Dragon presents keynote address at annual summit

Nicole Verkindt, CBC’s newest Dragon on the tech-focused web series NextGen Den

Nicole Verkindt, CBC’s newest Dragon on the tech-focused web series NextGen Den, will speak about the importance of disruptive thinking, innovation and technology at the State of the Island Economic Summit dinner this month in Nanaimo.

The founder of OMX (Offset Market Exchange), Verkindt believes in the role of entrepreneurs to grow the economy and help solve global issues. She sees investment in technology as a driver for growth and leveraging technology as a defining competitive advantage.

In the last 10 years the world has seen major disruption in a variety of industries largely due to entrepreneurial innovation and the use of technology. As Tom Goodwin of Havas Media wrote in TechCrunch last year, “Uber, the world’s largest taxi company, owns no vehicles. Facebook, the world’s most popular media owner, creates no content. Alibaba, the most world’s most valuable retailer, has no inventory. And Airbnb, the world’s largest accommodation provider, owns no real estate. Something interesting is happening.”

Popularized by the analysis of Harvard Business School professor Clayton M. Christensen in 1995, the ‘something interesting’ Goodwin is referring to is disruptive innovation. This type of innovation disrupts existing markets by creating a new value network or markets.

Driven by rapid technological, economic, and social change, disruptive innovation is a powerful economic force that is at once destructive and creative – whole industries and business models can be overturned in a short period of time.

In addition to Verkindt’s keynote address, a panel of experts will be exploring the disruptive economy in depth at one of the 16 informative summit sessions.

“The key, as we move forward, is resiliency and diversity,” says George Hanson, president of the Vancouver Island Economic Alliance. “The market and our buying habits and the entire way we do business is changing tremendously fast. I think there’s reason to be excited as long as we can be responsive to change.”

The disruptive economy is just one of many critical topics presented at the State of the Island Economic Summit scheduled for Oct. 26-27 at the Vancouver Island Conference Centre.

For more information or tickets to the summit, please visit www.viea.ca.