Banff Forum Community Crowdsourcing: Banff Forum XV/XVI

The theme for Banff Forum 2016 is “Ambition Canada”. The Board would like to crowd source ideas on topics, speakers and sponsors from the Banff Forum community. To provide a starting point for the discussion, we have put together a list of topics that would allow us explore the “ambition” theme in more detail (see below). We are interested in hearing your feedback on these five areas, particularly around:

A) Ideas you may have for speakers, particularly speakers under the age of 40, that have a particular expertise or experience that makes uniquely able to discuss the subject. Please also let us now if you have a connection to them.

B) Ideas for sponsors (e.g. would this theme have particular resonance with a certain company?)

C) Ideas for engaging the community prior to the Forum and on what topics (e.g. Google Hangouts, etc.)

D) Our goal is to have the Banff Forum explore both ambitious ideas for Canada, as well as encourage participants to be ambitious for themselves and explore how to increase their personal impact in their respective communities. Given that, are there ideas for topics you would like covered as part of our professional development sessions?

E) Ideas for fireside chats topics (e.g. these are the Friday night sessions that are focused on more intimate conversation with approximately 30-40 participants/ group). Please also tell us if you have suggestions for speakers who could lead these sessions (please note we don’t pay for fireside chat speakers so these individuals would need to be from the Banff Forum community or speakers from the weekend)

F) Feedback from past events indicated that people want more opportunity to interact with each other and to identify communities of interest around particular topics.  To help facilitate this, we are considering a few options, such as having small, informal breakfast discussions, making changes to panel Q&As to allow for more discussion among Banffers at their tables, and potentially replacing a session with something else. This would give more time and space for participants to interact and identify communities of interest around particular topics. We are curious to know your ideas on this.

G) We are currently looking forward to 2017 and what our program could look like as we celebrate Canada's 150th year anniversary. Do you have any ideas for what our theme should be and what we could do to give back to Canada as a Banff Forum community?

Banff Forum XV: List of Topics

Please note we are not looking for additional topics at this time, but are very interested in hearing your feedback on how the topics are currently framed.

1. Going Global from Canada

The world feels smaller and more connected than ever before, making it easier for business to extend its reach and enter foreign markets. Yet, Canadian business continues to have a paltry showing on the world stage, with a noticeable lack of representation from new and emerging Canadian sectors.

- How can we inspire the next generation of Canadian business leaders to go global?

- How do we foster innovation, encourage risk-taking, and address the underlying issues, whether it is a lack of widespread business ambition, insufficient resources, or deeper structural problems within the Canadian economy?

2. Ambition for Reconciliation

The Truth and Reconciliation Commission completed its final report in 2015 with a number of key recommendations around the key message that “"Reconciliation is not an aboriginal problem — it is a Canadian problem. It involves all of us."

- Given that, how does the country move forward on reconciliation?

- How do we establish a respectful aboriginal and non-aboriginal people in this country? And what role do our public institutions such as the education system, have in creating this?

3. Ambition for our Public Services

The Public Service of Canada is the nation's single largest employer and plays an essential role in supporting a health society and globally competitive economy. As such it is imperative to ensure that the public service is equipped for successful change and renewal, and remains a world-class institution that can anticipate and adapt to serve the needs of their citizens. This is particularly critical as the globalized information economy is changing the whole business of government.

- With that context in mind, what must be done for the Public Service to make its full contribution to Canada in this new environment?

- Are there new approaches to policy development or public service delivery that are taking place, and if not, why? 

- How is the public sector bringing itself into a ‘21st century workplace’ where new technologies and a new generation of public servants are at odds with the hierarchy of the current public sector?

- Is responsible risk taking a possibility in an organization where historically, the appetite for risk has been very low or non-existent? 

- How are other countries globally adapting to the change?

4. Ambition for Culture/ the Media/ Arts

Canada produces artists of all types who contribute on the global stage. As a country we have 671,000 cultural workers, including 140,000 professional artists, that energize the country’s social, human and economic development and the contribution of the culture sector to the country’s GDP is close to $50 billion.[1] However, culture (defined here to include media and the arts) is often the first line item to be looked at for cuts when governments are facing deficits, and at a more personal level, one of the items families often forgo if facing tight budgets. Moreover, massive changes - driven by technology and "freer" trade - are creating both opportunities and challenges for our cultural industries.

- Given that, how are Canada’s cultural industries rising to the challenge of competition from foreign cultural producers?

- What role does Canadian culture have to play in a world where global media is available 24/7?

- How are the digitization and the convergence of the broadcasting, cable, satellite and telecommunications sector and the new technologies it is creating competing with existing distribution systems?

- What is the role of the CBC in light of these changes?

- Looking forward to 2017, what is the ambition for this sector?

5. Ambition for the Environment   

At a national level, Canada has one fifth of the world’s freshwater which provides the majority of Canadians water to drink, to grow our food, to power our homes and to sustain our environment. This is not the case with everyone who lives in Canada however, as many First Nation communities do not have access to clean water.

In either circumstance it is fair to say that water is not generally not thought of, nor actively managed in Canada. This is of particular interest as water has been described as the commodity of the 21st century, with clean drinkable water expected to become scarcer as the human population grows and climate change shifts the shorelines and weather patterns in the next quarter of a century. The U.N., in its 2014 report on world water demand, said demand is expected to grow significantly with the largest growth in the emerging world. Moreover, agricultural water consumption could grow by about 20 percent globally by 2050, not counting new efficiencies or conservation. Similarly, the OECD projects water demand for energy could increase by about a third in the period between 2010 and 2035, with non-OECD countries accounting for 90 percent of the growth. Fresh water will be increasingly strained with an additional 2.3 billion people living in areas that are highly water stressed, like North and South Africa and South and Central Asia, by 2050.

- Given the impending global appetite for water, what should Canada’s role be in promoting water sustainability, specifically in relation to knowing the value of water to our economy, the economic risks that will escalate if we mismanage it, and the clear economic benefits that could be realized if we manage water astutely?

- How do we make well-informed water management decisions, policies and practices that ensure maximum social, environmental, and economic benefits to current and future generations?

- Should Canada start charging people for their water usage, similar to Denmark and other countries?

- Does Canada need to prepare for a not too distant future where water will be traded as a commodity as is the case in Australia and the western U.S.?


[1] Canadian Council for the Arts

Crowdsourcing Feedback Form

All questions are optional, but all feedback received will be used to shape future Banff Forum programming.

Personal Information
Program theme suggestions and ideas for ways to give back to Canada as a Banff Forum community.