On December 3, 2015, 80 people gathered in Welland for a Niagara Connects event to learn about best practice in knowledge management, and work together to begin building the next Living in Niagara report. Findings of the #Rethink Niagara Environmental Scan were examined, as a way to strengthen Living in Niagara Indicators.

Beginning in 2014, the #Rethink Niagara Reference Group of 15 leaders gathered building blocks to underpin a complete, restorative approach to economic development for a vibrant Niagara. The intent is to engage people, organizations and networks in systematically gathering, sharing and combining social and economic evidence to more accurately measure where we are, and set the course for collective action.

#Rethink Niagara Building Blocks include:

Goal: Create a vital, vibrant Niagara where everyone has the opportunity to thrive.

Vision: Creating a new picture of Niagara by combining both Social and Economic evidence to plan, make decisions and respond to opportunities

Underpinning Principles:

Understanding Who’s Doing What in Economic Development in Niagara: Combining GDP, Wellbeing and Living in Niagara Indicators.

Systematically Weaving Together Existing Action Efforts: Three Living in Niagara reports (2008, 2011, 2014) consistently cite the path to achieving prosperity for Niagara being one of systematic planning by people, organizations and networks in Niagara, all looking through a common, data-driven lens.

Overall Themes for Improved Quality of Life from 3 Living in Niagara Reports:

  • Data, evidence, knowledge exchange to support focused planning for a stronger future
  • Economic development, quality of jobs, building a labour-ready workforce
  • Reducing poverty by addressing root causes
  • Strengthening the continuum for mental health and addictions
  • Collaboration between people and organizations working in and across the 12 Living in Niagara Sectors

Common Language: Communications plan to engage people, organizations and networks in working together to achieve the #Rethink Niagara goal

Illuminating Sparks of Innovation: Measure progress by looking at vibrancy and economic impact as well as pressing, longitudinal and bigger pictures

Niagara Data Reservoir: Develop architecture for a tool to combine data layers to strengthen Living in Niagara Indicators and create a new picture of Niagara, with supporting evidence, to advance the overall #Rethink Niagara goal, by working with the Data and Knowledge Niagara Reference Group.

How do you see yourself, your organization and the networks in which you participate being involved in advancing the #Rethink Niagara strategy? We invite you to add your thinking to the mix!

Mary Wiley
Executive Director, Niagara Connects

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