Can we make Ottawa extraordinary? I think so.
As you probably know, I moved back to Ottawa six years ago with my wife and two kids (now three) after spending time in Europe and the US. We chose Ottawa over San Francisco because we chose family and lifestyle over business.
Over these six years I have been actively involved in the technology startup sector hosting events, promoting local businesses, mentoring, and as a loud advocate (and sometimes critic). My wife has been very involved in our children’s schools and has been completing her master’s degree in education while raising kids and coping with me. We’ve made Ottawa our home and I’m proud of our community and city.
But I know Ottawa could be better. It could be exceptional.
And, like most Ottawans, I find myself lamenting that we make decisions that aren’t indicative of our city’s world-class talent, knowledge, and passion. That as a city, we settle for pretty good or ‘as good as’ somewhere else. It’s true in innovation, redevelopment of public space, transit, our education system, environmental issues, or social programs.
I have blamed a lot of people for our shortcomings. Elected officials, government employees, land developers, interest groups, the media, etc…
Four months ago, I worked with the CEO of Ideavibes, Paul Dombowsky, to create a new platform that would allow me to be part of the solution.
Together we assembled an awesome team of Ottawa’s most talented people in business, design, technology, and media and set out to create a platform that empowers every person in Ottawa to help make our city exceptional.
The concept is simple, but powerful.
Ideavibes.com makes it easy and free for anyone to create a “campaign” on a specific topic they would like to envision for Ottawa. Categories range from the Arts to Politics, and Business and topics can be anything from “What Band should Headline Bluesfest” to “How to make the Canal a Winter Global Attraction”.
The reason I’m so passionate about this project is that it enables us to do something as citizens of Ottawa to make it great rather than blaming someone else for why we’re not.
I encourage you to check it out at http://www.ideavibes.com and create your own campaign, submit ideas for existing campaigns, and to share it with other Ottawans. We’re still figuring some things out, so if you run into some glitches, please fill out the contact form on the site and we’ll get it fixed quickly.
We owe it to each other and our kids to participate in building a better city for ourselves – not waiting for someone else to do it for us.
All the best for the holiday season and I look forward to sharing a pint very soon.