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"How do you even begin to develop appropriate, plausible scenarios for the impacts, opportunities and implications of emerging digital technologies on you and your organization?  This is a challenging issue facing many of our members.  Where do I start?  What's a helpful and practical way to think about these things?  And, then, … what do I actually do about it? 

These are the fundamental questions we had in mind when we invited Dr. Bob Schulz from the Haskayne School of Business to share his perspectives with us on January 12 as we explored 'Technology Strategies for the Calgary Economy: Let's Identify, Connect and Scale the Dots.'  Starting with the understanding that the Calgary economy is very energy-industry-dependent, "Dr. Bob" led us through his experiences and awareness of the problems, opportunities, and challenges with that reality.  Then, we explored what it meant to identify significant trends and 'the dots' – local pockets of expertise, research, and experience – so that we can connect those 'dots' to 'fields of play' – those significant internal opportunities that hold great promise for improving our organizations.  Those 'fields of play' include online learning, use of digital devices for mobility, and individuals who will become the data masters.  Having identified where the opportunities and challenges lie for each of us, the organizational challenges then become how to scale our approaches to enable real benefit capture – moving large volumes of environmental monitoring data to where it's most needed, deploying robotics effectively, hiring the right people, locating and enabling effective equipment utilization, effective engagement with First Nations personnel and cultures. etc. 

These observations stimulated a vigorous discussion among attendees about technologies, how to engage our organizations in some internal culture adjustments to capture and pursue innovative ideas, and how to actually capture the benefits of work process redevelopment.  We are following up this session with a second one on February 16 when we will focus on 'Managing Innovation in the Digital Economy' and explore solid, practical perspectives on how to engage in effective communication at the C-suite level."