Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Food for thought

Came home from an interesting event, where they served mashed potatoes in martini glasses.

Different mashed potatoes - purple, white with skins on, white with garlic. Then, different toppings offered, like an ice cream bar with a twist: carmelized onion, bacon, sour cream, cheese. It was visually interesting and fun to eat!

For entertainment, there were dancers poised in the centre of a circle of 13 fans. The breeze lifted silk scarves into the air, and the dancers intertwined. Mesmerizing!

The backdrop was of Toronto's Waterfront City, at George Brown College, with Lake Ontario and sailboats in the back. Close to Sugar Beach. I felt I was a whole different place, yet the scenery remained familiar.

The location was the perfect context for the theme - what makes a "smart city" or "intelligent community?" In this year's 250+ entries, Waterfront Toronto and Stratford Ontario both made the international shortlist. Top communities of the year were drawn from the Smart 21 of 2013 by a team of independent academic experts. The intelligent community forum of the year award will be announced in New York City later this week.

Fascinating, visionary panels discussed topics related to Digital Inclusion, Public Private Partnterships (P3), Women as Leaders in Intelligent Communities, Open Data and 'm' government.  The ideas are still tumbling in my head, making me appreciate my Canadian citizenship, in a country where we have so many advantages and possibilities.

Yet, Canada is slipping. Just how much depends on who is doing the ranking. Conference Board puts us at 13 of 16 peer countries when it comes to innovation; Huffington Post reports we've fallen from 5th to 14th place for broadband speed. 

What we can do to regain position as world leaders? To compete, we need to stay connected. Ontario can be a player in the mobile revolution.

Food for thought.

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