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Not the Silicon Valley of the North: Leveraging the affordances of Toronto's technology ecosystem to design an inclusive Canada

Serdetchnaia, Jen (2018) Not the Silicon Valley of the North: Leveraging the affordances of Toronto's technology ecosystem to design an inclusive Canada. [MRP]

Item Type: MRP
Creators: Serdetchnaia, Jen
Abstract:

Advancement in connected technologies, known as the fourth industrial revolution, is a driver of progress for our generation. The benefits of progress are not evenly distributed, as regions of concentrated technological innovation disrupt industries in other regions, such as in many parts of Canada. In the face of a combination of external and internal factors, Canada is at an inflection point. Canadian leaders in industry, government and university are looking to strengthen Toronto’s innovation ecosystem as a method for reducing the gap in Canada’s technological progress. The technology hub in the San Francisco Bay Area, known as Silicon Valley, is considered the benchmark for an innovation ecosystem. Leaders in Toronto are attempting to replicate its properties in developing Internet applications, with some calling Toronto ‘the Silicon Valley of the North’. In this paper, the author argues that Toronto is not the Silicon Valley of the North by describing innovation ecosystem components and behaviours, examining the components, behaviours and history of Silicon Valley, and comparing the components, behaviours and history of Toronto. Although Silicon Valley currently dominates innovation in consumer applications and Internet technologies, the author argues that the region is really differentiated by its ability to incubate creative destruction cycles—otherwise known as the successful transition between periods of disparate innovations. The author suggests this was made possible with decades of building the region’s entrepreneurial culture, resource mobility, regulation flexibility, and concentration of people, technology and capital. In contrast, Toronto industry is largely concentrated in financial services, tightly-regulated and historically dependent on U.S. innovations. The author recommends that in order for Toronto to thrive as an innovation ecosystem, the region should avoid replicating Silicon Valley’s technology-driven innovation in consumer applications. Instead, Toronto should focus on amplifying the region’s unique properties (its affordances)—including its expertise in finance, its diversity, its relatively open immigration policies and its affinity for government partnerships—to apply Silicon Valley innovations in unlocking the value of revolutionizing entire industries.

Date: April 2018
Uncontrolled Keywords: Toronto startups; Toronto technology; Canadian values; inclusivity; accessibility; diversity; startup ecosystem model; innovation ecosystem model; Silicon Valley; fourth industrial revolution; digital disruption
Divisions: Graduate Studies > Inclusive Design
Related URLs:
Date Deposited: 14 May 2018 21:08
Last Modified: 14 May 2018 21:08
URI: http://openresearch.ocadu.ca/id/eprint/2337

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