TVO’s Agenda focuses on innovation economy

I happened to catch TVO’s The Agenda on Monday night as I was flipping through the channels and noticed that it was the final installment of their “on the road” series. This one focused on the innovation economy and was hosted in Waterloo.

Normally I wouldn’t really pay much attention to that, but this time was different because I had participated in their show back in January that focused on the agricultural economy.

It was much more relaxing watching the proceedings from my cosy sofa this time than sitting in the studio audience that night at Queen’s University – but I was still able to participate online through their live web conversations with Twitter and my trusty Netbook.

I have to give TVO kudos for integrating technology into their broadcast and engaging viewers on a whole new level than just streaming content into their living room via the one way of TV.  I was able to read and respond to other viewers who posted their ongoing comments and thoughts on what was happening on the screen in front of me, which made the whole event quite interactive and memorable.

The actual content of the episode was interesting too because it was focused on the innovation economy and the leading edge role that Waterloo Region is playing in Canada’s high tech sector. RIM CEO Jim Balsilie was a panelist, as was Ontario Minister of Research and Innovation John Wilkinson, who also happens to represent that particular riding.

Plenty was said about research, universities and high tech sector. What received little to no mention, though, was the role of agriculture in the innovation economy. It didn’t seem to be an aspect of innovation that registered high with anyone – panelists or studio audience. It did get a few mentions online, and not all of them just from me. Honest!

Now it could be because a whole show was already dedicated specifically to agriculture. And it’s likely also true that the concept of green innovation and looking to farming for solutions beyond traditional food productions is still somewhat in its infancy.

But we shouldn’t limit ourselves in our embrace of innovation by focusing only on the high tech world – agriculture has plenty to offer when it comes to opportunities and the economy.

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