A note from Sue Paish, CEO of the Digital Supercluster
I bet we all pride ourselves in ‘doing the right thing’. Sometimes it is not clear what that ‘right thing’ might be and then there are other times when it is crystal clear. One of those ‘crystal-clear’ moments happened when we were asked if there was anything we could do to support Canada’s efforts in the crisis in Ukraine.
Some of you may remember when this organization ‘got the call’ in March 2020 and we were asked: “Is there anything that the Digital Supercluster and your Members can do to address issues arising from the COVID-19 situation?” At that time, no one had a clear picture of what these ‘issues’ might be, but you showed up – in droves. In just a few weeks we created the parameters for our COVID Program and a few weeks after that you delivered over 400 qualifying proposals with investment values of over $1.4 billion! (We had $60 million to invest). And so – we selected the absolute very best proposals which have in many ways converted to delivering world leading technologies.
And so back to Ukraine. The call came: ‘Do you have any projects or technologies that might be able to support issues emerging in the conflict in Ukraine?’. This time we did not need to create a program or develop a dedicated call for proposals. We knew the answer: Absolutely. Within hours of receiving the call, Karen McClure and our Programs Team identified four core areas where we had project teams developing or already deploying technologies in key areas of need in Ukraine and surrounding areas:
- Food Security and Food Logistics
- Health & Safety on Front Lines (and beyond)
- Disaster Planning and Response
- Rebuilding and Recovery
Within these areas we identified 13 projects with technologies ready to deploy or on the cusp of being ready. Needless to say, the Minister and his team were impressed. They saw how quickly our project teams move, your adaptability and agility and they were especially impressed with the clear commitment that each of our Members and our project teams have to always ‘do the right thing’.
Within days of that first call, we were contacted to see if one of the technologies could be quickly adapted for expedited deployment. The team responded as we knew they would: with enthusiasm, dedication, and a commitment to get this done.
And so, in less than one week after the first ask, we have a major technology being evaluated to support potentially thousands on the front lines, in field hospitals, in refugee settings and beyond.
If ever there was a time to do the right thing, it is now. Thank you to each one of you who have received calls from us to review your technology or to explore how you might be able to help in other ways. Thank you to our Members who are already on the ground and supporting Ukraine: EarthDaily Analytics who is supplying humanitarian organizations focused on food security in Ukraine with proactive crop monitoring insights and MDA who is providing Ukraine with real-time satellite imagery. And thank you to those of you who are or who will participate in the Employment and Social Development Canada job bank, which is dedicated to helping displaced Ukrainians find jobs upon their arrival in Canada.
I know I am just scratching this surface in providing these examples and so thank you to each one of you who is ‘doing that right thing’. There has not been in a time in decades when each one of us has the opportunity to do the right thing whether it is a charitable donation, exploring supporting newcomers to Canada, or continuing to develop ground-breaking technologies that just might save a life – or a country. The right thing is – always right.