Next Generation Communities – Jasper Innovation Forum

Forty or so people from around the world (although mainly Western Canada) convened at the historic Jasper Park Lodge for the second Jasper Innovation Forum – the topic was Next Generation Communities.  In June, 2008, the Alberta Research Council hosted the inaugural Forum – its purpose was to explore the key issues of water, food and energy, how they are connected and how innovation can offer solutions to current and future challenges.

The idea of “communities” offers a broad scope – the emphasis for most of the Forum was on smaller communities in the sense that perhaps they have a better shot a “sustainability” and could serve as demonstration projects for larger and more complex communities.

We started out with sharing out expectations for the two-day Forum.  Here is a sampling of the list which gives you an idea of how challenging it was to meet these expectations in 48 hours…

  • Find the intersection of different ideas – integrative discussions
  • Global communities – feeding the world, health care, shelter
  • Intentional or inadvertent outcomes of technology, energy, resources
  • How will people live and work in the future?
  • What is the relationship between communities and wealth generation – the economy and creation of wealth?
  • What do we do with what we have – the remaking of existing communities?
  • Can we define an endpoint of where we want to go, get into implementation and find the leadership that gets us there – top-down won’t necessarily work
  • Massive investment opportunity – investing in local power and food production
  • Where are the safe places to experiment?
  • Learning – whose knowledge matters?
  • The nature of governing and networks in an ecological age
  • In what ways can the intentional and the emergent work together? Adaptive learning?
  • Focus on impermanence and resilience – won’t necessarily be an out-of-the-blue discovery – cycle time on good ideas
  • Communities have the potential to learn – how do you build learning communities?
  • Communities as process;  communities as place
  • What is the definition of a community – a place?  A community of interest?
  • Its about values!

And this was just a smattering of comments that came from an active and vocal group.  Next blog on a framework model and how we did and did not work it through.

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