Blogs list

Sean Fitzpatrick - TalentMap

Realizing Why It Pays To Engage - Sponsored ArticleOrganizations perform at their best when they make their employees’ commitment, potential, creativity, and capability central to their business practices. Understanding and managing how people behave at work can make the difference between success and failure. When employees feel respected, involved, heard, and valued by leaders and coworkers, they work at their full potential for the organization.Although organizations may say they feel employee engagement is important, without making a commitment to engagement, people’s talents and potential can remain untapped. But can mean big changes in an organizations’ performance and in employees’ well-being, to the benefit of organizations and society.Engagement is strongly related to higher levels of innovation. That’s because engaged employees are able and encouraged to share their ideas and think creatively. Fifty-nine percent of engaged employees say that their job brings out their most creative ideas, compared to only 3 percent of disengaged employees.Seeing the Benefits of Workforce EngagementEngagement is at the heart of the relationship between the employee and the organization. Not only can engagement benefit the employer through increased staff performance, it can also positively transform the working lives of employees and even the communities they live in.Benefits for your organizationYou’ve probably heard, and likely believe, that an organization’s number-one asset is its people. So why not invest in your employees (not just financially, but emotionally) to ensure they are productive and give 100 percent every day? Successful organizations do well, in part, by being in touch with their employees, by giving them a voice, and by making sure they know…

Photo : Sean Fitzpatrick April 21, 2014

Kevin J. Bailey - Design 1st

‘Welcome Back’ – The Hardware Start-Up - Sponsored Article The hardware product renaissance is back and in a troubled market, both established companies and entrepreneurs are welcoming it with open arms.  The decade long gold rush to develop web software Apps is maturing.  Increasingly innovators are combining physical products with new Apps in their product roadmaps.  A suite of software platforms, wireless hardware modules, flexible manufacturing processes and low cost single item shipping are making the design, development and delivery of these products easier for even small enterprises and virtual companies.   “It's a shift that Silicon Valley has taken note of in the last couple of years. Hardware startups are increasingly sharing the spotlight with software companies.” Alex Chang – Wired It is good to see the pendulum swinging back towards an array of Gizmos, Gadgets and physical products that when combined with Apps provide new ideas for smart devices that deliver great value to the user and utilize the global digital network that connects us all. “The Hardware Renaissance” is unmissable. Paul Graham has noticed it and, certainly, my credit card has. Where once, entrepreneurs turned to software to form their ‘next big thing’, there is an increasing trend towards hardware in this space. – Richard Oakley VentureBurn There are many hardware opportunities and rich intellectual property opportunities for product ideas in a wirelessly connected world.  The last hardware revolution was the in 80’s and 90’s with infrastructure deployment of the landline and wireless telecom and data networks.  Once the network infrastructure and platform software was in place, the add-on…

Photo : Kevin J. Bailey April 22, 2013

Kevin J. Bailey - Design 1st

Crowdfunding 2.0 – You Can Now Micro Invest in Local Startups - Sponsored ArticleA couple years ago many great product ideas were sitting collecting dust in the minds, workshops and hard drives of entrepreneurs. These ideas sat behind the barrier of funding – often dismissed after the entrepreneur exhausted their bootstrap, government and private lending finance options. But crowdfunding changed that. Using online platforms, crowdfunding meant new product ideas could be pitched to a wider global audience and funded through individual donations. These fundraising efforts have led to some pretty impressive success stories, the most notable being the Pebble Smartwatch which fundraised $10.3million using Kickstarter in 2012.In Canada, this new finance model has spread like wildfire. In under a year Canada has gone from a crowdfunding neophyte to experienced innovator. It was only eight months ago that the largest global crowdfunding platform – Kickstarter - launched its Canadian operations. Already the tally is massive - 1,400 projects and $14 million in donations!For people with new product ideas fundraising is quite literally at their fingertips. It only takes five simple steps. Launch a Kickstarter or Indiegogo account, tell the world why your idea is amazing, collect the donations design it and go to market.  Simple right? Not for everyone.While this scenario may have worked for a minority of crowdfunded projects it is difficult to fund an entire startup through donations and non-monetary incentives without giving up equity.On March 20, that all changed. The Ontario Securities Commission announced plans to open the door to equity-based crowdfunding – effectively leap frogging the U.S.’s progression in crowdfunding regulation.  This means Canadian…

