Innovation is like trip to dentist. Mayor is going to take you through that kind of experience – it will be good for you.

By Pepper Parr

BURLINGTON, ON July 28, 2011 Innovation is something we all talk about but few of us really know what it means to innovate and fewer still actually do very much in the way of innovating in their lives. Ask yourself this: When was the last time you changed the way you do something and did so with a real solid innovation?

Innovation doesn’t come easily. Too many interests get rubbed the wrong way when someone innovates. Corporations can do it because they are profit driven and the innovation is put in place to improve the profit level.

The City of Burlington isn’t driven by profit. It will tell you it is there to serve – but it isn’t always clear who it is that is being served. But that is not the direction I want to go with this piece.

Mayor Rick Goldring understands the need to innovate and while he may not have a lot of experience at actually putting new innovations into practice, he knows they are needed and has begun to take the first tentative steps to bringing some very significant innovations to the city.

He is going to see the Pier completed. It wasn’t a problem he created, it was someone else’s mess, but he is going to clean it up as well as he can. He is going to spend more money than we should ever have spent on the project but that isn’t something he has a lot of control over.

He is going to deliver a Strategic Plan. It may not be the plan he had hoped he could deliver when he started the process, but there will be more than enough meat on the bones of the Plan he delivers to satisfy most people. Once the plan is approved at Council – and yes after as much deliberation as the Mayor can get the citizens of the city to give him – he will move forward with a firm policy that will deliver numerous innovations.

He will be out looking for a new City Manger. Some interesting features in the process of hiring a new City Manger. The interviews are done by the full Council. If a Council member happens to miss one of the interviews they are not permitted to sit in on any other interviews – or as the Mayor explained it: “They get voted off the island”. That process will begin in the fall.

The Mayor will be out in the community meeting as many people as he can to talk up and sell his Strategic Plan. He is taking his – not sure I want to call it a vision – so let me call it the program he wants to work within, one step further and will begin talking about Burlington using the language that the software/computer applications people use.

There is the Web; then there was the Web2. We have an iPhone3 and an iPhone4 with an iPhone5 out there on the near horizon.

Goldring is going to talk about a Burlington that was; the Burlington that is and the Burlington that we are going to have – and he has labeled them Burlington.1; Burlington.2 and Burlington.3. Get ready to hear a lot about Burlington.3 – because that is where your Mayor wants to take you – and he would like to do it with as much input from YOU as possible.

Burlington is a city that tends to be a little placid and shows up at city hall in droves only when it is unhappy. We have a Mayor that is learning his job very well thank you. But he cannot do this all on his on. He is innovating and that means change and change is disruptive and while he is not a disruptive man by nature – he knows that the city has to innovate if it is to maintain the advantages it has.

Your Mayor is doing his part – you need to do your part and pay attention to the direction he is going to take us.




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