Today I was at the Creative Leadership conference hosted by the Conference Board of Canada and had the wonderful opportunity of listening to Dr. Richard Florida. To put it succintly, Ottawa needs more thought leaders like Dr. Florida to come through and make a case for “Reset”. Dr. Florida at length talked about how it is time for us to do away with our age old age old industrial revolution inspired models and mental maps and move towards a new world order that will not respect and reward physical assets (such as soil, ports, factory complexes) but will hold “Talent” as the only competitive differentiator. His story on “Why Lycos decided to move out of Pittsburgh” totally resonated with me, and also resonated with the thoughts that guided the conception and development of TalentBridge. Together with Luc Lalande, from Carleton University, I have been – since reading “The World is Flat” by “Friedman” – making a case for keeping our local talent in Ottawa. Going back to Friedman’s premise of a globally connected and easy to circumnavigate world, it is important for us to understand that the flat world also has huge talent imperatives. We can educate and train the best talent in the world but if we do not create enough of an anchoring for them to stay in their communities, Ottawa would lose one of its core strategic strengths. As Dr. Florida pointed out, and we continuously bring to everyones notice, Ottawa’s rich talent pool (Ottawa has a 45% creative class according to Dr. Florida) is what is going to be the core differentiator for Ottawa as it becomes a magnet for other creative talented individuals who would want to call this great city their home.
And how do we go about it? This is where Dr. Florida’s take on “reset” is so interesting. In listening to him, I almost saw him making a case for “creative destruction”. Let us revisit our core frameworks and models that we currently employ to encourage, engage and empower our talented youth and if we see a disconnect between the “sought” and the “real”, then maybe it is time for us to dismantle them and recreate new ones. Can we do it? We, at TalentBridge, have every reason to believe that we can. TalentBridge afterall is a big example of that “Reset”.