All posts tagged smart cities

Crafting Creative Collisions | 100 Starts

100 Collider : cupcake view

Reflecting on activating a Smart city.

Last week we held the 100th event under my day job as manager of the city-wide activation programme Collider.

Each activation has been an opportunity to learn, explore plus move closer to a concept of how best serve the digital, creative and technological ecosystem and transform the city into a Smart capital.

This three year (Wellington City Council funded and BizDojo delivered) programme, is a bold attempt at raising the capability of a region.

As we near the end of the first year the time to reflect seems appropriate and here are some learnings:

  • variety is key—the usual sage-on-the-stage presentations is now mixed with seminars, workshops, masterclasses, roundtables, one-to-ones, mentoring etc, ensuring all tastes and learning styles are catered for. It’s also a trial of see what fits and sticks, plus what formats can be morphed and realigned with others;
  • reframing was important—originally, many were describing the piece of work as an umbrella although the quick reframe as a scaffold (supporting existing good projects and initiatives whilst filling in the gaps to create a broad foundation) made it more accessible. It was also gentler as there’s a huge amount of good work in the city and moving forward with humility has been crucial;
  • trying is better than not—as you can read from some of the highlighted choices in this blog post review, there’s been some fun goes at changing the offer. Merging disciplines and styles is always a step into the unknown although excited we had the opportunity to try;
  • capacity is the biggest issue—a four-day-a-week (which is what I negotiated before I start to ensure I can still produce the most creative TEDx event in the world), does not leave a lot of time other than nailing KPI’s (which we are with a little added on top). Reflection is still needed although the accepted transition into a more quality-versus-quantity mode has ignited the creative possibilities;
  • hidden impact—the softer side of running an activation programme is in the connections made, the conversations had, the thoughts sparked, the ideas inspired etc. The stuff incredibly hard to monitor or track, however, can be found in the stories shared back and the side chats had. It’s the fabric which builds communities of practice and the stuff which amplifies opportunities.

Here’s the next 100 and year two with an emphasis on audacious activations which make the world take notice.

bizdojo collider logo

2015 Review | Taking Stock, Switching Paths, Future Gazing

Recapping the year and welcoming the future.

In terms of gigs in 2015, the final total was 3 keynotes, 6 other talks, 2 workshops, 4 roundtables, 2 facilitations (totalling 6 days), 18 mentor sessions, 2 consults, and 2 MC gigs (R9 Accelerator and AnimFX).

Many of the above you can read about here and here—heartfelt thanks to all the clients for the opportunity to continue to learn and hone my craft.

There were some mammoth highlights professionally in terms of my own personal development and achievements, however, the challenge was always sustaining regular gigs from my base in Wellington, NZ.

As for my online efforts, a modest offering compared to previous years:

The last in the list is a post indicating where the majority of my days will now be focussed in 2016 (the rest of my time being split amongst TEDxWellington plus a personal pledge to recommit myself to punching again).

The new job takes me away from the specific social media sector and into a broader ‘smart cities’ and ecosystem development space. The long-term goal of which is threefold:

  1. have the City Council (who provide the funds both for the role plus operational budget), widen it’s commitment beyond the three years;
  2. for Wellington to start to attract global interest in terms of the work we’re doing, evidenced by web traffic, enquiries and invitations to share;
  3. make people smile and / or think.

Obviously, all of the above relies on demonstrating a causal link between the activities of the Collider programme and the more connected and effective creative, digital and tech city ecosystem. An audacious challenge, but then again, if we aren’t being audacious then what’s the point in turning up‽

Come at me 2016!

Activating An Ecosystem | Collisions, Connections, Collaborations

bizdojo collider logo

Changing tracks and prototyping a smart city programme.

I’m two months into a new role as Activation Manager for BizDojo, the largest co-working space in Australasia.

The post is funded by Wellington City Council and focuses on a programme called Collider:

Our purpose is to transform Wellington into an innovation capital and an internationally recognised Smart city by activating an effective creative, digital and technology ecosystem.

This basically means developing and delivering a series of event, activations and collaborations with existing service providers whilst also creating new opportunities as a way to fill the gaps between current operations.



Nestled in a vibrant and stimulating environment, surrounded by a kick-ass team who have collaboration as part of their DNA plus a community of ambitious residents, this is exciting opportunity to serve the city and hopefully add value in its continuing development as the creative capital of New Zealand.

The role came at a time I was considering opportunities overseas and against a growing tiredness of a decade in the social media sector. Making the decision to take the job was a commitment to the three year funded programme (success being the continuation and wider evolvement of such a venture due to its impact).

So it’s back to getting up every morning, putting on pants and going somewhere to do a job, and that feels good to me…

Expo Milano 2015 | Crafting A Smarter And More Human City Experience

The smart cities discourse needs to explore using technology as an augmenter not just as a replacement.

Expo Milano 2015 looks enticing with a deliciously challenging theme and focus in the smart city debate. A colleague shared the above video which offers an intriguing vision of the future event—here’s a few thoughts:

  • how come everything was geared to the single user experience?
  • where was the human / in-person connectivity?
  • why was technology crafting a solitary experience of the city?
  • how are they going to include consideration to opt-out regarding digital privacy for things like eye scans (which is now a UN mandate)?
  • could they re-balance the use of technology which is currently geared to the consumption of information to also creative collaboration (more than just sending simple messages of where you are and playing a game)?

More a critique rather than criticism as the whole vision is fantastic.

What did you note from the video?

Intelligent Cities

The serious science of cities.

Love this look at how cities are evolving and the way technology can provide a layer of understanding like never before.

More importantly, a great example of a brand and their willingness to tell other peoples stories to itself decipher them further (a few years ago I was humbled to be featured in one of these films about ‘the generation gap’ and technology / web).

The fab and ever resourceful Idealog