Photo : Kevin J. Bailey April 21, 2014

George Vuicic - Hire Immigrants Ottawa - George Vuicic

Internships in Ontario: A checklist for employers - Sponsored Article Internships are playing a growing role in the skills development and integration of our city’s labour market entrants.  These experiences offer advantages to job-seekers as well as host- organizations, presenting an excellent opportunity for highly skilled newcomers to gain familiarity with the Canadian workplace culture, and strengthening host-organization mentoring culture and training programs, while bolstering the talent pipeline.   In human resources lingo, internships tend to be loosely classified as ‘formal,’ ‘informal,’ ‘paid,’ and ‘unpaid’.  Organizations can sometimes be perplexed when it comes to understanding their responsibilities when entering into an internship relationship, especially with regards to compensation.    I was recently approached by Hire Immigrants Ottawa (HIO) to clarify some of the regulations which govern organizations as they plan an internship for newcomers to Canada, as well as what factors can contribute to a successful experience for both parties.   Here are some of the basics, and some resources to consult for more information. Most employment relationships in Ontario are regulated by the Employment Standards Act, 2000 (ESA).  Under this legislation, an internship is considered a paid employment relationship and entitles the intern to minimum wage payments unless all six of the following conditions are met: 1) The training is similar to that which is given in a vocational school. This requirement indicates that in order for an intern not to be considered an employee, they must be learning employable skills or a caliber comparable to vocational schools – extending beyond errands and small tasks. 2) The training is for the benefit…

Photo : George Vuicic March 25, 2013

Stephanie Wilson - Hire Immigrants Ottawa

Connecting the dots to give employers a global competitive edge - Sponsored Article   Immigration is critical to increasing Canada’s productivity and mitigating skills shortages. In today’s global economy, employers are continually being challenged to find new and innovative ways to access the best and brightest talent in order to remain competitive.   Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC) research estimates that an additional 106,000 core ICT positions will need to be filled in Canada by 2016. Organizations will need to invest in effective HR tools, practices and resources to recruit and integrate the right talent to grow their businesses. Diversity and inclusion have been proven keys to organizational expansion and success. Organizations like Fortinet understand: “Fortinet welcomes diversity in the workplace.  We recognize that each employee brings unique abilities and experiences which greatly enriches our organization.” – HR, Fortinet   As mentioned recently by ICTC President and CEO Namir Anani , “… the ‘Internet of things’ is shaping up bigger and better with increasingly connected, smarter, mobile devices that are making their way into our everyday lives. The widespread development and use of apps (‘The appification of everything’) combined with cloud computing are paving the way for smarter and increasingly more convenient services in mobile banking, e-health, media & entertainment, and many others.”   To mitigate the skills shortage, the Canadian economy must utilize all talent sources including its highly skilled internationally educated professionals and provide them with opportunities to contribute in their fields.  If you are looking to be an employer of choice here are a few questions that can help you to assess…

Photo : Stephanie Wilson March 18, 2013

R. Samuels - AgoraPublishing.com

Ottawa: Will new Casinos be constructed? - Big players in the gambling industry, including MGM and The Ontario Lottery and Gaming Corp have been trying their best to get approval for new casinos in Ottawa with Jim Watson the mayor of Ottawa backing the idea of constructing new casinos in the nation's capital. In Mr. Watson's calculations, the city would benefit greatly from the revenue that will be generated from more land casinos.  His office has speculated that many jobs would be generated if these casinos are constructed, and these estimates have been affirmed by at least one big player in the casino industry.  Casino giants like MGM estimate that such casinos can provide jobs to thousands of people within a few years. Recently, MGM organized a job information session in the city of Toronto, on 16 March 2013. The U.S.-based company urged local residents to support their efforts and MGM asked Torontonians to encourage their city councillors, to vote in support of getting their project approved. MGM is pitching a massive casino complex with a 1,200 room hotel and shopping mall in Canada. It says its proposed development will create more than 10,000 direct and indirect jobs, if the project is approved. However, the company did specify that the jobs will not be created overnight, and the process will certainly take a few years. In these hard economic times which involve federal budget cutbacks, the city of Ottawa would surely benefit from the addition of new jobs, and Jim Watson has sought to gamble on casino job creation as a likely…

