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My digital career: Katrie Lowe

Katrie Lowe is an Urban Explorer at Urban CurioCity, co-founder and CEO of Domi Labs.

[An image appears of Katrie Lowe talking to the camera and a cityscape can be seen in the background and then the camera zooms in on her face as she talks]

Katrie Lowe: My name is Katrie Lowe and what do I call myself? I am an urban explorer. That’s my name on my business card.

[Image changes to show a black and white photo of Katrie and text appears: My Digital Career, Katrie Lowe, curiocity kate]

[Images flash through of Katrie talking, Katrie going up an escalator in an airport, Katrie on a train, and Katrie looking up at a building]

So, I’m actually travelling around the world at the moment exploring different cities to see urban developments up close. 

[Image changes to show Katrie talking to the camera and on her left inset photographs of Katrie in various cities flash through and then the image changes to show her blog on a computer screen]

So, I meet locals, I talk to experts, I see what works, what doesn’t work, and I blog about it.

[Music plays and images move through of Katrie wearing a hard hat and hi-vis vest talking to a colleague, Katrie talking to the camera, and then Katrie working on a computer]

Well, I started my career as an engineer working in water infrastructure and that was pretty digital using things like CAD and modelling software and engineering programmes.

[Image changes to show Katrie talking to the camera and then the image changes to show various 3-D models of cities and buildings and text appears: How can we make cities more sustainable, How can we make cities more affordable?]

But I became more interested in big questions like, how can we make cities more sustainable, and how can we make cities more affordable?

[Music plays and images flash through of photographs of various cities in the world ending with Sydney and then the image changes to show Katrie talking to the camera]

Cities are fascinating because big cities are the future. 

[Images flash through in fast motion of people walking down a city street, cars moving along a road, and people crossing a city intersection]

Billions of people are pouring into them creating these new challenges that no one’s ever faced before.

[Images move through to show Katrie talking to the camera, Katrie turning and walking along a street, and then her blog on a computer screen showing videos and photos of Katrie in different cities]

There’s experiments all over the world trying to solve these problems so for the last two years I’ve gone on this crazy adventure visiting cities from Europe to North America and South America just learning and posting online.

[Images move through to show Katrie talking to the camera, Katrie taking a photo with a Smartphone, Katrie walking along a street, and Katrie working on a computer and then a Smartphone]

So, I guess now my career is digital in a whole different way because I’m researching and writing and connecting with people through the internet and that’s creating real life work opportunities.

[Image changes to show a photograph of Berlin and then the image changes to show people working on computers and text appears: Berlin]

Next, I’m going to work with these programmers in Berlin 

[Image changes to show Katrie talking to the camera]

and we’re using Blockchain technology to try to make housing prices more fair and transparent. 

[Camera zooms in a little on Katrie as she talks]

And so, it’s a really cool idea.

Isn’t it weird if I’m saying it’s a really cool idea?

[Image shows Katrie listening and smiling]

Male: No, not at all.

[Image shows Katrie pumping her fists and smiling]

Katrie Lowe: Great.

[Music plays and an image of a city flashes through and then the CSIRO logo and text appears: CSIRO digital careers, digitalcareers.csiro.au]

[Image changes and the CSIRO logo and text appears: CSIRO Australia’s innovation catalyst]

Katrie Lowe

Briefly, what does your day-to-day work look like?

I lead a startup that is using a new type of digital technology called Self Sovereign Identity to address accessibility challenges faced by people when applying for rental housing. My main responsibility is to coordinate the development of our product and support it getting to market. My day-to-day work involves regular meetings with the different teams within our company — engineering, user research, business strategy, marketing — as well as connecting with potential customers and investors to ensure what we are all working towards is aligned.

What led you to this career/job?

I started my career as an engineering consultant working on water and urban development projects. This is what first inspired my passion for cities and led me to later launch Urban CurioCity – a global travel and research project investigating the world's major urban challenges. My research led me to Berlin, a city with the dual fame of being Europe's startup hub and having the fastest growing housing prices in the world, and this is what inspired me to eventually co-found Domi Labs.

What training do you have for this job?

My training for my current job is the result of many years of different professional and personal life experiences. I graduated from a combined Bachelor of Civil Engineering and a Bachelor of Arts in International Studies. This mixed education has heavily influenced my unique approach to how I deliver my job, as a significant part of what I do is 'joining dots' - promoting innovation by connecting ideas and opportunities from different disciplines together. As a CEO, I also draw heavily upon my experience leading teams, managing projects and engaging with stakeholders from my work as an engineering consultant.  

If you could change one thing about your industry/job what would it be?

I am someone that sits across two industries – the urban development industry and digital technology industry. This is quite rare, and the one thing I would change in both industries is to encourage this to be more common. Solving the world's major challenges will require cross-pollination of ideas between industries and this can only happen by nurturing curiosity and welcoming professionals from non-traditional backgrounds into the creative process.

What are the key skills, both technical and non-technical, you need to succeed in your job/industry?

The key skill needed to succeed in my job is the ability to comprehend the real-world implications of complex technical concepts, and vice versa. This requires not only the ability to grasp technical concepts, but also a strategic mindset and the ability to communicate to range of different stakeholders.

If you had one piece of advice for young people getting into your industry, what would it be?

Take your time to understand the world around you. Travel, explore and be curious. Connect with people from different backgrounds, engage with their personal experiences and form your own experiences. The most impactful innovations are those created with a deep understanding of the problem being solved.