Digital Citizenship in Alberta: 3 public CIOs discuss innovation projects


Via Robert Brennan Hart and Edward Wilson-Smyth

Financial building, particularly in useful resource economies, has traditionally been a balancing act between compelled false alternatives – expansion vs. fairness; alternative vs. results; cash in vs. folks; economics vs. setting.

Conventional approaches to financial coverage have devolved into existential battles between two ideological solitudes, additional entrenched in social and political divides that save you significant dialogue, coverage and execution.

Alberta, for lengthy the engine of Canada’s expansion, faces now not simplest those coverage debates, but additionally a brand new uncertainty associated with what has traditionally been its number one useful resource – non-renewable conventional power resources. Optimism within the face of uncertainty is not any coverage, and Alberta must stability a persisted focal point at the oil sands with a various and renewed focal point at the different two vital herbal sources each and every sovereign has at its disposal – land and folks.

The deliberate and useful utility of rising know-how to financial building, via a real partnership between marketers, governments and societies, can create new employment alternatives, new pathways to luck, and new communities related via know-how into not unusual social and financial interests.

Monetary establishments, in particular via credit score, transform vital to this new style for financial building, by means of supporting the quite a lot of drivers of innovation, making alternatives to be had to a huge ecosystem of voters and citizens, and reflecting rising patterns of price and intake which might be other from what existed even 10 years in the past. Innovation in finance, when partnered with technology-driven financial building, can actually revolutionize how societies are outlined, shaped and serve as, and the way price is outlined, created, and shared.


What revolutionary virtual projects are being leveraged to your group to beef up now not simplest the survivability of what you are promoting or govt, but additionally the survivability of the province at huge?


The Executive of Alberta is lively on many fronts, and with many tasks to higher permit Alberta industry, the entrepreneur and the innovator to have extra equipment for luck, and to make sure that govt doesn’t get in the best way of being a hit. This would come with enabling applied sciences, information and products and services. Listed below are only some examples:

Open Government. Alberta has the most important and maximum numerous open govt provincial presence in Canada. The carrier additionally supplies get entry to to vital experiences reminiscent of Environmental Have an effect on Checks, the regulations and laws of Alberta and big quantity of geospatial datasets. Casting off obstacles to gaining access to govt data provides Alberta a industry a bonus and not directly lowers the prices of doing industry in Alberta, particularly the place there’s reliance on govt data. The carrier additionally supplies get entry to to datasets for marketers development virtual answers that calls for govt information.

My Alberta eServices together with MyAlberta Virtual ID, and shortly, MyAlberta Trade ID. MyAlberta eServices supplies get entry to to govt products and services at any time, from any place and on any tool. This may increasingly make it extra easy, intuitive and supply easy-to-complete transactions for Albertans and industry that calls for interplay with the GoA. This implies extra environment friendly and decrease prices of doing industry in Alberta for Alberta corporations and voters. It approach reducing obstacles for Alberta industry in order that they may be able to focal point on being aggressive and leading edge.

Endeavor Information Analytics Technique. For many years IMT answers in govt have been siloed answers with information locked up throughout the utility; appearing as a repository of data of transactions. Hardly was once there attention of the endeavor standpoint. This technique seeks to creates a data-ecosystem throughout govt, and its companions, in order that the ones considering shopper enhance, coverage building or day by day operations can leverage information, each ancient and in real-time to make higher, extra knowledgeable and extra well timed choices.

The staff at the back of has been re-writing tens of 1000’s of internet pages to position them in undeniable language, include the science of CX (citizen revel in) with the aim of offering significant communique for voters, industry and stakeholders. The purpose, as above is to cut back obstacles and due to this fact decrease the prices of doing industry in Alberta.


Universities are very conventional and extremely complicated establishments with lengthy institutional recollections. The adoption of virtual applied sciences has been gradual to take root and they’re at the back of in a similar fashion sized organizations in different sectors. This problem may also be associated with their complexity, to the character of virtual know-how building and to conventional approaches that stay efficient. Applied sciences at the moment are changing into to be had to deal with those institutional wishes. As well as, a hit adoption throughout many sectors calls for scholars to be skilled to grasp and use subtle virtual know-how riding alternate in educating and analysis.

We’re within the technique of architecting a virtual infrastructure to enhance all sides of the College’s venture educating, analysis and management. Those new architectures come with the incorporation of cloud applied sciences to simplify and beef up infrastructure and building up carrier flexibility and capability; exploring the usage of AI and analytics in scholar and shopper carrier and in industry procedure optimization, working out the potential for blockchain in enabling credential sharing and exploring the skills of digital and augmented fact.


How is what you are promoting or govt leveraging public-private sector partnerships to boost up the velocity of innovation and financial diversification around the province?


ATB is embracing partnerships in academia and industry with the intention to cross-pollinate insights and impulsively execute. A few of our partnerships are in-province, like our AI partnership with UAlberta, our partnership with Calgary Financial Construction’s EvolveU to talent up out of labor ability for tech-based positions and our burgeoning courting with the numerous like-minded meetups in Alberta round exponential know-how. Some are out of doors of Alberta like Singularity College, Sovrin Basis, IBM and MIT. They all, on the core of it, are supposed to get advantages Albertans and Alberta.


Let me give an instance of a fascinating mission that comes to the Executive of Alberta, Alberta Information Partnership (a not-for-profit group) and the personal sector. The Open Information Spaces Venture. Open Information Spaces Alberta is a brand new enterprise being spearheaded by means of Alberta Information Partnerships to position in depth information within the fingers of those that can use it.

