Kate Crawford

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A Smart Society for A Prospering Spatial Industry

Dr. Kate Crawford, Director, Eviva P/L


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5 Things You Will Learn

  1. A broad view of the ways technological development changes people’s experience
  2. A model of complexity that shows how people react to disruption and maps social tensions
  3. How spatial information is changing awareness, opportunities, and institutions
  4. Challenges in building a smart society for a prosperous spatial industry
  5. A road map towards a sustainable economy in which the spatial industry prospers

Target Audience

Business developers, entrepreneurs, policy makers and industry members who are needing to take account of the impact of spatial information and related technical change to grow a sustainable and prosperous economy.

Presentation Overview

Emerging spatial science has shifted our mapping of place from the traditional 2D mapping that was automated with CAD techniques, through to 3D mapping in time series, to a situation where multiple sensors extend our awareness of aspects of place that were previously outside our sensory perception. Spatial information now informs us at the both the macro and micro levels. It is used in micro-surgery and also to explore the universe.

In addition, global communication and resulting capabilities to organize, access information, invent and exchange through social media are transforming cultural, political and social dynamics. Increased automation in all areas of human activity has also transformed traditional ways of earning a living. The spatial industry is developing at the centre of these changes. They represent both enormous opportunities for positive change and challenges to our present social order. What is certain is that we are already experiencing the disruptions that herald the emerging smart society in which cultural and social change reflects new levels of awareness by citizens associated with these technological developments. With broader awareness of place, and others, come changes in feeling, thinking, communicating, and doing that create political pressures for new priorities. For example ‘Uber’ initially described a new form of shared transport that competes with taxis. It has recently been used as a verb to describe the process of competitively transforming ways of doing business.

This presentation will use the Cynefin model of complexity to describe and discuss the human dynamics of change as it plays out at personal, organizational, and institutional levels. The model will form the basis of a discussion about the process of building the cultural and social capital infrastructure for a prosperous future economy and to map some of the legislative and organizational adjustments that will be a part of that process.


After successful careers as a pharmacist, an educator/researcher, in schools and universities, a researcher in human computer interaction (Projects at MIT, UC Berkeley, SRI, LSE on the impacts of digital technologies on human learning and behaviour), a consultant on emerging social technologies in organisations at the Australian Technology Park Sydney, and a software system designer and developer, I am currently the Director of Eviva Pty Ltd.

I work to support innovation and development projects in communities, business, government and universities. I use research based techniques and business experience to facilitate innovation and knowledge management in complex and cross cultural settings. In the rapidly changing climate of the 21st century I work with clients to understand the dynamics of their operational systems, redesign their social context and raise awareness of the routine practices underlying their work. I am particularly interested in the ways social media, automation and spatial information are shaping society. My approach is to facilitate higher levels of participation in: cooperation, knowledge sharing, strategic planning, adaptive behaviours, team work, developmental research, and effective innovation.

Projects include innovation and development support with the Australian Army, BHP engineering, AARNET, the Australian Government, and the Illawarra Virtual Network Program.