This blog post was written by Business Services Manager Riley Trottier.
From September 12-14, Toronto hosted a new technology festival designed to showcase the best of the Canadian innovation ecosystem and celebrate diversity and inclusion. Several members of the TechAlliance team attended the festival and came away very impressed. The recent announcement around Amazon’s search for a second headquarters has generated a lot of buzz, with many attendees excited about the opportunity for Toronto to add a global tech giant to an already impressive tech industry.
The main day of the festival was “Elevate Educate,” which focused on eight different topics (or tracks) that festival-goers could attend to learn more about a specific subject matter. Our team attended a range of topics including VR / AR, Health, Design Thinking, and Lean Innovation.
After hearing many speakers and seeing some presentations for exciting start-ups, our team came away with a few key insights:
- The health-tech space is becoming more focused on blockchain technology, believing that it will be an ideal tool to help improve the speed and quality of care for Canadians as the population ages, and as younger Canadians become more mobile in their education and careers
- With the massive number of startups focusing on different applications of similar technology, having a good product is not enough to ensure success. The ability to properly position and market any technical product is crucial for company success
- The Virtual Reality market is expected to grow dramatically in the next five years, more than doubling in size as VR startups move from creating games to developing workplace training programs, military simulations and therapy tools
- Design thinking is becoming increasingly popular as an organizational strategy, placing an emphasis on solution-focused design, rather than problem-focused, blending human intuition with data analytics to create positive outcomes for the customer.
As the TechAlliance team made its way back to London, we reflected on what we’d learned. As technology continues to evolve and a more natural part of our day-to-day life, it is important not only to reflect on what it can do, but how it can be used.
As technology becomes more powerful and pervasive, Canada will need to grapple not only with how to build world-changing technologies, but how those technologies should be used to improve society and avoid supporting corruption, discrimination and authoritarianism.
One of the best ways that we can avoid seeing technology used for the wrong reasons is to collaborate in it’s creation. Strong partnerships and the sharing of ideas will ensure that no one is excluded as we build a diverse future together. Elevate Toronto did an excellent job of asking the right questions that governments, entrepreneurs and corporations will have to answer in the coming years.