This is a compelling map juxtaposition from a recent Huffington Post article by Pat Lynch – Why Toronto and Waterloo are Hooking Up. We see the Silicon Valley “SuperCluster” and its innovation corridor nodes like pearls on a string, and we see the potential GTA West 401 corridor “SuperCluster” and its innovation nodes.
As Lynch states, nearly 1,000 companies big and small are huddled around Waterloo Region & Guelph-Wellington, and contributing some $30-billion annually to the Ontario economy. This region thrives on innovation in sectors that include information & communication technologies, environment, water, agriculture, engineering and natural resource management.
The Waterloo Region & Guelph-Wellington area works because it has places where people want to live, work and play — according to Lynch, these are the three elements that anchor a cluster as a place of innovation. To the east is Toronto, where there are some emerging innovation areas, but nothing quite on the scale of Waterloo Region & Guelph-Wellington. Toronto wants more innovation and it is looking west along the 401 for the business innovation drivers, and people, it needs. And overall, Ontario is sitting on an obvious Innovation SuperCluster just waiting for a nudge.
We agree with Lynch: the nodes and corridor between Waterloo Region & Guelph-Wellington and Toronto must be actively transformed into a technology “SuperCluster.” At Shared Value Solutions Ltd., we’re big fans of business cluster theory – our company name comes from a paper by Michael Porter, the Harvard Business School guru of cluster theory. We know that if we get the two clusters shown on the map at the ends of the 401 connected with efficient and user-friendly transportation infrastructure, other parts of the innovation ecosystem, like a hub and spoke, will start to really develop.
To cultivate the SuperCluster, we must have a free flow of people between Toronto and Waterloo Region & Guelph-Wellington. People want to live, work and innovate in the Waterloo Region & Guelph-Wellington area – this is a great place to raise families, the cost of living is affordable, there are ample recreational activities, there are thousands of smart people graduating from four stellar post-secondary institutions every year and it’s cheap to get together to collaborate.
But for access to capital and major financial institutions, access to the next level of business development, access to the corridors of political power, access to corporate head offices, access a massive amount of commercial legal talent, and access to two major airports, Waterloo Region & Guelph-Wellington needs better transportation connections to Toronto. And to further develop the Ontario and Toronto economies, Toronto needs better transportation connections to the Waterloo Region & Guelph-Wellington area to stimulate the growth of its innovation nodes.
What will it take to really cultivate this Innovation SuperCluster? It’s as simple as more frequent train service. Let’s get on board and create one of North America’s major Innovation SuperClusters.
Announcing the Canadian Natural Capital Leaders Platform
Emerging from some exciting conversations with colleagues in the environment & consulting world, we are pleased to announce the creation of the Canadian Natural Capital Leaders Platform. This Platform is being initiated by consultants from Shared Value Solutions Ltd. and colleagues in the Canadian natural sciences consulting world. The aim is to further dialogue among responsible company and community leaders, researchers & consultants in Canada who are taking action to review, value, redesign strategies, set targets and report on natural capital use to reflect the external costs incurred in product lifecycles onto balance sheets and to communicate these to society.
The Platform begins with a LinkedIn Group and will move toward supporting workshops, presentations, conferences and similar events. The LinkedIn Group will serve as a hub to connect interested participants and generate opportunities for face-to-face discussion. This is an emerging and open Platform designed to share information and research, and stimulate dialogue in the Canadian context. Active participants will determine its future course and direction.
Participants share an interest in following the work of the Natural Capital Leaders Platform convened by the University of Cambridge Programme for Sustainability Leadership and following the activities, knowledge sharing and events associated with the A.D. Latornell Conservation Symposium, a premiere Canadian event that convenes practitioners, policy makers, non-governmental organizations, academic researchers and businesses to network and discuss the challenges and opportunities in Ontario’s conservation field.
Like the Cambridge Platform, participants in the Canadian Natural Capital Leaders Platform are working to:
- Identify impact and reliance on key ecosystem services such as climate stability, soil health, fresh water and biodiversity;
- Place a financial value on these services that reflects their true cost to society (in lieu of effective pricing signals from policy and regulatory frameworks);
- Manage demands on these services thoughtfully like other forms of asset, moving from a culture of doing less harm to the natural world to contributing positively to its renewal; and unique to the Canadian Platform,
- Integrate traditional science-based approaches with indigenous knowledge approaches.
If you are interested in being part of the Canadian Natural Capital Leaders Platform, please join the Canadian Natural Capital Leaders Platform Group on LinkedIn!
You can follow the Canadian Natural Capital Leaders Platform on Twitter too: @NaturalCaplitalC
From June 16th-18th, 2014, groundwater experts, users & protectors, water technology innovators, watershed stewards and community leaders will come together at the University of Guelph to encourage learning, collaboration, and identification of new opportunities for groundwater innovation across sectors.
The aim of the GroundSwell conference is to create shared value for groundwater communities, researchers and technical innovators. Participants will include groundwater experts, accomplished scientists, researchers, practitioners, private sector suppliers, policy-makers from all levels of government and representatives from indigenous and rural communities.
Participants who sign-up before January 31, 2014 receive a chance to win a copy of:
Groundwater for the 21st Century: A Primer for Citizens of Planet Earth, by John A. Conners (2013)
The book Groundwater for the 21st Century is an effort to increase the groundwater literacy – from local to global scales, among laymen, students, and professionals – of citizens of planet Earth. Groundwater for the 21st Century provides two very important perspectives on the resource —
(a) a thorough yet accessible introduction to basic groundwater science and
(b) a current, concise but comprehensive overview of groundwater resources and their importance, uses, status, management, and prospects in today’s world.
This book is especially relevant to conference participants – it is the most comprehensive overview available combining groundwater science and groundwater use by humans, and it has been organized and written specifically for use by a wide range of readers of all ages, places, interests, and nationalities who might wish or need to be informed and literate about freshwater issues. The health, food, financial security, and habitability of homes and communities – the lives – of billions of human beings depends upon the availability of sufficient amounts of fresh water. This book provides much material with which to inform readers about the nature of water, its distribution, and its uses and abuses by humans. From this, readers will be better prepared to evaluate their own actions and those of their neighbors, communities, and the hierarchy of decision makers that lead, guide, influence, and otherwise shape the present and future world.
(This presentation was originally given by Shared Value Solutions’ Scott Mackay on Wednesday, October 23, 2013 at the Ontario Association for Impact Assessment’s annual conference in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.)
It was my pleasure to present a case study of our Aboriginal traditional land-use study work to the Ontario Association for Impact Assessment at their annual meeting last week. Shared Value Solutions organized a panel of key individuals involved in the study and made the opening presentation to set the stage for further discussion.
Other panelists were from Magnetawan First Nation, the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, and AECOM engineering consultancy.
We convened the panel to present multiple perspectives about the value and lessons learned of working with the First Nation to conduct a traditional land-use study as a contribution to the environmental assessment for a major highway development in Central Ontario. We also focused on how we “translated” study results into the environmental assessment context so that they were both meaningful and effective.
During the presentation, I covered these topics: