband connectivity. Right now, Australia ranks 66 and that’s pretty sad and very hard to recovery from, because there are 65 other countries that have better internet than we’ve got and that’s a critical enabler for Smart anything.

As councils start gathering data from all of these different soloed businesses, the first challenge is can the even share it within their own silos, let alone can they share it with their ecosystem of external partners?

The really critical thing is the ecosystems you have to develop to make solutions happen… Now, if you’ve got a problem that you’re trying to solve…but in many cases, those problems can be addressed by an Internet of Things type of solution.

Where do you fund things from when the real excitement is happening in between two silos? That’s all very tricky for local governments to handle.

The importance of how you secure and protect data, and how you share data and how you recognise that sharing data is such an enabler for innovation, is something we haven’t talked enough about at all in [Australia]… Data sharing is fundamental to our future innovation.

The community is pretty well-educated around information, but it’s also incredibly lazy. Almost all of the problems that we see on denial of service attacks and things, are caused by people not even bothering to change default passwords and that’s a fundamentally flawed thing to do, and nobody should be silly enough to do that, but most of the population truly is and that’s really sad.

It’s an incredibly complex thing to appropriately handle protecting human rights and protecting the safety of that information and sharing it appropriately with the right agencies under the right conditions, and I don’t believe there’s anybody in the community who has got the patience to sit down and work through all of those issues. But what they do need is some confidence that the people who are working on it will do the right thing, and that’s a tough thing when you’ve got a government who people broadly don’t like to trust right now.


Connect with Geof via email and find the IOT alliance via their website.

Connect with me via email:

Connect via Twitter and Facebook @smartcitypod

The Smart City Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

The importance of privacy protections in the Smart City, with Nicole Stephensen

SmartCityPodcast_BlogTitleImage_Episode69 Nicole StephensenIn this episode of the Smart City Podcast, I had a really interesting conversation with Nicole Stephenson, a Privacy Consultant originally from Canada but now based in Ipswich, Queensland. Nicole shares why privacy is such an important part of the Smart City conversation, and one that currently isn’t being embraced enough across the board. We discuss how Australia is currently embracing the Smart City concept and how we could still have a data driven and tech-enabled community that balances the privacy and security of citizen data.

Nicole explains some of the projects she’s currently working on, including her role with the Internet of Things Security Institute, an Australian Not-For-Profit organisation in the privacy space. We also talk about privacy legislation in Australia and across the world, such as GDPR — Europe’s General Data Protection Regulation, and what that means for the Smart City space here and abroad. Nicole explains the biggest mistakes a Smart City project or agency can make when it comes to privacy and why open data isn’t actually in opposition but can be enabled by privacy policy. We finish our conversation discussing the emerging trend of the changing views about privacy across different groups and generations in this Smart City space and the context of the 2018 digital world. 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:

  • Nicole’s background and her passions
  • What a Smart City means to Nicole and why privacy is so important to the concept
  • How Australia is currently embracing the Smart City concept
  • Some projects Nicole is working on in the privacy space
  • Privacy legislation and what it means for Australian Smart Cities
  • The biggest mistakes that are being made by agencies and organisations when it comes to privacy
  • How open data and privacy policies interact
  • The changing views on privacy in this digital world


Because Smart Cities are, to a large extent, about having and using and sharing data, which includes the personal information of citizens within those cities, the concept has always made fairly loud pings on my privacy radar.

Privacy concerns are going to pop up in relation to Smart Cities, they’re either going to be real (where there’s an actual risk) or they’ll be perceived (where there’s a worry or fear within the community)…I think both have the power to derail community trust.

Smart Cities are all about using the data of our urban environment and our citizens to make life better, more connected, more accessible, faster, cleaner, safer and sustainable into the future.

Without adequate consideration of privacy, which for our cities is not just a normative matter, it’s actually one that’s based in law, then there’s a real concern that privacy rights of citizens will be overshadowed by the desirability of using cost effective, sparkly data-driven tech.

