Growing the North is Moving Innovation Forward

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Randy Vanderveen Photography

Growing the North, northwest Alberta’s prime industry development conference is just around the corner.  Starting with a Taste of the Peace showing local food industry producers and chefs, the Growing the North Conference is all about exploring, much like an adventure.

Being exposed to new ideas is only half the adventure, the other half is delegates working the conference to network with a range of experts on industry topics and community leadership.

Most delegates at this conference will do very well with their personal and operational (internal workplace responsibilities) networking opportunities (see Harvard Business Review table below).  It’s like see old friends and get re-acquainted.

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A much more difficult form of networking is at a strategic level.  This targets industry developments and trends at 20,000 feet, putting them into a context of a future scenario, and seeing what it all means today at the community level.  The experienced GTN Conference knows that and in doing so, uses the conference to (1) understand how what is happening in an industry can lead to future likelihoods and (2) building a strategic network from the pool of conference delegates, can help form an action team to do  actionable items today.

“The key to a good strategic network is leverage: the ability to marshal information, support, and resources from one sector of a network to achieve results in another”. It’s about building of strategic leadership to set a course for action.  Once the leadership network  gets a direction, then the personal and operational networks come into play.

“The word ‘work’ is part of networking, and it is not easy work, because it involves reaching outside the borders of a person’s comfort zone.”

Growing the North is an event where networking is encouraged.

How to get the most of industry trends and future opportunities?  When most groups undertake planning exercises, for example strategic plans, they often focus their attention on the short-term with a view to seeking improvements to the present situation: improvements like achieving efficiency, reducing costs, solving an issue and exploring opportunities, all very much in the present day.  GTN encourages its’ attendees to look at major trends and extrapolate a number of scenarios of the future.  Having positive and negative scenarios side-by-side, helps business or community leaders see how their decisions could lead to positive and negative outcomes.  It can help answer the question,

“How do the decisions I make today, support what I want to see or achieve in the future?”

GTN provides outlooks into possible futures.  Couple that, with people who share those outlooks and also more importantly want to do something about the future, and you have the ingredients to form a strategic network on an action item of mutual interest.

internet of thingsFor example, the topic on the Internet of Things (IofT) presentation by TELUS will showcase what tomorrow could look like in respect to technology. Many of these technologies are yet to be developed.  And their future innovators and entrepreneurs have yet to be educated or begun exploring their future career paths or business ventures.  And as a business or municipal leader interested in business development, you can set the stage for that innovation and entrepreneurship to occur today.

Many of these technologies are yet to be developed.  And future innovators and entrepreneurs have yet to be educated or begun exploring future career paths or business ventures.  And as a business or municipal leader interested in business development, you can set the stage for that innovation and entrepreneurship to occur today.

If you are attending Growing the North, let’s meet and share ideas on innovation and entrepreneurship opportunities in your business and community: it’s about moving ideas forward to better influence and manage change.

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