The two-day forum on Canada
The Canada 3.0 digital forum wrapped up in Stratford, Ont., yesterday with the co-chairs of each of the five streams recommending three ways to improve Canada’s digital economy based on the issues raised during the two-day discussions.
The purpose of Canada 3.0 was to bring government, academia and industry together to facilitate the discussions needed to put action plans into place, said Kevin Tuer, managing director of Canada 3.0 co-sponsor the Canadian Digital Media Network (CDMN). “You can’t create a plan in isolation, so the idea was to bring them together to participate in these streams,” he said.
The points raised by the co-chairs will be the basis for conversation moving forward, said Tuer. “These are big issues we have to deal with, but at least we know what we are dealing with and we have a sampling of a national voice based on what we heard here,” he said.
CDMN intends to “flush out the context behind those ideas” so it can provide the information to government that is in the position of creating policy and action plans in order to accelerate the strategy around a digital economy, he said.
“I’m cautiously optimistic,” said Tuer. “The last two days have been phenomenal – the people who came out, the conversations that were had, the thoughts that were put forth – but that will only be as good as the conversation that continues,” he said.
One point expressed “fairly loud and clear” from participants is frustration at the entire digital economy for Canada, said Tuer. “They feel there has been enough talk. It’s time to put an action plan into place,” he said.
Recapping the co-chair recommendations:
The creating stream, presented by Tim Jackson, founder and partner of Tech Capital Partners Inc., and Kevin Newman, anchor and executive editor at Global National:
1) An online “concierge” that would bring provincial and federal government together with one portal to make it easier for people to access and discover what government programs are available.
2) A provision of copyright laws that would allow people to choose what they want to charge and what they want to charge for to help them monetize content.
3) A “risk fund” for projects that recognizes the emerging market and allows for artistic experimentation. The fund would specifically acknowledge that the only way Canada will innovate and change is by acknowledging and accepting the risk of failure.
The learning stream, presented by Ontario College of Art and Design (OCAD) president Sara Diamond and Ken Coates, dean of the Faculty of Arts at OCAD:
4) A national provincial plan across curriculum – from K-12 to post-secondary education – that would bring literacy, numeracy, writing and digital skills to the Canadian population. This strategy coordinates literacy on both the federal and provincial scale. One component includes an open source repository for resources.
5) A national repository of co-op programs and internships for students and recent graduates. This would involve the private sector working with post-secondary institutions.
6) Similar to the online concierge for the creating stream, a research and commercialization concierge that would streamline the programs that facilitate funding to help researchers and companies successfully commercialize research.
The changing stream, presented by Gary Maavara, vice-president of Corus Entertainment Inc., and Jerry Brown, director of PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP:
7) A commercial and technical infrastructure to build strong companies. The message is “scale matters.” Also, training and retention are crucial.
8) To become more strategic with Canadian content policy.
9) To start a conversation across institutions, businesses and countries on a semantic taxonomy for facilitating open and cost-effective rights management and transactions.
The empowering stream, presented by Rene Barsalo, director of research and strategy for the Society of Art and Technology; Christopher Labrador, vice-president of advanced research at Research in Motion Ltd.; and Michele Perras, director of OCAD’s Mobile Experience Innovation Centre:
10) To approach the Canadian next-generation network infrastructure as a public utility. In the context of networks, private industry may not be able to do this on its own, said the co-chairs.
11) WiFi networks need to be widely accessible, much like basic cable, for Canadian citizens.
12) Canada 3.0 attendees need to provide the focus and motivation to enable change. The co-chairs suggested each attendee contact at least one person they met at the event before the end of this month to discuss what each party is doing to create change.
The revolutionizing stream, presented by Dan Larocque, vice-president of the Canadian public sector at Open Text Corp., and Jeff Nesbitt, vice-president of government relations and strategic programs for Agfa Healthcare Inc.
13) To digitize the Canadian health care system by 2017, which includes enabling practitioners through digital tools, automating processes to increase productivity and reduce error-related risks and allowing patients to manage their own healthcare.
14) For governments at all levels to harmonize standards and care practices in healthcare IT systems by 2017 in order to take advantage of new innovations such as cloud computing and mobile technologies.
15) A call to action, directed towards the meeting for ministers in Toronto next month, to commit to developing an innovation strategy by May 2011 that leverages the $182 billion Canadians spend each year on health care.
More than 2,000 people attended the two-day event, including 500 students and 100 members of the press. Canada 3.0 was the top Twitter topic in Canada for both days and garnered more than 3,000 Tweets, said Tom Jenkins, chair of CDMN’s advisory board and chief strategy officer at Open Text.
CDMN plans to hold another Canada 3.0 event next year and a series of other events across Canada will lead up to this, said Tuer. “Something good is going to come of this and we are going to make strides going forward,” he said.
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