Are We Smart Enough?

Complacency is a dangerous disease. It’s forever affected General Motors, Kodak, Microsoft and Blockbuster. And it is a widespread addiction amongst Alberta companies.


Because things are good. Why change? Why invest? Why try harder … when you can just sit back and enjoy the prosperity that comes from underlying economic growth?

Look at your own organization. Look at yourself. What are you investing in today that will allow you to reap dividends in 2-3 years or 5-7 years?

These are important questions, and they are the questions every Albertan should be asking every day. They are the questions that we will explore at E-Town ( next week, and it is important that you invite yourself to the conversation. Here’s why (true stories from the past week):

Me: Is your team coming to e-town this year?
CEO: It looks fabulous, but we’re too busy working too hard.
Me: Is working harder your competitive advantage?
CEO: Ummm … shut up.

Employee: I’d like to attend e-town this year. It only costs only $399.
Boss: What will you learn?
Employee: Technology, leadership and creativity trends affecting our business.
Boss: I don’t think those are our priorities right now.

Do these stories sound familiar? Are we simply trying to win by working harder? Or is it time we start thinking about competing by being smarter than your competition? One of our speakers, Estelle Metayer, focuses solely on this topic, and I’m probably looking forward to her session the most.


Because it strikes at the heart of our economic future. And you can’t afford to miss it.

Register yourself and your employees at

Thank you.

Needed: Entrepreneurial Thinking

I’ve always struggled with the word “entrepreneur.” I tend to raise an eyebrow and wonder what is really meant when someone says, “I want to become an entrepreneur” or when government says “we need to create more entrepreneurs.”  It always sounds noble, but I’m just not sure what to expect.

Is an entrepreneur someone who starts and assumes the risks of a new business?  Or, is an entrepreneur someone who champions new ideas, processes and solutions that create value … regardless of their vocation?  There’s a big difference, and it begs the question of whether entrepreneurship should only be taught in business schools, or should it be liberal art applied to all disciplines … entrepreneurship in medicine, in engineering, in education, in nursing as well as in business?

Which do we need more?  Entrepreneurs or Entrepreneurial Thinking? 

Exactly three months ago, we assembled a team of eight entrepreneurial Edmontonians from various disciplines and challenged them with the goal of building a festival that celebrates entrepreneurial thinking.  There were only three criteria:

  • It has to celebrate creativity and entrepreneurship applied to all kinds of disciplines, as we know industries and technologies are converging like never before, and we are surrounded by an endless stream of new opportunities to make change;
  • It has to become a platform for many, many organizations to get involved and use in their own creative ways … and over the next three years, it needs to grow into a 5-day, scalable, multi-location festival that takes place around the city … kinda like SXSW in Austin; and
  • It has to be launched this September and it has to be absolutely awesome from the very beginning.

You know what I love about entrepreneurial Edmontonians?  Without even a question, the group of eight (relative) strangers looked at each other, rolled up their sleeves and collectively said, “Yeah, we can make that happen.”

And exactly three months later, on July 8th, we launched E-Town 2013 ( with Commander Chris Hadfield and The Barenaked Ladies kicking off the opening night, followed by five interactive keynote speakers that will be discussing topics ranging from “Why Culture Trumps Strategy” to “The Future of Data and Privacy” to “Using Filmmaking to Create a Movement.”

Wait a minute you say … Chris Hadfield’s an astronaut, not an entrepreneur?

Wait a minute I say …. Does the world need another coffee shop, or does the world need another Chris Hadfield?  This risk-taker single-handedly changed how the world sees the space exploration industry while doubling the demand for science-based education.        No entrepreneur there!!

Entrepreneurial thinking, risk-taking, rule-breaking … converging Education, Entrepreneurship and Entertainment in Edmonton makes for a fantastic start to E-Town 2013.  This festival is all about the entrepreneurial mind-set … and you, your colleagues, your company, your community, your city, your country … we all need more of it.

Don’t miss it … Sept 12th/13th … ( … it will be remarkable.