Sunday, November 06, 2005



There has been a small group of Albertans who have been working to create a “Chamber of Technology” – a self-managing network of people, businesses and organizations, which will use powerful open source methods to build a technology industry constituency here in Alberta. It aims to: influence the quality and flow of highly qualified people into the marketplace; influence angel investors (both conventional and non-conventional), credit unions, banks and venture capitalists to invest in small and medium enterprises here in Alberta working in this sector; influence Government to look at incentives for small and medium enterprises to secure work and gain tax advantages; encourage business to adopt and adapt emerging technologies; steer immigration policy to support these industries; connect aboriginal people and communities to these developing business opportunities and harness their indigenous knowledge; rethink the municipal taxation of small and medium enterprises, especially home based business; promote environmentally sound strategies for technology development; connect businesses from one end of the Province to the other, so that anyone, anywhere in Alberta can help to make the convergence of various technologies being developed or used into something bigger or increase the value added nature of the products and services being sold to the world. happen.

Anyone will be able to participate, since the membership fee will be small and all will be expected to contribute to online development of ideas, policies, proposals and resources. A small “kick off” group has purchased a web site ( where those who wish to do so can co-create policy and resources and share in the development of strategy for the growing of technology intensive small and medium sized locally based all across Alberta (same comment as above) industry sector as a whole. Local groups will form of their own accord and online Town Hall meetings will be held from time to time. This may all lead to a Province wide meeting at some point in the future, but that will be up to the grass roots network.

If this sounds different, it is. This emerging organization wishes to use the relevant technologies and the principles of open source development to create, sustain and grow the organization. While there are passionate champions who want to make this happen, these same people also do not want to “control” the agenda.

This is a grass roots chamber.

Behind this intiative is the coming in to its own. “Convergence.”

It speaks to the connections been made between nanotechnology, information and digital technologies, biotechnology, and cognitive technologies – the technology intensive industries.

Understanding convergence is important for Alberta.

As we look to a future of high gas and oil prices, leading to changes in energy use and the eventual decline of gas supplies, we need to look to new industries to generate economic growth and sustain the Province. The technology intensive industries provide the focus for the new knowledge economy of Alberta.

Despite this future need, this industry sector is fragmented, disorganized and unfocused. While each area of technology within the sector may have some structure and some leadership, there is very little cross-sectoral dialogue and inneffective lobbying by these combined sectors. The result is that angel investors (both conventional and non-conventional), venture capital providers, government policy makers, Federal and Provincial funding agencies and others are failing to harness the power of convergence to build a vibrant new industry sector in Alberta.

Other jurisdictions are leading and Alberta is lagging behind not only the rest of Canada, but more importantly the world.

Just as the Alberta Chamber of Resources, founded in 1935, has a significant role in shaping our thinking about the natural resource sector, so we think a Chamber of Technology – or Network 2020 – should develop the same capacity for the technology intensive industries. We need these new industries to be the bedrock of Alberta’s economy by 2025, and we had better start now to develop the sector. (It is not a forgone conclusion as the original could be taken to imply).

The Chamber of Technology – or Network 2020 can be more effective for the technology industry in Alberta as it will be grass roots led, and more responsive to the unique needs of an industry that is made up of small and medium sized businesses.

The above is letter written through the cooperation in part by Stephen Murgatroyd is a freelance writer and management consultant based in Edmonton, and Norm Greenfield corporate, marketing, and political communications consultant with Provoco Status Quo with clients around the world, including e-learning, e-government, and digital media producers and creators.


Post a Comment

<< Home