The premise of the Smart City is that it helps us leverage technology within our cities for social good: sustainability, resilience, equity. …I think that because so many large cities are struggling to meet the challenges of sustained urban growth and regional centres are struggling to attract external investment and drive prosperity or liveability for their communities, Smart Cities offer an opportunity to improve lives. Privacy though is exceptionally important because…it ensures that those making deicions in relation to Smart Cities have the full picture, that they understand we’re not just dealing with data here but we’re dealing with data that’s about a person and because of that the person is going to have expectations about what happens to that data over its life cycle, from the time that it’s collected right through to the time that it has finished being used and it’s destroyed.

Communities want to, in fact I think they need to, engage about how they live and how to make life better…what I’d like to see now though is a movement toward a model more like what we’ve seen coming out of Seattle Washington, where the Smart City is supported by the services of a person called the Chief Privacy Officer. That’s a critical role. …So there can be a great data-driven tech-enabled community balanced by the frank and fearless advice of a privacy professional who is embedded and who is concerned with the protection of citizen data in accordance with established privacy rules.

It’s important that all Australian municipalities remember that they are required to  comply with the privacy principles that are set out in the legislation that is relevant in their state.

When cities intend to do something that involves personal information…they need to do that in accordance with the rules around how personal information must be collected, used, stored or secured, when it can be disclosed or shared and so forth.

Successful Smart City initiatives will absolutely rely on an integrated approach and I think a key step is going to be [removing] silos…cities aren’t going to become Smart in isolation.

In both the Smart Cities and IOT spaces, I feel that tech is far outpacing critical thinking in terms of privacy. With Smart Cities, I do see a lot of play in the cybersecurity arena, as in how do we secure our tech and how do we secure the data we’ve harvested, however I’d say the complementary privacy debate is still largely missing.

[The biggest mistake is] not recognising that we have privacy laws in place that have established the minimum benchmark that cities need to set in terms of protecting personal information through its life cycle.

I don’t think open data and privacy are competing, I think that they are different things and they each can be enabled by the other…I do think though that it requires some consideration and an understanding of, for example, what is personal information, to ensure that that information at a particular level of detail isn’t made available for the world at large.

The GDPR is the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation and that is a really exciting development in privacy law from my perspective because it sets the benchmark really high for the collection and handling of personal information.

Data collection and sharing that’s necessary for operating Smart Cities does raise concerns about privacy and security of community information, personal information…it’s not as exciting as cool tech when it comes to a talking point though. So I find that [it] gets far too little air time and I’d like to see that change.


The Future of Privacy Forum — Smart City Tool

Seattle Washington

Internet of Things Security Institute

Information Privacy Act 2009



Find the full show notes:

Connect with Nicole at

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The Smart City Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

Being Smart for the Local Community, with Khal Asfour – Mayor of the City of Canterbury Bankstown

SmartCityPodcast_BlogTitleImage_Episode68 KhalAsfourHello #smartfriends! This week we are going to release one episode every day Monday to Friday to celebrate Smart Cities Week. This first episode of the Smart City Podcast this week is with Mayor Khal Asfour, who is the Mayor of City of Canterbury-Bankstown. I had a really great conversation with the mayor about what the Smart City concept means to him, which is about solving real problems for the community and also about making government processes more efficient and providing savings to the community. The mayor shares insights on the trip he recently took to the US to look at Smart Cities, and what he’s brought back to Australia, as well as the Canterbury-Bankstown roadmap that has just been released and the importance of having a strategy. We also talk about some of the other projects and initiatives the council is working on as well as emerging trends, including foundational processes and opening up the data. The mayor is also very keen to collaborate across the different disciplines and with other councils as well.

