We’ve been spending a fair amount of time in Quebec recently, drawn not just by the charms of Old Montreal or the great cider in the Eastern Townships. Our trips have much more to do with the fact that Quebec “gets” ICT. Quietly and carefully, Quebec has built one of the most research and development-friendly environments in Canada.
Information and communications technology has, in a remarkably short period of time, utterly transformed virtually every dimension of modern life. When we think about the way we conduct business, pay bills, educate and inform ourselves, engage family and friends or spend our leisure hours now compared to as few as ten years ago, the changes are astonishing. And the pivotal point for this change has generally been some advance in technology.
Canadians are early and avid adopters of technology in all its dimensions – from cashless retail transactions to on-line dating. We’re proud of our connectedness and view our capacity to bridge our vast geography with sophisticated networks and devices as a central part in our ongoing task of nation building. This pride is justifiable in virtually ever dimension of modern life with one glaring exception – our adoption of ICT technology in healthcare delivery.
Senior Vice-President, ITAC
Back in 2000 the geek I love insisted on interrupting a wonderful week of shopping and gawping through London for a little day trip into the Midlands. We road a commuter train for a while and were deposited in a desolate little station that made my heart sink (and I’m a Corrie fan). Then without a map, he led me off down a couple of lanes – we actually crossed a stile – and came upon one of the ugliest stately homes I’ve ever seen. Its unfortunate features, however, were set off to great advantage by the array of Quonsets and other military huts that surrounded it. Bletchley Park, you see, had recently been declassified as Britain’s best kept secret and was receiving visitors. We proceeded then on one of the most reverent and fascinating historical tours I’ve ever had, conducted by a lovely ex-WREN who had done her WW II service right there at Bletchley. She showed us the hut she shared with a small army of women. She showed us the Enigma Machine, The Bombe and Colossus. She showed us the uniforms, the equipment and the ephemera that the men and women of Bletchley had lovingly labeled and donated tow hat they all hoped would one day be a major historical site.
There are days – and I consider myself fortunate in this – when I am truly inspired at work. Yesterday was one of them.
A group of diversity champions from several ITAC members met at the request of Jim Muzyka, who represents Xerox Canada on ITAC’s Board of Directors. At our June 22 meeting, Jim set out a bold proposal to address the diversity challenge that faces the ICT industry in Canada. His proposal resonated with a Board that is currently composed of 36 men (no visible minorities) and two women, and he directed to put a diversity action plan together for our Association and our industry. The purpose of yesterday’s meeting was to begin to map that plan out.
I’ve been an advocate for broader engagement of women in tech for at least 20 years. On some levels this activism is rewarding. It’s introduced me to some of the finest people in tech that I know. But looking back I can’t say that a whole lot has changed. The level of participation of women in tech as running at about 25% ten years ago. And that’s pretty much where we are today. Read the rest of this entry »
By now you’ve gotten your company website up and running and you are beginning to convey information about your firm to the world. You’ve enabled a contact us page and integrated that to your business email system even if just a maildrop.
Conventional thinking is that now you start to flesh out your web page and build more content before doing outreach. You can certainly do that, but I’d suggest not. The best way to get notice is by word of mouth or what I call reference stories. Whatever you do, there’s a customer in there somewhere either in the classic buy/sell sense or as a recipient of a service you offer. Read the rest of this entry »
You don’t feel the earth move very often in public policy. Our democratic processes are by nature protracted as we create the space and rime to ensure that all voices are heard, all viewpoints taken into consideration. And when those viewpoints take entrenched positions, the slow pace of change can grind to a complete halt.
By the end of the second day of the Canada 3.0 conference in Stratford, we were all channeling Buffalo Springfield —”there’s something happening here.” Ian Wilson, the freshly minted executive director of the Stratford Institute for Digital Media and Global Business observed, “This is so much more than just another conference.”
Conference moderator Ken Coates, Dean of Arts for Waterloo University tapped the emotional chord best by pointing out how at it’s conception, the conference expected to host 300 delegates and then ended up with over 1100 delegates from industry, academe and government — together, calling for a digital strategy for Canada and laying the foundation to get there.
“The important thing about this was who showed up,” Ken said. “We all came together to start something important … now lets get on with it!” Read the rest of this entry »
Challenging times impose their particular burdens on our political leaders. When hard work, ingenuity and perseverance aren’t enough to bring us prosperity, we turn our gaze to them in the expectation that their choices will improve our well-being. And every once in a while we are rewarded by public policy decisions made with firm resolve, not a moment too soon. When we think of courageous public policy, we probably think of historical measures like the Emancipation Proclamation or the Canada Health Act. We don’t generally view tax reform measures in that same heroic context. But I believe that Premier Dalton McGuinty’s recent decision to harmonize Ontario’s Retail Sales Tax with the GST, while it may not be historic, was indeed courageous. It is a wise public policy whose positive impacts will be felt for some time to come.