Brisbane is going digital.

Brisbane is going digital. Source: Shutterstock.

How Brisbane is charging towards its digital goals

BRISBANE, with a population of 2.4 million people, is Australia’s 3rd largest city after Sydney and Melbourne, and one of the few cities in the world to appoint a Chief Digital Officer (CDO).

The city obviously has big plans when it comes to digitizing the economy and maximizing, for its residents, the benefits that technology offers to businesses.

In fact, it’s CDO Cat Matson recently won The Digital Leader of the Year award at IDC’s Digital Transformation Awards for Australia — for fundamentally changing how Brisbane is leading the digital conversation between citizens, government bodies, and business entities.

In an exclusive interview with Matson, Tech Wire Asia learned more about the city’s initiatives and their philosophy for success.

“In 2017, we created the Digital Brisbane 2.0 strategy that recognizes we now live in a digital world and focuses on empowering businesses and residents to thrive in the globally-connected and digitally-enabled world,” explained Matson.

The strategy has empowered more than 2,000 small business owners to use digital in their business, through face-to-face Power-Up workshops and empowered more than 8,000 adults and seniors to feel more digitally-confident through our TechConnect series with libraries and community groups.

Through the new strategy, the city has also been able to teach over 26,000 kids and their parents to better understand tech and code things as cool as Minecraft mods through CoderDojo, held at city and suburban libraries.

There’s a lot that the city has achieved through its laserlike focus on enabling and sustaining digital capabilities, but the fact is, the victories didn’t come easy.

“The biggest challenge has been clarifying what ‘digital’ really means, and what are our objectives should be,” said Matson.

“Everything has the potential to be digitized, but that doesn’t mean everything should. At the heart of it, we want Brisbane to be a city where it’s easy to live, work and play. From a digital perspective, we want our residents and businesses to feel empowered to thrive,” she added.

Truth be told, Brisbane is better positioned to go digital than many of its competitors because it has the talent pool readily available.

Matson understands that talent is always a challenge in a space that is evolving faster than education or experience, but believes that city has access to the right talent and some of the most innovative minds in the technology space.

“Brisbane is actually a hidden gem in the global digital economy. We have digital businesses here exporting to the world – in fact, some of the world’s favourite mobile games come from Brisbane, some of the world’s leading blockchain and agritech platforms are based in Brisbane. Even some of the world’s leading payment disruptors,” claimed Matson.

However, despite its victories, Brisbane understand that the key to successful adoption of its various digital programs is connecting with people.

It’s why the city still employs and believes in old-school communication strategies such as radio, print, and face-to-face activations — as much as it invests in its digital campaigns.

“We remember that the people who most want to understand digital often aren’t using digital platforms to start with,” concluded Matson.