Hub World Ontario: Wynning By Adding Value by Craig Carter Edwards – February 13, 2013

Kathleen_WynneCFN – The premier said reviving Ontario’s economy will be a major priority for the government, as the province works to become “a hub of innovation, industry and investment.”

My son is a big fan of WII Lego video games. Like many of today’s video games, these ones have multiple levels you can play accessed through a “hub world”. Essentially a value-added menu, hub worlds have labeled doors that let you look at the available levels in a map-like format, maximizing your opportunity to view your opportunities and determine what option best suits your mood.


Over the evolution of games, these hub worlds have grown in complexity to the point where they’ve become playscapes in and of themselves; you can try different exercises to hone your skills prior to trying a level, connect pieces you’ve discovered out in the field to create new opportunities and harness new skills and abilities. None of these pieces are essential to the game play, but they DO enhance the experience, better prepare players for what they’ll find beyond the hub and open up new opportunities.


Video games aren’t the only field where centralized coordination and value-add are manifesting themselves. News aggregates like Ontario News Watch and National News Watch do the same thing, essentially creating a visually-communicated menu of top stories and adding value with some original content of their own. In fields like fundraising, there are innovative companies like The Funding Portal; for commercial and social innovation, you have places like MaRS or the Centre For Social Innovation.


Coincidentally or not, there’s another trend of players returning to a hub-world for added support or to gain added value; as the cost of living soars and employment opportunities shrink, there are many young (and not-so-young) adults returning to their parents’ home for sustainable living or returning to school for additional training. We don’t think of homes or schools as hubs or resting places, but increasingly that’s an added function they serve.


Government Services are heading in the same direction; both in terms of physical space usage and online access, the move is towards user-friendly service aggregates designed for repetitive use. Instead of going to hospitals when an illness has happened, we have Family Health Teams, Community Health Centres and online Occupational Mental Health Tools that provide proactive support and training, reducing the likelihood of traumatic or accumulated stresses out in the field. I’d argue that the whole point of government is to serve as a social nervous system, efficiently coordinating human and physical assets to result in the realization of our individual and aggregate maximum potential.


There’s no reason that Ontario can’t expand its role as a hub and become a centralized access point for innovation, industry, investment and human potential for the global village. There’s unquestionably demand for someone to play the role of stone in the soup – if we can work in a collaborative fashion and look at our opportunities not as a path, but a map, we can be hub world for the rest of the world to play in. When it’s clear we’re having fun doing so, the rest of the world will want to join our party.


The same thing applies to how we provide services to Ontarians – if we can move passed a silo-based model towards something more systems-oriented, we can provide more efficient services and reduce duplcation, gaps and overlaps at the same time. We also need to rethink how we view educational institutions – instead of nests we’re meant to leave, schools should be seen as education hubs we’re comfortable going back to for training top-ups. The increasing availability of online education fits that purpose nicely.


It’s all within our reach – we just need to move beyond thinking what’s bare-bones necessary and start thinking about how we can add value both internally and externally.


Fortunately, I believe we have the right leadership to make that happen.


Craig Carter Edwards

Born and raised in Cornwall, Craig has lived in or travelled to nearly 30 countries and currently resides in North York with his wife and son.  A political veteran, Craig brings a wealth of government, private and not-for-profit sectors experience to his current role as strategy consultant for the social entrepreneurship sector.

(Comments and opinions of Editorials, Letters to the Editor, and comments from readers are purely their own and don’t necessarily reflect those of the owners of this site, their staff, or sponsors.)



  1. This guy keeps talking but no one is listening to his nonsensical tales of Dungeons and Dragons or whatever allegory he is attempting to get across. Rubbish socio-babble. I think I just invented a word, you can use it. Son.

  2. “The increasing availability of online education fits that purpose nicely.”……

    I see you agree that Cornwall doesn’t need a bricks and mortar university.

  3. Oh, come on, Wowsers… Surely you know about trolls! :o)

    Try a positive comment one of these days. You might even enjoy the feeling.

  4. Yes, lets make conditions right for investment towards jobs. Have Ms Wynn come up with a path and business case and take it to the voters this spring.

    Lower government tax, less red tape, and reduced hydro costs would be a good start.

  5. Eric, I know you’ll be happy that Premier Wynn(e) is proactively reaching out to stakeholders and the Opposition Parties to collaborate on solutions. When everyone works together, we can keep Ontario Working!

  6. Oh Craig Carter-Edwards I hear the liberal party pulling their strings.You better follow party favour.

  7. Highlander – that makes zero sense, like a message point that doesn’t answer a direct question. That’s so yesterday’s politics!

  8. I will be somewhat happy if the reaching out does not include our purses, wallets, arms or legs. LOL
    Would still like to see an election though, Ontario needs to see what she offers.