Photo : R. Samuels March 28, 2013

Mike Runia - Deloitte

Getting the right advice for your business - I was pleased when our marketing group recently approached me about an opportunity to write an “Expert Blog” for the OBJ as part of a series of Deloitte profiles.  The big question was “What should I write about?”. I’ve been the Managing Partner of the Deloitte Ottawa office for close to a year now.  During this time we have experienced many significant events that have had a tremendous impact on our both our clients and our people.  We have experienced significant highs as Canadians united to celebrate the 2010 Winter Olympics, watched our clients tread very carefully through the global recession and political uncertainty and have had to deal with continuous change in business rules, regulations, and tax laws – including HST, IFRS, Private Company GAAP and the continued discussions regarding a National Securities Regulator.However, the more I think about how much is changing, the more I realize that there is one thing that always stays the same—the importance of a strong relationship in providing quality business and financial advice. In an industry that’s often grounded in complexity, it’s an insight that’s refreshingly simple: the better I know you, the better I’ll be able to take your goals, challenges and growth opportunities into account when advising you. In fact, giving sound business advice hinges on understanding key business and personal goals. How much time is an owner willing to devote to their company? Where do they want to be in five years? Where is the industry trending? And since everyone is in a different situation,…

Photo : Mike Runia February 27, 2013

Matthew Dufresne - IDS Systems

Five Rules of Automating a virtual data center - So we're all tired about talking about cloud. In fact, it’s gotten to the point where we’re tired about talking about how people are getting tired about talking about cloud! The reality is that for the most part, organizations have already passed the point of no return, and are now looking for real ways to realize the benefits that the virtualization paradigm delivers. As it turns out, some of the most immediate benefits in the virtual datacenter are achieved through automation. According to Wikipedia, Automation is the use of machines, control systems and information technologies to optimize productivity in the production of goods and delivery of services. The correct incentive for applying automation is to increase productivity, and/or quality beyond that possible with current human labor levels so as to realize economies of scale, and/or realize predictable quality levels. I really like the second part of this definition, because it reminds me that most of us are interested in technology and are truly amazed at the possibilities it presents - so much so that we often forget the most practical incentive of applying automation: because it saves organizations time and money.  More importantly, it can make my life as an IT administrator much easier by automating repetitive tasks and ensuring that complex tasks are performed consistently. As a result, potential problems are reduced and I am able to extend this functionality to much less sophisticated users while still maintaining control. Of course automation is not new. Those of us experienced with test automation have been through some of…

Photo : Matthew Dufresne February 11, 2013

Clarence Lochhead - Hire Immigrants Ottawa - Clarence Lochhead

Leveraging Immigrant Talent for Business Development - Sponsored ArticleSo I recently purchased an environmentally friendly humidifier for my home – called the Rumidifier – you may have heard of it. It’s a great innovation, requires no energy to run, and it works really well. What’s that got to do with immigration and business development you say? Well, it turns out that the Rumidifier was developed by a local immigrant entrepreneur. It’s a terrific success story, and one that illustrates how the skills and talents of newcomers can lead to exciting new Ottawa based business ventures, creating jobs and growing the region’s economic base. To be sure, business development objectives are at the forefront of local efforts to ensure continued prosperity in the Nation’s Capital. Invest Ottawa for example, is leading the way with innovative programs and resources that promote and support entrepreneurialism, investment and business growth in the capital region. With downsizing and adjustments in the federal public service, this focus is both timely and welcomed.Along with this focus on growth and diversification, there is a widely held view in Ottawa that immigrants will play an important, perhaps even critical role in the future success of the city. The Ottawa Local Immigration Partnership (OLIP) for instance, tells us that “successful attraction, settlement, and integration of immigrants is essential for Ottawa’s future prosperity and vitality.”  So is there a relationship between immigration and the broad objectives of economic growth and diversification? Can immigrant talent be leveraged to advance and optimize Ottawa’s business development objectives? I’d like to suggest a few of the ways in…

