Tim Hudak App a Great Success

Purple Forge recently did an iPhone application for Tim Hudak, leader of The Ontario PC Party.   The application has been a great success – it has generated a huge amount of earned media for The Ontario PC Party.  The application has also created a buzz in Twitter and Facebook with hundreds of mentions.

The message of The Ontario PC Party around the application is simple:

  • First Canadian political party leader with their own iPhone application
  • The party wants to connect with younger and older voters who are quickly turning to mobile devices for information
  • Embracing technology to be the most modern and effective campaign

Three very good articles are:

The application went to the Top 100 for Social Networking in the Canadian iTunes App Store on the first day it was announced.

Download the application and let me know what you think – brian@purpleforge.com.

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Pharmaceuticals to Replace Telecom as Canada’s Top R&D Spenders?

RESEARCH Infosource released a report last week titled “Canada’s Top 100 Corporate R&D Spenders List 2009 Analysis

Canada’s communications/telecom sector was the number one R&D spend – with 2008 research spending on associated products and services representing 40% of total industrial R&D.  Of the top 100 R&D performers, 15 were from the communications/telecom sector.

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In 2008, Nortel was the number one R&D spender.   Nortel spent more on R&D than number 2 Bell and number 3 Magna combined.

Next year’s report will likely see the pharmaceutical sector replace communications/telecom products as the leading performer of R&D in Canada.  According to RESEARCH Infosource –

The full effect of the deteriorating world economy will be reflected in next year’s Fiscal 2009 corporate R&D spending results. It is hard to envisage better overall performance than in 2008. For one thing, it appears that Canada’s perpetual R&D spending leader (Nortel Networks) will be absent from the list in 2009. In consequence, total corporate R&D spending will undoubtedly be affected – in a downward direction.

The full report from RE$EARCH Infosource is available here and is worth reading.

Social “Things” and E-democracy

Social networks and services offer interesting possibilities for the future of e-democracy.

E-democracy is a combination of the words “electronic” and democracy.”  E-democracy represents the use of information and communication technologies and strategies by democratic actors within political and governance processes of local communities, nations and on the international stage. Democratic actors/sectors include governments, elected officials, the media, political organizations, and citizen/voters.

To many, e-democracy suggests greater and more active citizen participation enabled by the Internet, mobile communications, and other technologies in today’s representative democracy as well as through more participatory or direct forms of citizen involvement in addressing public challenges.

E-democracy is a relatively new concept, which has surfaced out of the popularity of the internet and the need to reinvigorate interest in the democratic process. Access is the key to creating interest in the democratic process. Citizens are more willing to use Web sites to support their candidates and their campaign drives. In the United States just over half of the population vote, and in the United Kingdom only 69% of English citizens do so.

The goal of e-democracy is to reverse the cynicism citizens have about their government institutions.   A key element of moving towards e-democracy is increasing the ability of citizens to engage their representatives to share their suggestions and opinions in a dynamic manner.

E-democracy is the first step in moving towards participatory democracy.

Participatory democracy, is a process emphasizing the broad participation of constituents in the direction and operation of political systems.   Participatory democracy strives to create opportunities for all members of a political group to make meaningful contributions to decision-making, and seeks to broaden the range of people who have access to such opportunities. Because so much information must be gathered for the overall decision-making process to succeed, technology may provide important forces leading to the type of empowerment needed for participatory models, especially those technological tools that enable community narratives and correspond to the accretion of knowledge.

Both e-democracy and participatory democracy will evolve in steps.   Each day we see government organizations providing more and more information and services online.   We also see politicians’ increasingly reaching out to their constituents with new and emerging tools such as Twitter and Facebook to share information and solicit opinions.

New technologies will be a major factor in helping us collectively move towards e-democracy and participatory democracy — for example the widespread use and increasing adoption of online tools such as  social bookmarking, social networks, social media are increasingly popula — and point to future possibilities for e-democracy.

I believe the evolution,  adoption and proliferation of these new e-democracy and participatory democracy technologies will be driven by a new breed of politicians.

Political candidates looking to unseat incumbents will increasingly look towards e-democracy and participatory democracy as a means to reach out and engage disenfranchised voters and constituents.   Using new technologies will allow these candidates to talk directly to what is important, to hear both the “silent majority”, as well as the “vocal minority”.   Incumbent politicians, stuck in the old ways of engaging constituents and votes may well find themselves swept away by more progressive and innovative candidates.    The beginning of meaningful e-democracy and participatory democracy will start at the polls in the coming elections.

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BDC Gas Tank is Filled Up!

Industry Canada announced on Monday that they will be providing additional funding for BDC.

The funding allocation includes $350M for BDC‘s venture capital activities that will allow it to make additional direct investments of $260 million over three years in Canadian businesses already in the BDC portfolio, as well as investments in new seed technology companies and later-stage technology companies. It will also allow BDC to commit $90 million over three years to private, independent Canadian venture capital funds.

This funding is in addition to the $75 million in venture capital funds allocated in the Government of Canada’s Budget 2008, which is being used to support the creation of a privately run venture capital fund.

This is great news!  BDC has been, and continues to be a key player in helping grow Canada’s innovation, economic growth and economic diversity.

US and Canada Job Losses Continue – May Numbers

Latest unemployment numbers today:

Other interesting lists:

Broadband Infrastructure Projects for Economic Development

A recent report from OECD advocates government policy makers deploy stimulus funds and investment into broadband infrastructure –

Broadband infrastructure, in particular, can be a good target for economic stimulus spending because  many projects can be initiated relatively quickly, are labour-intensive, can minimise economic leakages, and may promise stronger marginal impacts on supply and productivity than investing in established networks such as electricity, gas, water and transportation.

The full report is available here and in interesting to read.   A wealth of related data on broadband deployments current as of December 2008 (including pricing, policies, penetration, etc) is available from OECD in detailed excel spreadsheets here.

My sense is that Canada’s economy would certainly benefit more from advancing communications infrastructure projects than it would by having another government building or public works project.