Mar 19, 2019


Event Description

The BC Tech Summit, western Canada’s largest innovation forum, held its fourth event this year. It featured 100 speakers representing some of the world’s most advanced technology firms. Keynote presentations, workshops, and trade show exhibitors demonstrated various ways in which cutting-edge technology (ie., medical robots, Quantum computing, cleantech, blockchain, and augmented/virtual reality) can provide solutions for contemporary global challenges.

Host: Innovate BC


The BC Tech Summit provides a venue for enterprising organizations, technology leaders, private investors, public officials, independent knowledge brokers, and academics to engage in productive ideas exchange. As part of the Youth Innovation Day, the forum invited 1,000 high school students from across BC to explore career options, attend hands-on workshops, and to explore breakthrough technology. In 2018, the BC Tech Summit attracted 150 investors representing $200 billion in capital as well as 1,200 visitors from 23 countries.

VSIR Thinking Points

  • Canada ranks 5th in terms of the global delivery of future skills education. However, Canada’s relatively small and aging population base means that cities will have to become significantly more innovative if the country is to improve its global competitiveness ranking.
  • Optimizing the short and long-term benefits of technology and infrastructure investments will require local communities, civil society organizations, and siloed innovation pods to work collaboratively at creating, rather than just capturing, new sources of knowledge. The self-activation of these networked arrangements will help to ensure more sustainable and equitable urban futures.    
  • While the rapid deployment of urban technology upgrades enable business intelligence solutions and more effective decision-making, the positive spill-overs are unevenly distributed across Canada. Mindful of the limits that governments can do to stimulate lasting social and economic innovation, the challenge moving forward will be to create multidisciplinary learning environments conducive to the development of next-generation soft-skills and competencies.
  • The “reality revolution” of the next 10-15 years will involve more complex webs of enabling technologies, micro-enterprises, and person-to-person knowledge exchanges. Ironically, the proliferation of urban technologies and interconnected systems will create unintended consequences, ethical problems, regulatory burdens, and service delivery challenges that will invariably raise the value of inclusive foresight and experiential knowledge.     

Concluding Remarks

The BC Tech Summit is a concerted effort to build on BC’s competitive advantage in the global knowledge economy. Although federal and provincial governments will lead in setting the strategic direction, forward-looking metropolitan regions and middle-sized cities will remain the prime drivers of social and economic value creation.   

Agenda and Speakers:

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