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The 2013-2014 Chancellor's Lecture Series has finished - they are listed below for your interest.

New Ideas for a Connected Planet

Government and Democracy in the Networked World

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: Click here


Solving Global Problems Differently

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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.

There is a fundamental change underway regarding how global problems can be solved. Emerging non-state networks of civil society, private sector, government and individual stakeholders are achieving new forms of cooperation, social change and even the production of global public value. They address every conceivable issue facing humanity from poverty, human rights, health and the environment, to economic policy and war.

Enabled by the digital revolution and required by the challenges facing traditional global institutions, these “Global Solution Networks” are now proliferating across the planet and increasingly having an important impact in solving global problems and enabling global cooperation and governance.  How do these networks work, become effective, make decisions and become legitimate?  What are the implications for corporations, states and global institutions?


Creating 21st Century Cities

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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.