AgendaCamp: Citizen-driven economic intelligence

The global economy is undergoing what appears to be the finance equivalent of a heart attack, the circulatory system of credit now frozen.  The policy response looks like shock therapy. $700 billion in public bailouts (or is that ‘investment’) hanging in the balance, $630 billion in new money being printed by the Federal Reserve together with central banks around the world and sudden and frightening drops in global stock markets. Meanwhile, news that talks on Canada-EU economic integration are due to begin mere days after the Canadian federal election has gone largely unnoticed. It is clear that we are not living in normal times.

How will this instability in the system affect citizens and businesses in the places they call home?  Even before the Wall Street meltdown, Ontario’s local and regional economies were under stress and changing rapidly. The current crisis appears likely to accelerate and exacerbate these changes.

It is said that all politics are local. What about economies?

Dan Dunsky, Executive Producer of TVO’s The Agenda with Steve Paikin, believes that we need to think about Ontario’s economies in the plural and his team has identified that major sectors of Ontario’s economy correspond to our geographic landscape and its people in specific places. How do these places and people adapt to global forces that are largely outside of their control? How can we get ahead of the change curve and make our regions more resilient and adaptable to accelerating change?

To tackle this critically important question about our future well-being, TVO is launching an innovative new project that brings together collaborative events and social media together with premier broadcast journalism and expert inquiry.  I am advising and supporting TVO for this project, “The Agenda with Steve Paikin: on the Road” & AgendaCamp.

We’re looking for participants – like you. More after the jump…

Ontario’s trade manufacturing economy is concentrated along the highway 401 corridor of southwestern Ontario particularly close to the US-Canada border. Ontario’s natural resources sector dominates our vast northern expanse.  Eastern Ontario is home to a rich rural economy located in places with storied histories since before Confederation.  Ontario’s native people made a sustainable living from the lakes and forests across Ontario long before Europeans arrived. Ontario’s burgeoning knowledge-based and technology-driven economy is concentrated in places like Waterloo, Greater Toronto and Ottawa but is also popping up anyplace where talent and connectivity can find a suitable home.

The Agenda is going on the road to find these economies and their people and engage them in a new conversation about their challenges and future opportunities.  The first show and event will take place in less than three weeks in Windsor (October 19th and 20th), followed by Sault Ste. Marie (November 16th and 17th).

The audacious format looks like this:

  1. AgendaCamp: an all-day Sunday participatory event, similar to the Barcamp model of unconference, that takes place face-to-face and is also live-blogged, with video capture and other social media content uploaded to the web in near realtime
  2. The Agenda on the Road: a live-to-air broadcast hosted Monday evening by Steve Paikin featuring a panel of invited guests and a studio audience, where the best AgendaCamp ideas can find a larger audience

AgendaCamp is looking for:

  • local citizens and business-people
  • academic experts and bloggers
  • policy-makers and politicians
  • artists and technologists
  • bankers and social activists

– really anybody who has a stake, an opinion and a passion for the subject of the economy and it’s impact on our communities and our lives.  If you are interested in participating in AgendaCamp please register your email address at for more information or email me at

Thanks to collaborators Sean Howard and Daniel Rose for being part of this project. We’re enjoying working together with Steve Paikin, Mike Miner and the rest of the TVO team.

My dream list of participants from across the web and blogosphere includes: Richard Florida, Anthony Williams, Naomi Klein, David Eaves, Deborah Leslie, David Wolfe, Meric Gertler, John Britton, David Crow, Jevon MacDonald, Warren Kinsella, Andrew Coyne, Kate Trgovac, Bob LeDrew, Canadian Silver Bug, James Bow, Kate McMillan (small dead animals), Uncorrected Proofs, Steve Janke (Angry in the Great White North), Zednik (A View from the Right), Graeme Steward (Nunc Scio),  More Notes from the Underground, Canada’s World, Another Point of View, Dr. Dawg (Dawg’s Blog).

Who am I missing? You?

9 thoughts on “AgendaCamp: Citizen-driven economic intelligence”

  1. James, thanks for letting me know, the post is now fixed. Serves me right for trying to make an edit using the WordPress iPhone app.

    Dan, thanks for the comment. We like your stuff!

    I hope that you all can help me get the word out to all the professional and armchair policy wonks out there in the Canadian/Ontario blogosphere.

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