By Paul Brent

The Ottawa Centre for Regional Innovation (OCRI) hosted its regular execTalks forum at Scotiabank place on Thursday Nov. 24 and 270 - yes 270 people – at least twice the normal attendance got up early to be there. They came for breakfast, networking and to hear about how to boost productivity. In the room you could hear and feel the buzz. People were impressed with the turnout.

“This is the new OCRI, we want to connect with the community more than ever before. That is the roots of OCRI and with a new CEO and this great turnout we think the time is right to re-engage Ottawa,” said Frédéric Boulanger, President and CEO of Macadamian Technologies Inc. who welcomed the audience. Frédéric has been active with OCRI for years as a sponsor, and working on several programs including the Software Cluster. He added, “OCRI has always been about learning, providing content, helping people meet and network and drive the economy. I see a lot of recent positive activity.”

 270 attendees for OCRI execTalks on Nov. 23, 2011

“This turnout is great to see. There are so many cool things going on in the city,” said Mark Noonan of the Ottawa office of Deloitte Canada and the firm’s lead partner for technology.

“Ottawa is still one of the key centres for technology in Canada and OCRI and the clusters for the various sectors are the things that do make a difference. OCRI, Waterloo’s Communitech, Toronto’s MaRS and similar organizations need to share information on best practices in order to improve all communities,” said Bill Currie of Deloitte, the guest speaker. Currie spoke about Deloitte’s recent study on productivity and why we should care that Canadians are on average 25 per cent less productive than the average American worker. Curried added, “If you want to keep your standard of living and have your children enjoy the same benefits we need to step it up in productivity. Technology can provide the tools to do that and the tech sector provides the key, high value sustainable jobs Canada needs.”

The Deloitte report points out that about half of Canadian firms are risk takers and behave just like their American counterparts but the other half of Canadian firms avoid risk and that drags down the overall economic performance. The full report details the problems and offers solutions to the productivity gap.

OCRI is a client of market2world communications inc. Read the blog post by my colleague Nathan Rudyk about the amazing turnout for the Nov. 14 kick-off to Ottawa Entrepreneur Week.

If you want to get involved and be part of the new tech scene fro Ottawa go the OCRI website.  The next major event is the annual Festival of Seasons Holiday Reception Wednesday Dec. 14 at the Delta Ottawa Centre.

(Paul Brent is Senior Communications Strategist with market2world communications inc. the public relations and product marketing agency for global innovators.)