Smart Seeds and finding solutions for cities and the planet (listen)

Maurice Hoban, programme lead for Smart Seeds, chats with Idealog about delivering innovative solutions to solve some of our cities’ biggest challenges - and why that's so important.

Top image: Boats on the water in Auckland. Photo by Ben Mack.

Climate change. Rising sea levels. Ever-more-crowded cities, leading to things like housing shortages and traffic congestion. Economic inflation. Vanishing resources. The list could go on, but the gist is this: the places where we live are facing enormous challenges.

Just as obvious is the fact there are many, many (emphasis on many) organisations and initiatives to try and come up with solution to reduce the effect of these challenges – or possibly even solve them.

Smart Seeds is one of those organisations. In short, the 11-week programme presents our future leaders (young professionals in the first 3-10 years of their careers) with five real-life challenges facing Aotearoa’s three largest cities (Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch, of course). Participants learn innovation fundamentals, are provided with a mentor, take part in two workshops that challenge them to come up with some fresh new ideas on how to solve the challenges. At the end, the teams present their ideas to a panel of CEO judges at an evening showcase event.

But this isn’t just some well-meaning programme without much of a chance of actually achieving anything. Organisations including Vodafone, Visionstream, Spark, Intergen, multiple Auckland Council organisations, contractors and professional services firms have provided support. Some of the solutions Smart Seeds participants have come up with are also under discussion with local organisations around how they can be implemented.

Maurice Hoban, programme lead for Smart Seeds, took some time to chat about delivering innovative solutions to solve the challenges facing urban areas – and why coming up with those solutions is so critical. Have a listen below to what he had to say.

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