Listen Here:

What we discuss in this episode:

  • The Mayor’s background on local council and what sparked his interest in the Smart Community space
  • What Digital Equity is and why it’s so important to the Council of Canterbury-Bankstown
  • The purpose of a Smart City or Smart Community and the reason we need to keep purpose and readiness front of mind in the conversation
  • The problems facing local councils and how Smart concepts can offer solutions
  • How Australia is embracing this concept so far
  • The roadmap Canterbury-Bankstown has put together and the need for strategic planning
  • The three main categories Canterbury-Bankstown is focusing on with their projects going forward
  • The Mayor’s thoughts on how we can better integrate across different disciplines and organisations
  • Some key takeaways from the Mayor’s Smart Cities tour in the US
  • The need for connectedness and engagement with community in a variety of ways
  • Foundational processes that are underpinned by open data as an emerging trend


I’ve always looked for things that we can do as an organisation and as a level of government to help our community, and last year I was lucky enough to go on a Smart City tour to the United States, and I got to see some of the real benefits…and it really did drive home to me the importance of being able to keep up with technology, and also how data and technology can really help the way we run our organisation and hopefully deliver good things for our community for today, and importantly for the future generations.

[Digital Equity is] to make sure that everybody comes along for the ride and that everybody has the same access and there isn’t a division between those who can afford access and those who can’t.

[A Smart City] is doing things more efficiently…for the betterment of the community, to make our residents lives easier, and if that’s through technology then so be it. We’re not doing this so we can have the shiniest new toy on the block.

[A Smart City means] an organisation being more efficient, that saves money in the long term and that money can be reinvested into services to the community; [it also means] our community coming on board and for us to be able to be as ready as we can be for any change in technology that comes our way.

We have some real problems as a city, and cities across Sydney and across the world have problems in relation to waste, in relation to the change in climate, and energy… These are all examples of problems that we know exist and we need to see how technology and data can help us fix those things. That’s why Smart Cities are so important when you do it on a city-wide basis, because we can really tackle some problems.

I think it’s important that we embrace the Smart City concept because the benefits for everybody are unrealised at the moment, but it’s something that there is definitely going to be a benefit in for our community.

If we can save our residents some money, if we can reinvest any savings we make and at the same time do it in a way that’s better for the planet, that’s definitely something we should investigate and invest in.

10.24 I really want Canterbury-Bankstown to be a digital city, a resilient city, and I want us to be comfortable and understanding of technology and data. And all that needs to be done as a community, it can’t be just the Council doing it on its own, or academia on its own, it’s about collaboration. It’s about making sure that we’re all talking to each other, that there’s the right amount of support and investment from federal and state governments, and therefore, then Australia as a nation will be equalling other [places] across the globe.

The way that we’ve been doing things has been the same for the last 10, 20, 30 years, and technology has advanced now and I think we need to recognise that but also embrace that. I think there are better ways we can do the rubbish pick up, there are better ways we can police double parking around schools, there are better ways to save on energy costs with lighting. The technology is there, I think we need to embrace it, invest in it, trial it, pilot it and see how it works with our community.

I really do think that if we were to work in isolation it would be to the detriment of our community and to our organisation, and to our vision and aims and principles. So it really is important that we continue to work with everybody that we can, bring our community along, talk to professors and industry leaders and people running government departments, and hopefully we can all go on this ride together.


The City Possible model run by MasterCard

City of Canterbury-Bankstown website, Facebook and Twitter

Smart CB City website

The CB Smart City Roadmap and information about potential projects


Connect with Mayor Khal Asfour on Facebook or via email at

Connect with me via email:

Connect via Twitter and Facebook @smartcitypod

The Smart City Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

SCP E67: Smart Stakeholder and Community Engagement, with Amelia Loye

SmartCityPodcast_BlogTitleImage_Episode67 Amelia

In this episode of the Smart City Podcast, I had a fantastic conversation with Amelia Loye. Amelia is a Community and Stakeholder Engagement Specialist who and the Founder of engage2, a public participation and stakeholder engagement consultancy. We begin by discussing the concept of Smart Government and Amelia explains why she’s so passionate about balancing the interests of different groups.

