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New Year’s Resolutions for Economic Developers

#WednesdayswithMDBInsight – this week Justin Dias, Consultant, shares the resolutions he’s making for the new year.

It’s that time of year again when our thoughts turn from the year that has passed to the new year ahead. We’ve been through all the 'best of' lists and are looking how to supercharge our lives, personally or professionally.  As economic development professionals, maybe you’ve just rolled out your ‘year in review’ presentation to Council or just wrapped up and put a bow on your latest project from 2019. The New Year is a great time to look and plan ahead for what is to come.  

Here's a list of some of the New Year's resolutions I’m working on. Hope that maybe a few of them ring true for you, too.

  1. Think more about Sustainability – this past year saw a massive shift in the way we view sustainability as both individuals and communities.  Greta Thunberg has recently been named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, her Fridays for Future movement continues to spread across cities around the world as millions of people, and particularly young people, take to the streets to demand action on climate change.  At the municipal level, more and more Canadian cities, both big and small, are declaring climate emergencies. In economic development, the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals are increasingly finding their way into more and more strategic planning documents. With such a groundswell of action, it is apparent that continuing with a business as usual approach will not be enough.  This year, I’m hoping to think more and more about sustainability in both my personal life and how I approach the projects I’m involved with.

  2. Avoid the excessive use of buzzwords – it seems that as economic developers, we are sometimes guilty of using lingo that only economic developers would fully understand and appreciate. Innovation, acceleration, tech-enabled, fintech, etc, etc, etc. While these words can be useful, we sometimes fall into the trap of using them too loosely and frequently and in turn make their meaning more and more ambiguous.  My resolution this year is to use these terms sparingly and only when they actually apply.

  3. Get more involved in the Community of Economic Development Professionals – There are so many resources available to us as economic development practitioners.  One of the greatest features of our professional community is the willingness of people to share their experience, tips, tools and lessons learned from projects they have been involved with.  Economic developers are rarely protective of their successes and are almost always willing to share. The Economic Developers Association of Canada (EDAC) and the provincial economic development associations are great resources for professional development and networking. My resolution is to get more involved in this community, both to share in their knowledge and to also hopefully give back and support newcomers to the profession.

  4. Get my Ec.D certification - like so many of my colleagues, going through the Economic Development program at the University of Waterloo was a memorable experience. Sleeping on plastic mattresses in dorm rooms and rocking out after hours in the common times!  Just like undergrad, those dreaded papers have been hanging around, just waiting for a spare moment to finally put pen to paper. Now is the time to finally get it done and finish the process (for my Year 1 and Year 2 classmates....we can do this!). 

I hope all our economic development colleagues have a wonderful 2020 and are able to put their best foot forward.  I’m looking forward to continuing to connect and engage with you all this coming year.

unnamed-10To learn more about Justin and the other members of our team, go to

Our Wednesdays with MDB Insight posts feature the thinkers and doers on our team sharing ideas and talking about what’s important to us as professionals. We have very diverse backgrounds and a range of interests to share with you. We hope you’re enjoying these posts and that you will join the conversation with us and let us know what’s on your mind mid-week.

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