I’m the Innovation Community Manager at Telstra Labs and my job is to make sure that we’re building a community around technology and innovation.
Our technology teams operate in a whole range of awesome products like drones, augmented and virtual reality, 5G, and the Internet of Things (IoT). Complementing this, our Innovation Team is all about customer centric methodology and way of working, being fast and iterative to help products and services happen faster and meet customer needs.
Somebody needs to bring those two different worlds together and connect them to the wider world beyond Telstra, like local communities, universities, and startups. That’s some of what we do here and what I aim to do as part of my role.
To be effective and collaborative you need to know what startups are doing, what universities are doing, and what our strategic partners are up to. I help bring them all together to share ideas, celebrate wins, and create opportunities for us to collaborate and for our communities to test their ideas with us.
Before starting at Telstra, I was part of a startup working out of a co-working space. We created software solutions for podcasting, which we pitched and sold to various radio stations around the world. It was a great experience, but working in a startup is so different to working in a company like Telstra.
Those experiences gave me a rich insider’s look at startup culture and really adopt that mindset. Two and a half years later I came across a blog written by Telstra’s Technology Evangelist Frank Arrigo who described his career and mentioned they were looking for more people. I checked the roles out, found this one, and here I am talking about it.
I’m fortunate in a way because I don’t have a typical business-as-usual type of job, so my day to day never really looks the same.
A ‘normal’ day for me could be cut into thirds: event planning, relationship building, or facilities checking. Basically, when an event isn’t happening it can only mean that another one is just around the corner or I’m helping organise it. When I’m not doing that I’m building relationships with new people I meet across the business.
My favourite thing about what I do is that I get to give things to people. Whether it’s the opportunity to connect to like-minded people, the technology that enables them to work better, or just a place to be heard.
In the few months I’ve been here I’ve learned so much. I’m surrounded by people who love what they do and they’re experts in their fields. Whether that’s big data, IoT, blockchain and the like, I’ve had some of the most interesting conversations randomly meeting people in the kitchen!
Coming here from a more niche subject area like podcasting has broadened my view and engagement with things that are happening in the world of technology and innovation. I feel that I’ll be continuing to broaden my career as the tech around me does. Who knows what sorts of projects we’ll be working on in say one, three, or five years’ time? Who knows what sort of spaces we’ll even be working in then?
For the moment, I basically get to connect people, to the people who are going to connect the world in better ways – and that’s a pretty exciting thing to do as my day-to-day.