Today’s announcement from Georgian College signals my transition out of the Innovation Officer position with the Municipal Innovation Council (MIC). I am working closely with MIC members over the coming weeks to facilitate a smooth transition that enables sustained success.
I am deeply appreciative of the opportunity that all MIC-member municipalities have provided my family and I over the last year. The role of Innovation Officer has been dynamic and challenging in ways that have been fulfilling. I have been squarely focused on championing innovative, adaptive, and resilient growth in Bruce County. It is not easy to step away from the MIC, but I firmly believe that the Council now has the foundational pieces in place for years of growth and success.
Since starting in the Innovation Officer role, I have remained committed to building an innovation ecosystem that fosters collaborative problem solving amongst all members. We developed a strategic framework with municipal leaders that identifies areas of opportunity that we can influence and change, including:
Agile service delivery
Transformed transportation, and
We identified the capabilities that all eight member municipalities need to invest in to affect change in our areas of opportunity. Those include:
Progressive procurement practices
Integrated research, assessment, and analysis
Community-centred engagement and capacity building
Inclusive organizational development
Learning through communities of practice, and
Leveraging partnerships for scaled impact
We have committed to the promotion of the MIC innovation ecosystem by:
Authoring and maintaining a blog and LinkedIn page to document reflections on projects and innovation systems. Visit nii.ca/mic to view the blog with project updates
Actively engaging with elected officials and staff in multiple provincial ministries to create awareness of the MIC’s work and seek opportunities for partnership
Establishing “Communities of Practice” that connect municipal staff from across the membership to learn together, identify pain points, and solve problems
We have had many accomplishments in the MIC that have either addressed an area of opportunity or helped develop one or more capabilities needed to advance innovative work in the MIC. Those included:
The completion of a Solid Waste Management Service review that identified 24 opportunities for collaboration that improve service and/or cost. This project was fully funded by the first round of the Municipal Modernization Program (MMP)
Numerous applied research projects that integrated subject expertise from post-secondary institutions at no cost to the MIC. Each project provided members with well-researched recommendations for short, medium, and long-term action. Applied research projects included:
The rehabilitation of vacant buildings for community development with the University of Waterloo’s Masters in Economic Development and Innovation (MEDI) program
Attainable housing in the Town Saugeen Shores with thirty undergraduate and graduate students from the University of Waterloo’s School of Planning
Best practices in municipal procurement with the University of Waterloo’s Masters in Economic Development and Innovation (MEDI) program
Three projects were co-developed with undergraduate co-op students from Wilfrid Laurier University and the University of Waterloo over the summer 2021 term. Grant funding ($22,800) was secured to offset the cost of employment. Each project provided members with well-researched recommendations for short, medium, and long-term action. Projects included:
Thorough environmental scan of organizational development efforts across all member municipalities and advancement of a shared training and development curriculum
Municipal service mapping that integrates sector research and applies UX design principles to improve service delivery
IT business analysis of all member municipality’s digital infrastructure, including software, hardware, and consultancy spends. Information used to identify shared service agreement and procurement opportunities
The identification of a secure digital signature solution for municipalities looking to create efficiencies in document workflow between staff, elected officials, and other stakeholders
Provided support in the development of a remote sensing platform with the County of Bruce IT and Transportation departments to automate problem/hazard identification throughout Bruce County
Supported the Bruce-Grey District Catholic School Board with post-secondary involvement regarding a mentor-mentee STEM education program with Wilfrid Laurier University
The MIC has numerous projects underway that will positively impact the quality of life for visitors and residents of Bruce County. Those include:
Identifying, procuring, and implementing an advanced digital mapping solution for natural disaster mitigation and climate change impact monitoring.
Co-leading the development of a Smart Beach infrastructure that enhances swimmer safety along Lake Huron shoreline, provides a platform for real-time water quality sensing, and monitors shoreline transformations in high traffic areas in partnership with Microsoft, the University of Windsor, NPX, the Nuclear Innovation Institute, Mitacs, and member municipalities
A co-op student from Conestoga College has been hired for the Fall 2021 term to advance progressive procurement practices amongst members
A Municipal Modernization Program (intake 2) funded project that advances recommendations from this summer’s MIC project on IT business analysis with a focus on the development of shared IT service solutions amongst member municipalities
The ongoing prioritization of hiring and developing co-op students that support the advancement of MIC priorities and build a talent pipeline that helps address succession planning and organizational development needs
The prioritization and advancement of recommendations provided to the MIC through the applied research projects focusing on downtown revitalization, municipal procurement, organizational development, municipal service analysis, and IT business analysis
I wish the MIC continued success—and I stress my sustained commitment to the MIC team. There is something special taking shape for municipalities across Bruce County, and I truly believe that the MIC can provide leadership to rural communities from across Ontario who are wrestling with complex challenges.
I have many to thank for the last year, but I want to take a moment to specifically thank Jessica Linthorne. Jessica was a driving force behind the creation and launch of the Municipal Innovation Council. She was a wonderful collaborator who helped me navigate the municipal context. Jessica had much to do with me serving as Innovation Officer. I am grateful for her encouragement and care for the communities we have served.
With sincere thanks and a the very warmest wishes for the future,
Dave Shorey is the (former) Innovation Officer at the Municipal Innovation Council.