Datasets from six key rural spaces throughout Alberta is to be had for no price to impressed marketers, SMEs and artistic drawback solvers. Those will come with earth commentary, faraway sensing, geospatial information, environmental information, and social and financial datasets from deepest business and govt. Investment could also be to be had to enhance marketers. Thru an settlement with Alberta Financial Construction and Industry, grants might be introduced for pre-commercial building of technology-based equipment using the knowledge supplied throughout the Open Information Spaces and targeted at the wishes of business and/or govt. Quite a few companies have already gained investment via this program together with GeoAnalysis Inc., SensorUp Inc. and Waterline Sources Inc.


Is it reasonable to suppose Alberta can become itself from a resource-based financial system to a knowledge-based financial system in time to successfully compete within the virtual age? What demanding situations do you are feeling the province must triumph over to successfully facilitate the sort of huge transition? Are you positive about this change?


It isn’t an issue of going from resource-based financial system TO one thing else. We now have observed massive know-how shifts in resource-based corporations to both transform much less concerned with conventional power resources or have in truth driven the limits right here to make reserves financial that most likely weren’t prior to now and to leverage know-how (like Blockchain) themselves.

To that finish, the transformation of Alberta’s financial system doesn’t essentially wish to be at the again of shifting utterly clear of oil & fuel funding.

It’s an issue of changing into extra environment friendly and reasonable with how we extract price from the herbal sources sector AND including in intentional building of the tech sector. That is rather reasonable, however more than likely over a reasonable to long-term period of time. The important thing to serving to the province triumph over that is growing homegrown ability and reskilling the ability now we have that has been displaced all the way through shifts within the power business…a few of the ones petroleum engineers are 6-Nine months clear of changing into complete stack builders from a talent set standpoint. There’s a powerful call for for experienced tech ability and plenty of corporations in top tech environments (TO, Silicon Valley) are having a difficult time hiring, so you’ll consider as an Alberta-based group of any dimension, there’s a want.

Alberta has at all times been resilient and entrepreneurial so we’re positive we will be able to make the shift and to find techniques to increase house grown ability to enhance that shift.


The province has an overly powerful tutorial machine k-20, together with world-class analysis universities. Those supply a basis for tech innovation enabling marketers get entry to to highbrow, capital and organizational sources to lend a hand with early-stage building. Our tutorial construction is definitely supported inside of Alberta and throughout Canada with an Web spine offering excessive bandwidth connectivity very important to virtual age building. Apparently, that the wish to change the useful resource source of revenue has now not but hit a pitch the place the various financial system has shifted out of a low equipment. The extend would possibly price us dearly as misplaced floor might not be smooth to make up. However, the prospective is rising; the infrastructure is being constructed and the human capital is being evolved. We’re striking ourselves in an overly robust place to pivot into the fourth business revolution.


What aggressive benefits or differentiators does Alberta have that may be leveraged in attracting international funding in our know-how business?


I’d like to say 3 techniques that differentiate Alberta.

Cybera. Cybera protects Alberta’s financial long run because the publicly funded company within the province chargeable for making sure the advance of complicated and environment friendly cyberinfrastructure, or e-infrastructure, a now very important basis for innovation. Cybera’s staff of mavens works at the back of the scenes to regulate Alberta’s ultra-high-speed complicated analysis community — CyberaNet — which connects native researchers to a few 100 analysis networks world wide. Operating with companions in the private and non-private sectors, Cybera could also be main ‘above the community’ tasks in Alberta to pilot rising applied sciences that lend a hand to construct e-infrastructure to enhance the province’s financial expansion.

Alberta’s consolidated information units. From secondary well being information to environmental tracking information, Alberta has been a pace-setter with offering wealthy information to be had for analysis. The Secondary Use Information Venture is a provincially led, multi-partner mission to facilitate the improved and complicated use of secondary use well being and social information for the well being and socioeconomic advantage of Albertans. This number of information units Alberta aside and produce well being analysis corporations to Alberta to enhance their analysis targets.

The Environmental Tracking and Science Department, as a part of the Executive of Alberta is chargeable for tracking, comparing and reporting on key air, water, land and biodiversity signs. The department’s mandate is to offer open and clear get entry to to clinical information and data at the situation of Alberta’s setting, together with explicit signs in addition to cumulative results, each provincially and in explicit places. The mandate of this department makes it a global chief in supporting analysis in environmental science.

System intelligence. AMII is the Alberta System Intelligence Institute, a analysis lab on the College of Alberta prior to now referred to as the Alberta Innovates Centre for System Studying (AICML). They paintings to make stronger working out and innovation in quite a few subfields of gadget intelligence. The groups habits modern analysis to push the limits of educational data, and forge industry collaborations each in the community and the world over to create leading edge, adaptive answers to the hardest issues going through Alberta and the sector.


Components that may be conducive for funding in rising tech companies and ability right here.

● A cast quantity of move-in in a position company area
● The easiest focus of head places of work in line with capita within the nation (supply: Calgary Financial Construction),
● A impulsively rising ecosystem of marketers (as evidenced by means of the continuous expansion of accelerators, entrepreneur-focused techniques, and enlargement of ATB’s personal entrepreneur centres).
● Younger inhabitants. The common age in Alberta is 36.five years with median ages in Edmonton and Calgary being round the similar.
● A particularly reasonable price of residing and work-life stability with an important quantity of park area and geographical options (mountains) within sight.


Alberta has at all times been an leading edge province with an extended and wealthy historical past of technical innovation within the useful resource business. The potential for the oil sands was once transformed into an financial useful resource base via leading edge engineering know-how. Each the bodily and human capital received from the growth of the useful resource base supplies Alberta an important head get started in adopting virtual applied sciences to become its financial base.

Our working out of the worldwide funding marketplace and our established relationships and credibility with the funding group does and can proceed to offer vital price to Albertan marketers.

Co-author Edward Wilson-Smythe is a Virtual Foremost at Avasant

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Updated: May 29, 2018 — 2:39 pm
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