We also discuss the upcoming Smart Cities Week events in Sydney from the 29th of October to the 2nd of November, including the EngageTech Forum at the NSW State Library on the 1st of November which Amelia’s team have deliberately designed to provide a participatory experience and to facilitate connections and collaborations amongst attendees.

Amelia then dives into a favourite technique of hers to integrate across different disciplines, industries and governments and given this is her area of specialty, her answer digs right down, which is great. We finish by discussing the emerging trends Amelia thinks we should be talking about more, including the opportunity to leverage “invited data” and the importance of continual and mutual dialogue and education to create an informed community and skilful workforce. 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:

  • Amelia’s background in community and stakeholder engagement and her passion for balancing different interests
  • What a Smart City and Smart Community means to Amelia
  • The Smart Government concept and why it’s so important
  • The opportunities and challenges in the Smart space in Australia
  • The Smart Cities week events coming up in Sydney, including the EngageTech Forum on Nov 1st
  • How Amelia’s team have engaged the event with participaory learning in mind, and why peer-to-peer sharing is so powerful
  • Amelia’s favourite technique for integrating across disciplines, government and industry
  • The emerging trends of using insights from “invited data” to meet community need and the ethics around data analysis
  • The importance of educating ourselves and the community, and why we all need to be patient with each other as we learn



I’m really passionate about how do we balance interests and utilise the resources we’ve got available to us in a community, in a way that meets everybody’s interests as best as we possibly can.

My focus in the Smart Cities area is building government’s capability to understand their community and those different stakeholders and those different interested in the community, and making sure that they’ve got the systems and processes in place within their organisation so that they can leverage that information, that intelligence —which is Smart— to make better decisions, to design services and programs that are delivered as effectively and efficiently as possible. For me, that’s a Smart Government.

It’s about being prepared. It’s about having the right systems and processes in place within your organisation, so that everything you’re investing into—and when I say investing, I mean money and time—everything you’re investing into is actually delivering the best possible outcome; and that’s the best outcome for your organisation, it’s always the best outcome for your community, particularly given that’s what we all hope your governments are doing for us.

I know a lot of people are very focused on technology and efficiency of government, and I think that’s really wonderful to be seeing as well, as long as we’re not forgetting about the community and the people side. And I mean staff, as well as members of the community.

I think [Australia is] doing pretty well…I think there’s some really strong leadership in our country from a growing mass of people who are working inside government organisations, but also who want to work with them—either technology providers or these new associations that are popping up to support governments getting Smarter—and I think it’s an exciting time. We’re seeing a tipping point.

[At EngageTech] we’re talking about technology for community engagement—and we’re not just talking about online engagement, we’re talking about the technologies that are available for us to gather data, analyse data, report data back to the people who need to make decisions in government. And also how we can manage relationships with stakeholders more effectively by having the right systems in place in our organisation as well as all of the amazing, interesting technologies that are available (e.g. AR, VR, AI) to make community engagement quite frankly more engaging.

My focus is very much [on] how we design the digital architecture, systems and processes for democracy inside government organisations.

Innovation in government, and Smart Cities, Smart Government can all sound very fluffy until you get down to the tack, so what are these innovative methods? And how can we learn them but also how can we apply them?

Understanding your community, so leveraging your data analytics and your methodologies to identify those stakeholders in the corporate sector and the community sector who can help you and who want to help you to deliver social outcomes, a Smart Government is well prepared for that. That’s how business and government can work together.

If I was to pick one thing that government could do to facilitate and enable that, it’s really getting those systems in place so they know who their stakeholders are, they know the social capital that is available to them in their community, and they can leverage it.

The reporting of insights from community, that’s what we’re not talking about enough. Governments are collecting data from citizens all the time—through complaints, customer service centres, libraries, emails and letters—and there’s a real opportunity to leverage that “invited data.” I’d like to see more of that data and insights being generated from that data being used on an ongoing basis….We need to talk about that more and how we do that better.

