Dr. Don Tapscott, Chancellor of Trent University

Chancellor Don Tapscott's June 6, 2014 Convocation Address

Trent Chancellor Named One of Top 5 Business Thinkers in the World

» Alumnus Don Tapscott clinches number four spot in Thinkers50 global ranking of management thinkers

Chancellor's Lecture Series

Government and Democracy in the Networked World

March 5, 2014
Toronto Reference Library
789 Yonge Street
Toronto, Ontario

The children of the baby boom, aged 16-34, are the first generation to have grown up bathed in bits. I call them the Net Generation. They learn, work, play, communicate, shop and create communities differently than their parents. Their immersion in the interactive world of the Internet and digital technology has trained them to be activists -- not passive readers, viewers, or voters.

In the first era of democracy enjoyed by previous generations, citizens listened to speeches, debates, and television ads. They gave money and voted. But when it came to having input into policy and real decisions, they were relegated to the sidelines.

In many countries civic engagement by young people had been growing, but recently around the world young voter turnout is declining. Witness the 2010 vote in the US or the current us crisis with Chris Christie’s Government in New Jersey. Today in Ontario citizens are cynical about the antics of our government leaders on all levels – from Rob Ford to the Senate.

Governments and democracy run the danger of becoming irrelevant. Many surveys show that young people reject the old model where citizens between elections are inert and the elected politicians and unelected bureaucrats have control.

To achieve social cohesion, good government and shared norms, the new realities demand a second wave of democracy based on a culture of public deliberation and active citizenship. This is not direct democracy: it is about a new model of citizen engagement and politics appropriate for the 21st century. What are the new models of democracy? What’s the case to move to a second era of democracy? How would it work? Key challenges?

Interested parties might want to look at my article from the Toronto Star on the topic.


Creating 21st Century Cities

February 11, 2014
Trent University
55 Thornton Road S,
Oshawa, Ontario
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Cities are becoming central to everything. For the first time in human history, the majority of the world’s population now lives in urban areas. By 2050, the figure will rise to 70%.2 This marks the beginning of an entirely new chapter for humanity, with the city placed firmly at the centre of social, economic and political development in the 21st Century.

Moreover, the digital revolution is enabling the transformation of cities. The old industrial age model of the city is giving way to new open networked models of everything from local government to education, transportation and the power grid.

For example, with all the changes in the world economy and with the strong public demand for government accountability and transparency, there is now a great opportunity for city and state governments to redefine their relationship with the public they serve. Young people, in particular (The net-generation) are both interested in participating with government on issues and at the same time apprehensive that the governments will respond to their needs.

Don Tapscott, who according to Thinkers50 is the world’s leading authority on the impact of the digital revolution, explains the 10 dimensions of transformation. He argues that to reinvent a city it is critical to engage the local population.


New Ideas for a Connected Planet

November 26, 2013
7:30 pm
Market Hall,
Peterborough, Ontario

Arguably the industrial age is coming to an end and we need to rethink and rebuild many of the organizations and institutions that have served us well for generations, but now have come to the end of their life cycle. 

At the same time the contours of new enterprises and industries are becoming clear. With the digital revolution, society has at its disposal the most powerful platform ever for bringing together the people, skills and knowledge we need to ensure growth, social development and a just and sustainable world. And all around the world there is the first generation to “grown up digital” are entering the workforce and becoming citizens. These “digital natives” are a powerful force for change. 

People everywhere are collaborating like never before. From education and science and to new approaches to the city and democracy, sparkling new initiatives are underway, embracing a new set of principles for the 21st century -- collaboration, openness, sharing, interdependence and integrity.

Don Tapscott, for 3 decades arguably the world’s leading thinker about the impact of the digital revolution on business and society, argues that this is an age of participation where everyone has a role to play.


Convocation Ceremonies
Convocation 2013 June 7, 2013 - Morning Ceremony

Don Tapscott Installed as Trent's Eleventh Chancellor during June 7 Convocation Ceremony

World authority on innovation, media and impact of technology officially began three-year term as chancellor July 1, 2013

Don Tapscott Installed as Trent's Eleventh Chancellor during June 7 Convocation Ceremony
Don Tapscott Installed as Trent's Eleventh Chancellor during June 7 Convocation Ceremony

Bestselling author, entrepreneur and one of the world's top business Thinkers50, Don Tapscott was officially installed as Trent’s eleventh chancellor during the University’s convocation ceremonies on Friday, June 7 at 10 a.m.

As part of the installation ceremony, Mr. Tapscott addressed graduating students, their families and members of the Trent community prior to the conferring of degrees. Preceded by a citation by Trent University alumnus and Board member Harvey McCue, Dr. Tapscott was officially installed as chancellor by taking the Oath of Office. Representatives of different sectors of the University, including faculty, the Board of Governors and alumni, divested Mr. Tapscott of his honorary robes and invested him with his chancellor robes to complete the installation.

Dr. Tapscott’s address to the graduands highlighted the new spirit of collaboration enabled by the Internet age and how well Trent’s model of interactive learning prepares graduates for the needs of the future. He also thanked his wife Ana Lopes, an honorary Board member who previously served as vice-chair of the University’s Board of Governors, and his mother, Mary Tapscott.

Recognized as one of the world's leading authorities on innovation, media, and the economic and social impact of technology, Don Tapscott has been an advisor to business and government leaders and has introduced ground-breaking concepts that are part of our understanding of a rapidly changing world. A graduate of Psychology and Sociology at Trent University and a recipient of an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 2006, he was re-named one of the most important living business thinkers in the world by Thinkers50 in 2011. On June 1, 2013 Forbes.com listed him as the #1 management thinker in the world according to influence on social media.

Mr. Tapscott is CEO of a Toronto-based think tank The Tapscott Group, and was previously founder and chairman of New Paradigm. He is vice-chair of Spencer Trask Collaborative Innovations, a new company building a portfolio of companies in the collaboration and social media space. With a Master's degree in Education from the University of Alberta, he is also an adjunct professor at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto and the inaugural fellow of the school's Martin Prosperity Institute where he is currently leading a large investigation of new models of global problem solving, cooperation and governance.

Mr. Tapscott is the author and co-author of 14 widely-read books about information technology in business and society, including: Wikinomics: How Mass Collaboration Changes Everything; Macrowikinomics: New Solutions for a Connected Planet; Paradigm Shift (1992); and Growing Up Digital (1998). He has given more than 1500 keynote speeches and presentations to many of the most important audiences in the world, including being invited to speak to world leaders by the World Economic Forum in Davos many times.

His clients include top executives of many of the world's largest corporations and government leaders from many countries. The Washington Technology Report called him the most influential Canadian media authority since Marshall McLuhan. Mr. Tapscott and his wife Ana Lopes, an honorary and former member of Trent's Board of Governors, sponsor the biennial Tapscott-Lopes Business and Society Lecture at the University.

Duties of Trent University Chancellor

The role of the chancellor includes conferring all degrees and diplomas and sitting as an ex officio member of the Board of Governors and the Senate. In addition, the chancellor serves as chair of the Senate Executive sub-committee on University Honours and represents the University in an official capacity at external functions from time to time. Each chancellor brings his or her special talents and interests to the position, and enters into and enhances the life of the University. The term of the office is normally for three years but is renewable upon the recommendation of Senate Executive and the agreement of Senate and the incumbent.