Summit: What We Heard

On Monday, May 27, we had the pleasure of hosting dozens of Edmontonians at a Summit about Edmonton’s future economy. 

This Summit served as a “kick-off” for a conversation we’re holding with Edmontonians over the next two months. The guts of this conversation will, ultimately, inform the creation of a new economic strategy for Edmonton. 

At the Summit, we were privileged to hear from an insightful group of panelists, including: 

  • Jen Panteluk, Director of Athlete Experience, World Triathlon Series;
  • Connie Stacey, President of Growing Greener Innovations; and
  • Ian O’Donnell, Executive Director of the Downtown Business Association.

The Panel offered a lot of thought-provoking discussion about what prosperity means to people in 2019; how Edmonton can make its economy more resilient in the face of change; and the issues we need to think about and confront as we contemplate our city’s economic future.

Participants in the Summit – which included a mix of leaders from industry, the business community, and the non-profit sector – also shared their thoughts about the future. 

In particular, they offered their views on what makes for a prosperous and resilient economy – the kind of economy that we’d ideally like Edmonton to have. Among the many characteristics they highlighted, participants described a strong and nimble economy as:

  • Agile, with the ability to respond quickly to changes that occur worldwide and opportunities that emerge;
  • Collaborative, with greater commitment to activities such as mentoring and supporting local suppliers, and more interactivity to develop new products and solutions;
  • Diverse, in terms of the industries, products and services that make up the economy, and in terms of the ideas that are represented in the marketplace;
  • Inclusive, where people from all backgrounds and walks of life are able to meaningfully engage and participate;
  • Creative, not only because this drives innovation, but also because it is something that cannot be easily subsumed by machine learning;
  • Sustainable, as this has environmental and societal benefits, and for many industries, considerable financial benefits;
  • Risk tolerant, recognizing that innovation and evolution necessarily involve daring, courageousness, and getting things wrong and trying again;
  • Competitive, with a policy and regulatory environment that offers environmental and consumer protection without being stifling or unnecessarily creating barriers;
  • Talented, featuring an educated and skilled workforce that is willing and able to stay in Edmonton because the economy has lots of opportunities that require their talents;
  • Notorious, in a way that is modern and evolves Edmonton’s reputation beyond its historic place as a ‘blue collar, oil and gas town’. 

People noted that some of these characteristics can already be found in Edmonton’s economy, while others will take work to realize. 

And that’s what our conversation is really about: identifying the fundamental ingredients (or “drivers”) that we need in place and identifying the barriers (or “constraints”) we need to address, in order for Edmonton to have a prosperous and resilient economy of the future.

We’re looking forward to hearing your views on these matters. The easiest and most direct way to contribute will be through this website. We invite you to have a look around the site. On the left side of the screen you’ll see a menu, with plenty of activities and challenges to explore. 

Over the next several weeks we’ll be posting various content – including videos, interviews, blog posts and more – filled with ideas for you to think about and respond to. Check back frequently to see what’s new. We hope you’ll be open, free and frank with your thoughts and perspectives.

 

To get started, we’re interested in your thoughts on what people said at the Summit. 

What do you think are the characteristics of a prosperous and resilient economy?  

Do you agree or disagree with the ones that Summit participants described? Are there others you’d add to the mix? 

Tell us in the comments below!