There’s no denying New Brunswick has a lot of social, political, environmental and economic challenges to grapple with if it ever hopes to become a player on the global stage.
Slingshot NB, a cross-disciplinary action tank out of Fredericton, operates on the belief that disruptive technology and alternative business management strategies can play a huge role in helping address these challenges and they want to help make it happen.
Next week, the group will be hosting its first Slingshot Talk, a free “solutions mixer” and series aiming to help define New Brunswick as a hub for technology leadership.
We talked to the Slingshot’s Joshua Sallos and Robert Ogilvie about the event and what people can expect:
What is Slingshot Talks? How did it come about?
Sallos: Slingshot Talks, hosted by Slingshot NB, is an initiative to introduce the community to emerging technology and ask participants what they see as challenges and barriers that may be overcome.
Slingshot Talks is more than just a lecture. It’s an opportunity for people to share their unique perspective and insights with like-purposed and impact-minded individuals while exploring tech platforms and mediums that may offer solutions.
Can you describe what will be happening at the event?
Sallos: Three speakers will be joining us to talk about the creative process along with demonstrations of presently emerging technology such as creativity, drone technology, 3D printing, blockchain, AI, VR/AR, Raspberry Pi and open data.
Who would you say this event is for? Do you need be working in or knowledgeable about tech to come?
Sallos: The event is open to everyone with a [focus] on the student population. The speakers will provide 101/entry-level overviews of the emerging tech platform that is designed as a refresher for those with technological processes and a crash course, understandable by someone with no experience. This is a free admission event and everyone is welcome regardless of tech experience.
What do you hope people take away from the event?
Sallos: We hope participants will take home a sense of empowerment as we aim to emphasize the importance of a large and diverse set of perspectives. As the Slingshot community develops, we will move towards more hands-on activities that create real change in Fredericton and moreover, Atlantic Canada.
What are some of the longer-term plans for Slingshot?
Sallos: We see Fredericton, New Brunswick, but I would say even Atlantic Canada, as a greater region as something of an up-and-coming thought leader in the tech sector … and there’s a lot of high level emerging technology.
Ogilvie: And a lot of them are not just pure ICT, they have a lot of hardware links and links to specific sectors, which means they are more advanced, more niche and hard to disrupt.
If you think of competitive advantage … it’s how hard it is for someone to take that away from you. So the more that it’s linked to a particular sector’s needs, the better we are in that. Obviously, things like biotech take longer to do. ICT and mobile technology are faster and there’s a whole range of technologies in between.
Sallos: So this is a powerful stimulant for the greater economy. It’s something that we’re capable of. It’s something [where] the tools and the knowledge are definitely in place, there just needs to be some sort of stimulation to push the industry in that direction.