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Welcome to Rainforest Alberta - yeg's Monthly Newsletter

Hi Guest,

Rainforest Pulse goes out once per month to keep you up-to-date on the progress made towards supporting the growth of Alberta's innovation-based economy!

In This Issue

  • Recap of July's events
  • Upcoming Events in August
  • What is the Rainforest?
  • Core Value focus: Listening
  • Interesting things

Recap of July's Events

Lunch without Lunches

July was historic - the first time Rainforest Albera - yeg ran two LWOL events in the same month! Not only that, but both events were well attended, packed with energy, and enjoyed the new space in the Faculty of Extension! Special thanks to EEDC for sponsoring the 2nd floor space to the end of 2018.

Lunch without Lunch #1 featured serial entrepreneur Adrian Banica, CEO and CTO of Direct-C. Adrian shared stories of his entrepreneurial experience with his previous ventures and starting Direct-C.

"Grab every opportunity that comes your way."

- Adrian Banica

LWOL #2 featured entrepreneur Teruel Carrusco, another serial entrepreneur who had an exciting story to share about his experience taking a software company international.

"Think BIG - you can do it in Edmonton."

- Teruel Carrusco

July Connector

Despite the summer months, July marked anther packed room at the Advanced Technology Centre. For July, Connector featured Susan Carlisle from ACTIA (Alberta Clean Technology Industry Alliance) who brought our entrepreneurs, service providers, and researchers up-to-speed on the wide variety of services and resources that ACTIA has available. The goal of ACTIA is to make Alberta a worldwide leader in clean technology and they serve as the starting point for any cleantech company to find the resources they need to start or scale their business.

Upcoming Events in August

Every month, Rainforest brings entrepreneurs, investors, service providers and other innovators and changemakers together. These events are a core principle of the Rainforest - creating trust through connections and conversation.

Who should attend a Rainforest event?

  • Anyone interested in starting or growing an innovation-based business in Alberta
  • Former entrepreneurs and business owners looking to share their experience and give back to the community that helped make them successful
  • Anyone exploring entrepreneurship as a potential career path
  • Individuals or companies who provide services to entrepreneurs at any stage of growth, from pre-start to growth to succession
  • Anyone interested in improving the culture of innovation and trust in Alberta, making a meaningful impact on the growth of the emerging innovation economy, or individuals who want to be part of the solution
  • Researchers, inventors, or makers who are looking for help in making their idea a reality

August Rainforest Events

What is the Rainforest?

Rainforest Alberta is a grassroots, community-based initiative of people working together to improve the invisible infrastructure that empowers Alberta's innovation-based economy.  We want Albertans to know that they don’t have to move away to invent, prosper, and move their ideas forward. To that end, our goal is grow the same invisible infrastructure that underlies successful, innovative communities like Silicon Valley, Denver, Boston, or Israel, right here in Alberta. The Rainforest is based on simple social principles contained in our social contract, which guides the way that individuals interact within the ecosystem. 

Core Value Focus: Listening

Why is Listening so important to Innovation in Alberta?

Listening is a fundamental interpersonal skill; without it, communication is at best superficial. In the context o innovation, listening is a crucial skill. Adept listeners ask questions like "what problem are we really solving", "is this the right problem to be solving", or "what are the possible unintended consequences of our proposed solution", and they actively listen, rather than cosmetically listen, to the answer. Listening can generate real change, produce unexpected outcome, and foster real innovation. 

There are 5 levels of listening, the lowest level being cosmetic listening and the highest level being emergent listening. Members of the Rainforest practice at least Empathetic listening - that is they listen to understand, not simply to respond. 
  • Level 1 - Cosmetic listening, i.e appearing to listen
  • Level 2 -Downloading, i.e. gathering facts to confirm what is already "known"
  • Level 3 - Conversational, i.e. listening to respond
  • Level 4 - Empathetic, i.e. listening to understand
  • Level 5 - Emergent, i.e. listening to form insights about present problems and future possibilities
"Connecting to the emerging future – to a future possibility that links to your emerging self; to who you really are."
- Otto Scharmer, Presencing Institute

To master the art of listening to understand, try these tips:
  • Pay Attention - give the speaker your undivided attention
  • Slow Down and be Patient - allow the other person an extra second to think before you speak, and embrace silence
  • Defer Judgement - personal assumptions can distort what we hear so listen to learn, rather than to judge
Active listening is a key skill to master the art of emergent listening, and a difficult skill to learn. In fact, active listening begins by listening to oneself. In The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey sets out a seven-part model for effective performance in business and personal life, many of these habits are built upon listening.

Covey first recommends taking time to listen to yourself and understand your own core goals and values. This is a necessary step to as it allows you to consult your own values and goals before acting. Next, Covey recommends listening to others in order to become aware of the values and goals of others. This enables you to find common ground and thus maintain productive relationships. Habit 5 - Seek First to Understand is built upon empathetic listening, a skill Covey considers essential to effective communication. Covey emphasizes the power of going beyond mechanical responses of conversational listening but to instead feel what the speaker is feeling. Covey, as others, believes that the only way to establish communication in some professional and personal situations is by becoming, in small part, the person you are listening to. 

We are all capable of seeing the world through the eyes of another, but most of us do not deliberately try to do so. Covey notes that it takes time and practice to learn this skill, but the reward is a whole new level of communication and problem solving. By acquiring the ability to see a situation simultaneously from multiple points of view, members of the Rainforest are able to truly innovate but truly understanding the needs of their end users, customers, or supply-chain. 

Interesting Things

Rainforest featured in the news!

Taproot Edmonton featured Rainforest Alberta - yeg in their weekly Tech Roundup! 

Taproot Edmonton is a source of curiosity-driven stories about our city, cultivated by the community. They are building a new way to do local journalism and a new way to fund it, because the business model that used to support local journalism is broken. A true example of innovation in action, Taproot Edmonton wants to replace what is being lost with something that is sustainable and responsive to the community we serve.

Tech Bootcamp is seeking employer input

CareerLeap is beginning program development based on industry feedback to assist skills retraining of underemployed individuals to meet the techncal nees of Alberta companies. They have decided to focus on software development and etwork specialists and are seeking employer feedback & Support as they embard on the planning process.

If you have any questions, please contact Alyssa Diehl at CareerLeap.

Alyssa Diehl, Program Manager

780.412.2285   |   |

AI Entrepreneurs can win $1,000,000

Elevate is excited to announce Canada’s first $1M Pitch Competition - ElevateR Pitch.

ElevateR Pitch is a March Madness-style pitch competition where Canada’s best AI startup companies compete for the attention of international media, investors and global tech leaders. Finalists from across Canada will face-off with over $1,000,000 in funding up for grabs for select finalists. On Tuesday, September 25 at the Sony Centre, only four companies will get through to the final round and pitch live on Elevate Main Stage right before Al Gore's keynote. 

 The application submission deadline is Tuesday, July 31, 2018 at 11:59 pm EST