Our Wellington

News | 17 December 2020

Living and breathing city innovation

Sean Audain “lives and breathes” city innovation – to understand how we can grow our curiosity and capability to do better.

Now his remarkable work has been recognised with an international award.  

Sean has won a Smart Cities Leaders Award in the 2020 Smart Cities Awards for Australia and New Zealand. 

In his work as a City Innovation Lead for Wellington City Council, Sean has found ways for the Council to explore and understand the digital dimension of Wellington. 
  
Sean’s work has included finding new ways to use technology such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence, including virtual reality versions of the city used in public engagement to understand how sea level rise affects the city.  

In his role, Sean has worked internationally on local government and urban issues through being a member of the Global Futures Council of the World Economic Forum, the G20 Smart Cities, the Board of Harvard University’s Global City Innovation Accelerator and NZ Open Government Partnership. 

James Roberts, Council’s Chief Digital Officer says: “Cities can leverage technology to re-frame many of the growth and development challenges they face".

"Technology evolution is enabling cities to solve problems and create opportunities like never before.

"A smart city is a city that understands this and is actively using technology in this way.  

“Sean lives and breathes city innovation. Sean’s key strengths are his sharp mind and vision, his ability to connect inspiring and innovative people together, and his passion for making all aspects of Wellington City better for residents now and in the future. 

"Quite frankly, he’s a genius at connecting the dots.” 

Portrait of Sean Audain.

Sean says “It is quite remarkable to be recognised in such a strong field of urban innovators from across both nations".

"Thank you for everyone who nominated me and has given me a little time over this Smart Cities journey - particularly the colleagues and leaders past and present at Wellington City Council. The thing I most enjoy is us all learning together.” 

Wellington City Council’s Smart Community Services project was also an Award finalist, for an Impact Award.

This Smart Community Services project uses technology to assist in solving community and social issues, improving social wellbeing and safety outcomes for the city and its residents. 

The project supports a collaborative approach to developing solutions tailored to local issues and opportunities.  

Read more about Smart Cities Australia New Zealand