The city of Baltimore has been in decline for several decades, but as blogger and startup founder Mike Subelsky outlines, is experiencing a renaissance of ideas and entrepreneurialism. He suggests that this enthusiasm and energy needs to be marshalled by a person he describes as an Innovation Community Manager, whose duties he outlines below.
Does Toronto need an Innovation Community Manager
Please read Mike’s description and vote in the poll below.

From Mike’s Blog:
. . . just imagine if Baltimore innovators could call upon a trusted person or small team to handle common details like these:

  • Negotiating for space with venues (good venues are usually controlled by large institutions confused by who the volunteers are, why they’re not affiliated with another large institution, and why they can’t pay high rental fees)
  • Seeking financial sponsors and media partners
  • Finding a fiscal agent to handle details like accepting checks and reimbursing volunteers for expenses
  • Renting equipment (like wireless microphones, HD cameras, and projectors)
  • Printing programs, banners and t-shirts
  • Publicizing and marketing events (most of these programs are marketed over the Internet, which leaves out a large segment of the populace)

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With the right community manager in place, larger institutions could back this “new Baltimore” and connect with the city’s new generation of thought leaders via a single point of contact. Today, if you are the President of Johns Hopkins or the CIO of Legg Mason or the CTO of BillMeLater and you want to sponsor innovative programming, you have to talk to dozens of people and write a series of small checks. What if you could write one larger check to a responsible, accountable person who could instantly connect you to the innovation renaissance?

Supported by a community manager, innovators would then be free to focus on getting things done, instead of constantly figuring out how to get things done. More high-impact ideas would take root because their activation energy would decrease: would-be organizers would know exactly who to talk to first.

Given its own explosion of startup events, organizations opendata movements and hybrid art/culture/technology efforts, could Toronto use an Innovation Community Manager, or something similar?

Trevor Stafford

Trevor was the Manager, Online Communications at MaRS. Follow him on Twitter @contentsherpaSee more…