Fostering Community PartnershipsTBOP2017 ⋅ 6:19 ⋅ Filmed May 11, 2017
In this clip, Kingston Mayor Bryan Paterson describes how the City of Kingston is partnering with innovative businesses to achieve some fantastic goals, such as lowering costs and better serving the residents of Kingston. One such partner is the technology start up company DocuPet, which helps to reunite owners with their lost pets. In this symbiotic relationship, the City of Kingston has helped this start up pilot their technology, while also benefitting from its efficient new services. Bryan describes how new businesses and entrepreneurs can bring their expertise and value to the city, and how working with the city can be a valuable experience for them in return.
Now, what will gets me excited so not just when the city takes the lead in setting the example of innovation. Not just when we have community innovation and local innovators that are being connected with other organizations and other needs. It's when we embrace the power of partnership by putting the city together with other community organizations and then we can do some pretty exciting things.
[00:28] I'm going to give you some examples of some of the partnerships that we have here and we've developed here in the City of Kingston. One of the them, is with a startup technology company, called DocuPet. Now DocuPet is a young company that's developed an online system for registering pets. So if you've got a dog or a cat at home, you can go online, you can register them, you can obtain a license. They have this really cool feature online where if your dog or cat runs away, you can go online and you can click this link called 'Lost Pets' and enter your information and immediately it sends out an alert to everybody that would be in the surrounding region, the community, to be a go out and be able to find your lost dog or pet. You have to go to all the street posts and have a picture of your pet with phone numbers and post it on all the streetlights in your neighbourhood.
[01:23] On the other hand, we you have a city like Kingston, which I'm sure most cities can identify with this, where you have generally a low rate of licensing and registration for pets. Quite frankly, when you have lost pets it's a lot of expense for the city. Having to put money into the pound services to then when you have them, be able to house them and hoping that the pet owners are able to find where theirs [is] and be able to reunite with them but a lot of the times that doesn't work.
[01:50] So here's the partnership. We have a company here in Kingston that's developed this cool product. As a city we have a need. So we're going to provide an opportunity for them to be able to test and pilot their technology here in Kingston. And it works out! Not only does the city now have a much higher rate of licensing and registration for pets, but we've created and provided DocuPet with the experience that they need so that that can go now to other municipalities and they can sell their product. They can say 'you know what? In our home town of Kingston, they gave us the chance to pilot this and it's going great so you can trust our product'. DocuPet has had tremendous success. They are in a number of cities now across the province and beyond. I know that they're into other countries as well providing this service that really and municipality would be interested in.
[02:38] That's the power of partnership. Where the city can locate and we can see here's a technology startup company, they have a product that we can use, we're going to give them the chance and help them to spur on their way to great success which obviously is something that we're very interested in.
[02:54] Something else, another example of partnership. Deals with the development of our workforce. Making sure that we've got the people that we need here in our city that are going to fill the jobs tomorrow. On the one side, you have institutions — like our hospitals, like our long-term care facilities — that need to hire nurses. And then you have the city. Well, we have a long-term care facility. We need to hire nurses. So what's happening is that we're all trying to hire nurses but there's a problem because right now in the City of Kingston, we need more nurses. So what's happening is that institutions and different businesses and organizations are bidding against each other for a small pool of people. So we're just basically taking them from each other and really the large issue is we as a community need to come together and say, 'how can we solve this bigger issue by increasing the overall supply of nurses, for example, in our community?'
[03:53] This is the power of partnership. Where all these employers will come together. We have data, coming back to my earlier point, investing in the data we need to quickly identify where are the needs? Where are the labour needs in our community? And then having all of our employers work together so then say, 'OK, what do we need to do to address the overall supply?' Maybe we need to go to our post-secondary institutions and ensure we're getting more of an intake of young people into the programs that will have the skills that we need to be able to fill that supply. Maybe, we need to be going to other larger centres and be able to recruit and say, 'hey, you need to come here to Kingston. Here's what we can offer. Here's the quality of life that we can offer you' so that we have a larger supply of workers. That's the power of partnership.
Mayor's Innovation Challenge
[04:35] Now this last one, something I'm pretty excited about. It's called the Mayor's Innovation Challenge. So on the one side you have the city. As a city we face different challenges. We have different issues and problems, we're always trying to find better ways, more efficient ways to be able to provide our services. Maybe it's an Engineering problem. Maybe it's a Social Services challenge. Maybe it's an issue in our Arts & Culture community. Maybe it's a technology problem that we really feel like this is an issue and we really need to come up with a solution. On the other side, we know that we have these post-secondary institutions with all these smart people that are developing their skills and looking for ways and applications to be able to take the knowledge and theory that they're learning in the classroom and be able to apply it.
[05:30] So the Innovation Challenge, is that as a city, we're going to identify these specific problems. We're going to roll out specific problems in a number of these different areas and then we're going to throw out the challenge to our students and faculty in our post-secondary institutions. We're going to have them compete against one another to come up with the best possible solution. And then, as a city, as long as it's a solution that's financially viable and meets the basic criteria we're going to look for, we're going to commit to pilot those ideas. We're also looking at offering internships with the city to the winning teams to be able to provide them the opportunity, to be able to work alongside city staff to implement these new solutions that have been developed.