A decade long search for tomorrow.

Last Monday Mondoville suggested that the search for a digital media future amounted essentially to "all talk and no action" if I’m paraphrasing correctly. Unfortunately comments were closed so I’m going to comment on that post here. As I’m currently working with the Canadian Digital Media Network to establish an interactive community, this part especially caught my eye:

Canadian Digital Media Network, a federal government-backed effort with hubs in Kitchener and Stratford was evoked as a future model for Toronto, but it looks all too clinical — seemingly indifferent toward the business and marketing types who connect these ideas to the public. Who else is going to pay for the services of the designers and technologists? Well, stick with academia, and this intellectual exercise can go on forever: Canada 3.0, the Waterloo Stratford Institute’s annual conference scheduled for May 2010, promises to make this country a world leader in digital media — if not, there’s always the year after that!

Now it may come as a surprise to many, but I agree completely with that assessment.

No government effort, federal, provincial, or municipal, will ever create a sustainable industry. Period.

The Canadian Digital Media Network, or CDMN, does look all to clinical and politically correct, as any government-affiliated organization pretty much has to look. This is not going to be a controversial organization; that doesn’t make for good press.

CDMN is intended to be an enabling organization, helping others to create and/or grow digital media hubs. And every enabler starts with a grand, sweeping visionary statement, liking making Canada a world leader in digital media. This galvanizes politicians, industry, and people like you and I into actually doing something about it. Or maybe thinking that if there is somebody there to help then we can get something done quicker than we thought we could.

I suppose President John F. Kennedy had the same idea when he said that America would put a man on the moon within a decade. Great dreams with appropriate motivation behind them tend to make great things happen.

The Stratford Institute is one of those hubs, but is also an acacemic institution. It runs the Canada 3.0 Conference to bring together its constituent parties. Both the CDMN and the Stratford Institute, to their credit, recognized that they might not be reaching the entire digital media landscape. From that realization came the suggestion of DigitalMediaCamp.

DigitalMediaCamp is the grassroots face of the CDMN effort.It is open to everyone, shares with everyone, learns from everyone, and builds upon those thoughts while gathering them and allowing free comment on them. DigitalMediaCamp can be controversial, and occasionally should be. All comments about DigitalMediaCamp – uncensored in any way – are visible on the main page of the site. All of the content from DigitalMediaCamp is available on the wiki.

DigitalMediaCamp is already leading groups to galvanize around the issue, to take action, and to stand up and be counted.

Mondoville is correct. No government initiative could ever accomplish this. But sometimes a simple idea can push people beyond the tipping point into tomorrow.

(Cross-posted to digitalmediacamp.org).

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