Postgraduate Research Student Profiles

Tim Tompson

In becoming a smarter city: Pragmatist experiments in Sydney's transport information systems

Sydney transport is the subject of Tim Tompson’s research, under the supervision of Associate Professor Matthias Haeusler and Professor Susan Thompson.

Tompson is focusing on the gap between how people talk about smart cities and what actually happens – aiming to tell a different narrative about the emergence of these systems, which are a combination of many actions that cannot be predicted in advance. This view understands cities as complex emergent systems, and the findings help explain the way of thinking necessary for practitioners to understand this context and make useful action towards their objectives.

What is your current role?

Co-founder of Snowmelt

Description of your current role

Snowmelt shapes focussed scalable businesses that thrive in complexity. I have co-founded Snowmelt to bring the power of systems thinking and design to complex organisational challenges. We work across sectors and scales, from startups through to multinationals. In my role as director and co-founder, I have specific responsibilities to develop new business, intellectual property, public identity, and managing our growing team to delivering complex programs of work.

How has your research experience helped you?

My PhD has certainly given me a unique perspective that is highly valuable to the clients we work with. Specifically research has helped me learn to be discerning when it comes to design methods and approaches, as well as intimate knowledge about how complex innovation projects play out across multistakeholder contexts. Having the PhD credentials helps to validate a clients decision to work with us, particularly in respect to smart city and urban projects. Additionally, we can now validate our consulting approaches in the academic sphere through publications and appearances in academic forums, and our ongoing connections with universities provide a great way to hire new team members.