Photo : Clarence Lochhead February 17, 2014

Mélanie Drouin - Hire Immigrants Ottawa - Melanie Drouin

Communications tips to reach ALL of your audience - Sponsored ArticleDid you know that almost one-quarter of Ottawa’s population is born outside of Canada? The growing diversity of our city presents an opportunity for organizations to leverage the skills of its diverse workforce to boost productivity and insights into the demands of a changing local market. Being a clear communicator in order to reach ALL of you audiences – employees, clients and stakeholders is essential.DiversityWhen I began my work in communications, diversity was for me, not much more than a concept to keep in mind when producing brochures that were representative of Canada’s population. However, since volunteering as a career mentor with newcomers, I now understand diversity as an important consideration that guides much of my communications work. To the PointOne of the biggest challenges to communications today is clear language. Have you ever heard of anyone being criticized for being too clear?  More than 200 languages were reported as spoken at home or as mother tongue in Statistics Canada’s 2011 National Household Survey. In fact, 20.6% of Canadians or 6.8 million people reported a mother tongue other than English or French. This considerable language diversity should signal to your organization the importance of using clear and concise language to cater to your stakeholders, clients, and customers.   What is in a word?Through my volunteer mentor experience, I learned that it is especially hard to get noticed as a potential employee when you do not speak the lingo (specific language) for a specialized field. For example, communicators or public affairs professionals are often called “spin…

Photo : Mélanie Drouin October 15, 2013

Susan Brigitte Blain - Ottawa Business Events

How to WIN with Sponsorship Marketing - Well, this is my very first blog and I feel the need to confess, I’m not much of a writer. I write like I speak, so hopefully I will keep your attention despite my lack of abilities. Working in an environment surrounded by skilled writers, one can feel at times somewhat intimidated. But lucky for me I have a few skills of my own.  Mine are in the areas of marketing, business development, negotiating, and sales. Not sales in the traditional sense but more in a non-traditional way; being 100% customer centric, helping them, if I can, to build their business. Now that sounds good to say (or in this case, write) but genuineness is the key.  I have a curious nature so I am naturally wired to be inquisitive. I’m curious about people, how they tick, who they really are, and how I might have a positive impact, how I may be of service.  It may sound corny or cliché but it is my truth. So why am I writing a blog and why should you read it? For almost a decade I have been fortunate enough be associated with and working for a great local company, Ottawa Business Journal.  I’ve had four different roles, through three different ownerships, and learned a little along the way about OBJ’s value proposition and the audience we serve. OBJ’s audience is comprised of managers, owners, professionals and executives in the small to medium-size enterprise space. We affectionately use the acronym MOPEs. My role for the past seven…

Photo : Susan Brigitte Blain January 14, 2013

Kyle Toppazzini - MCO Business Group Inc.

Incorporating Critical Thinking into Lean Six Sigma - The three value concepts of my new lean Six Sigma model are based on the Chinese terms shin, gunaxi, and zhi. The third term, zhi, means to know or understand. Confucius believed that for most people, learning was ongoing. One of the philosophies of Confucianism is that everything a person learns is subject to evaluation and reflection, and it is through this iteration process that people move toward righteousness.Thus Confucius believed that only a “small man” would try to think without learning, or not reflect on what he has learned.Critical reflection and thinkingIn my model, the idea that learning is continuous and subject to evaluation isn’t significantly different from other quality management frameworks; however, the concept of reflection is significant. In particular, I focus on a concept referred to as “critical reflection,” which goes further than the normal definition of reflection. It includes the following four activities, as defined by Don Clark:1. Assumption analysis. The idea is to think in a way that challenges our own beliefs, values, and social norms.2. Contextual analysis. This is a realization that our assumptions are formed based on our personal beliefs and values.3. Imaginative speculation. This is conducted by imagining alternative ways of thinking that challenge our beliefs and values.4. Reflective skepticism. This is the ability to think about a subject in such a way that the evidence is temporarily rejected in order to prove its validity.In any training or formal education, it is rare that reflection is taught in a way that instills deeper critical thinking. In the…

