D'Arcy from Winnipeg
Solution Architecture, Business & Entrepreneurship, Microsoft, and Adoption

Sask 3.0 Summit–Day 2 and Final Thoughts

Saturday, April 28, 2012 2:41 PM

Day 2 of the summit was more of the same from Day 1 – which is to say fantastic speakers, insightful presentations, and great discussions. I really enjoyed the afternoon breakout sessions where attendees got together in groups to discuss topics like how to attract and keep talent in Saskatchewan, what the current and coming impacts to industry and economy are, and what needs to happen to nurture the next generation of technology companies. I think the entire Sask 3.0 Summit has been a rallying cry for Saskatchewan to recognize how far they’ve come, where they’re at, and what they need to focus on for the future.

Saskatchewan has always been seen as the butt of jokes in Canada. The “Gap” where the landscape is nothing but flat prairies, and their biggest export was seen as Saskatchewan Roughrider jerseys, wheat, and Pilsner beer. Manitoba has long held an air of superiority to its western neighbour, using the stereotype of simple farm/hillbilly folk in ways such as promoting sports events (The Banjo Bowl) or sell phone services (MTS used them as a punchline in TV commercials). We  act like school yard bullies, thinking that we’re much more superior because…because…why? We have the Jets? We have population? We have industry? We have…?

For some time Saskatchewan has been surging ahead beyond Manitoba. Their economy is stronger, backed by various industries and natural resources. They are forward thinking with technology – downtown Regina offers free internet access and they recently adopted Open Data as part of an Open Government initiative. Saskatchewan entered into the New West Partnership with Alberta and BC in 2010 which, according to the announcement (view here), will enable better trade, innovation, and procurement. Their universities have accredited courses on iPhone development and over the last two years there’s been three tech-related  conferences that have emerged to rally the province around technology (Prairie Dev Con, Mosoconf, and now Sask 3.0 Summit).

There’s only one thing holding Saskatchewan back from really surging forward – themselves. Being friendly, humble prairie folks seems to bring with it a lack of confidence. One of the topics in the breakout sessions was on how to attract and retain people in Saskatchewan. I think the first thing that needs to change is the attitudes of people who are already there. Saskatchewan should be proud of who they are and what they’ve built and accomplished. They shouldn’t put up with the asinine comments from the rest of Canada, and shouldn’t feel shy about flaunting the amazing things the province offers.

I’m very excited to see Saskatchewan evolve over the next few years and continue to be an example for other parts of Canada. I hope that the information I collected and the ideas that came to me while attending the Sask 3.0 Summit can help at home in Manitoba – and hopefully others are taking notice of the changes happening to our neighbours and why its important for us to surge ahead as well. Because as it stands now, Manitoba is looking like the “gap” between the east and west in Canada.



# re: Sask 3.0 Summit–Day 2 and Final Thoughts

agree with each and every statement 4/28/2012 2:45 PM | deepanshu

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