  9. Elections are expensive and, last I checked, fiscal restraint was an issue these days. In a minority parliament, such as we have now, everyone has a chance to shape policy and if common ground (which should be the goal) can’t be found, THEN Ontario goes to the polls. For those who wish to lead and accomplish collaborative solutions, we’ve got the best possible configuration now. Of course, not everyone is good at collaboration and some might try to force an expensive election in an attempt to gain power.

    I don’t think Ontarians would look favourably on a my-way-or-the-highway approach.

    But tell us, Eric, what are your thoughts on Wynne as a leader? It’s historic that we have an openly gay Premier, but she’s also a skilled negotiator with mediation training. Wynne puts accomplishment before political wins – does this approach significantly change the dynamic? Where does this place Hudak, who has traditionally been instransigent in his partisan biases?

  10. Hudak will be relegated to the sidelines, where he will snarl and smirk and froth at the mouth. Ultimately, it will be Andrea Horwath who decides when or if the Libs will be defeated by a vote of confidence. I think Wynne and Horwath might find enough common ground to keep this government alive for a while. It’s called compromise and cooperation… Concepts that are completely foreign to Hudak.

  11. I still wonder about math skills within the government when 222 really means 211.
    So has collaboration ever reduced taxpayer costs?

    I have no issue with anyone being elected to a role by a majority of citizens. I would be concerned if she was openly Muslim and followed Sharia Law as that is not wanted in Canada. Yes I favour a melting pot over multiculturalism, and I do hope of course, Whnne will provide more good than bad.

    Elections are a price we pay for democracy and most of that money goes back to renting polling stations or paying poll clerks
    within our communities. I remember a Teacher telling me that governments are like babies, they need changing.

    Intransigent is a big word like chesterfield. If enough people provide the motivation, would any leader not yield? But you would have to ask Hudak or Horwath. However, are you saying Wynne would not want to do something just to gain power?

  12. Eric, if I understood you correctly, you’re suggesting that elections are good for the economy because they create jobs and fuel the economy. Does that apply to government, in your view, or just elections?

    Intransigent is a big word – surprised you didn’t mention Rob Ford, Canada’s expert on yielding to public opinion.

    Power is not an end, it’s a means. Wynne (take your time spelling it, you’ll get it right eventually) has a track record of putting accomplishment first – which has certainly helped her impressive track record of electoral success.

  13. I do prefer that a government has conditions in place to allow private companies to start, grow and prosper. Taking tax out of government to pay for an election is not creating good jobs, only giving some tax money back. In this case, I believe we need all of Ontario’s voters to see an agenda and vote in a Premier of choice, before new and wonderful directions are taken.
    Are we in the area of a million Ontario government employees in our province of 13 million?

    I had trouble spelling McGuinty as well, seems to have come out mcguilty.

    I do enjoy some back and forth like this, but for some reason I get the impression you are either trying to be a teacher or hope I slip up and show some kind of knuckle dragging, cowboy hat wearing non latte drinker characteristics.

  14. “expert on yielding to public opinion” I guess it is much better to ignore majority voters then? That is how we are going to maximum frenchification.

  15. Craig can all this sunshine continue to be pumped in while we are under bankruptcy protection? Over 100 BILLION dollars added to the debt by the Liberals, approximately 92 BILLION dollars spent servicing the debt over the last 8 years or so and future costs about to go clear through the roof assisted by the provinces downgrading of its credit capabilities which will result in higher borrowing costs even before the interest rates begin to rise. Businesses and industries chased out of the province because of an energy policy that was totally blinded to the reality that it is not money that makes the world go round it is cheap energy that does. Craig where did the manufacturing jobs that we (Ontario) had go ?Orange, e-health etc who pays ? What about the cost of shutting down the windmills on land as other countries many years previously have done ? Tell me how spending can continue at its current pace to fund the demands that WE have placed upon ourselves when we currently are not paying enough taxes to pay down the debt. Yet higher taxation will further erode the middle class that supports the bulk of the structure. Which in turn will increase the needs of the social safety net we screwed up to
    provide more. Beginning to sound like a vicious cycle ? I have heard the word sustainability until I am sick to death of the word and yet no one seems to want to apply it to the current path we are being led down ! Baa baa

  16. Eric – name puns! Always fun, though not overly productive. Do you sell them?

    I’ve got zero interest in trying to portray anybody as stupid, as the term really doesn’t describe anything practical. Besides, I’m just as clueless as anyone else on scores of issues and there are unquestionably fields I think I know well but really don’t. My goal is always to learn more and think about things in new ways, encouraging others to do the same. It’s the conversation that teaches; teachers are just conduits.

    What sort of private companies do you think are creating value in today’s world? What tools will allow them – but the individuals that create and support them as well – to prosper?

    If you haven’t heard of David Kelley (IDEO) this video is worth checking out:

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