Photo : Kyle Toppazzini January 07, 2013

Jeysa Martinez - Brazeau Seller LLP - Jeysa Martinez

Environmental liability - Beware! - Sponsored Article Innocent and blameless property owners may be exposed to significant environmental liability risk.When assessing environmental liability one might think that, if a land owner did not create nor contribute to an environmental spill or contamination, fault and fairness would be taken into consideration before a cleanup order is issued against an otherwise innocent party. In May of 2012, in the case of The Corporation of the City of Kawartha Lakes v. Director, Ministry of the Environment, the Ontario Divisional Court concluded that an innocent party can be held liable for the pollution on their  property, even though that pollution was caused by someone else.  In this case, the Court upheld the decision made by the Environmental Review Tribunal in 2009.   The Court focused on the purpose of the Environmental Protection Act and, although the Court did not go so far as to exclude the fairness factors from being considered (as they were in the Appletex case, a previous decision which set out the “fairness factors”), the Court did confirm that the Ministry of the Environment’s Compliance Policy allows the Ministry to exercise their authority and issue cleanup orders against innocent owners.  The Divisional Court further noted that the Environmental Protection Act specifically contemplates that innocent owners can be held responsible for environmental cleanup costs regardless of fault and, accordingly, the Director is not required to consider the fairness factors before issuing a cleanup order to one or more parties.   We have stepped away from the days where the size of the deal dictated…

Photo : Jeysa Martinez September 23, 2013

Brian Munroe - IDS Systems

How troubled are your projects? - How do well do projects run in your organization?  Are they just trotting along happily or are there a number that are “troubled”? And, if they are indeed troubled, just how much are they actually costing your organization? There are many statistics available. PM Solutions Inc. conducted a survey in 2011, and in a list of projects valued at over $200 million, those claimed to be at risk of failing were valued at over $74 million.  Undisclosed were the projects that were in the process of being salvaged and those that were being pushed through, regardless of time and budget constraints.Failed projects do greater damage than costing a lot of money without achieving the desired results – they leave a huge negative impact on the project team which, in turn, spills over into the customer environment and the internal organization.  Staff morale takes a hit and team performance suffers.  Troubled projects also have negative financial implications due to extended costs, overtime, stress leave, loss of good will and reputation and even employee turnover.  Often, these costs go unseen initially, and then erupt when not expected – weeks, months or years later.So now what?  How do you deal with troubled projects? It is critical to identify a project that is in trouble before it hopelessly spirals out of control, destined to total failure. Through the projects that I’ve managed, assessed and reviewed, I have compiled a number of lessons learned.  In fact, I have a “Top Ten” list of symptoms of projects that are spiralling out…

Photo : Brian Munroe November 12, 2012

Heidi Hauver - Hire Immigrants Ottawa - Heidi Hauver

It’s Talent, Not Canadian Work Experience, That Counts - Talent is talent, period. Pythian is one of the largest and most respected remote database and consulting service companies in the world, and we got there because of our focus on talent.We recognize that our greatest resource is our people. And we know that the talent they bring to the table is what has helped us grow —and built our reputation as a provider of quality products and service.While almost any company can state that their strength is the human resource factor, at Pythian, these aren’t just words. We live by them, and act on them, every day. Every human resource decision is predicated on actively seeking the best talent, nurturing that talent and keeping that talent, no matter where it was acquired.What does this mean, really? First of all, it means looking actively beyond traditional talent sources to find the people with the skills we need to grow our business. Many of the best minds at Pythian were not trained in Canada, and we have found that their presence with us helps to attract even more global talent and expertise. Second, it means analyzing what a prospective employee — even those who we haven’t pursued — can bring to our company in terms of their knowledge and skills. We don’t care whether this knowledge and those skills were obtained in Nigeria, or Russia, or Spain, or New Zealand. Knowledge is knowledge and skills are skills.Third, it means treating every résumé with unbiased introspection. Every résumé that crosses the desk of a human resource staff…

Photo : Heidi Hauver November 05, 2012