We’re all learning. Technology is advancing our practice so rapidly and we all are becoming technologists and data scientists…[it’s about] being patient with each other as we learn those skills, but also not sitting back because things are moving fast.



Smart Cities Week Conference

Centre For Civic Innovation

Book here for the EngageTech event at the Sydney Library on the 1st November 2018

Adam Beck

Innovation Academy with Code for Australia nd NSW D finance services and innovation



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The Smart City Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.

SCP E66: Visionaries creating a new Smart narrative, with Mateusz Jarosiewicz

SmartCityPodcast_BlogTitleImage_Episode66 Mat

In this episode of the Smart City Podcast, I had a really great conversation with Mateusz Jarosiewicz from Poland. He is the Program Coordinator for Smart Cities Polska. We talk about collaborating so we don’t have to reinvent the wheel, and he talks about how Smart City can be an ideology, a movement and a community. He also talks about making the Smart City concept more understandable for the greater audience, particularly starting in schools. Mat then shares some of the things he’s working on at the moment, including Road Maps and Vision for Poland, and Do Tanks rather than just thinking. He also talks about the importance of having visionaries and facilitators to integrate across the different disciplines, industries and government. The last thing we talk about is going from the internet to real places as an emerging trend. 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:

  • Mat’s background in Startups and Coworking in Eastern Europe
  • What sparked Mat’s interest in the Smart City space
  • What a Smart City means to him and why he thinks it’s so important
  • How Poland is embracing the Smart City concept
  • The project Mat is running in schools to help educate youth about Smart City concepts
  • Smart Cities Polska and why Mat wants it to be a ‘do-tank’ instead of a think tank
  • Why we need visionaries and facilitators to integrate across disciplines, government and industries
  • The emerging trend of integrating the digital and the physical world



“For me, it’s a very specific topic related to my deepest motivated about myself, about my city, my community…The Smart City concept is a very wide ideology and movement and community; a creative crowd of people who are transforming the cities all over the world.”

“I believe this [Smart City] idea can be some kind of accelerator for connecting those ideas and creating some frameworks [for] how we can transform our cities to be alive again…For me it’s like the new package, the new version of the operating system running the city.”

“Previously I believe guys from IT and ICT are kind of in the one bubble, doing things for Internet Explorer for Windows, and now they are converging with people who are planning the cities and who are doing social experiments, and it’s a completely new thing, what we have now. It’s great that the cities are something which is [the same everywhere in the world]. And this is one of the greatest inventions of our civilisation and anybody [can have] something to do with it, and by redesigning our cities we can ask how we redesign our societies in different ways.”

“I’m trying to make the [Smart City] concept more understandable for the whole society, starting from the schools. But from the other side I’m now developing myself as an expert and a leader of a group of people who are trying to put everything in place and create a road map and one vision for how we can do Smart Cities in Poland.”

“Perhaps we are the people who are meant to change it because it demands [a] very interdisciplinary and very cooperative approach to the silos and separate science ideas and branches of the business [world]. So I think the visionaries and people who can facilitate the process, put their vision right and communicate it to the society, to the government bodies [will be what creates integration].

“My idea was to create a new narrative for the cities. It was this operating system idea.”

“I believe for example the blockchain can be the thing which enables cooperation on shared data systems and asset managing platforms. It can be a big enabler for the Smart Cities.”

“What I see is that the people and especially the communities of interests and passions, are going from the internet to the real places in the cities. For example, we have booming coworking spaces across the world…so it’s getting more and more popular to connect with people [in real life].”

“I see the city as a platform for meetings and spending time together, not as a service and market thing. So that [idea of] going from the internet to real places is a big trend…I believe it’s also a trick to make [a] city Smarter by making people talk with each other more often. I think it’s the simplest solution.”



City: One Magazine, edited by David Bárta

Check out Smart Cities Polska on their website

Mat’s article about Smart Cities on Medium


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The Smart City Podcast is produced by Ellen Ronalds Keene.