K B Research Project ( July 15


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K B Research Project ( July 15

  1. 1. A Community Capitals Analysis of Regional Change Initiatives: The South East Alberta Technology Strategy Presented by: Karen Blewett Iowa State University | 1
  2. 2. Table of Contents Abstract........................................................................................................................3 Introduction .................................................................................................................3 Research Description and Purpose ....................................................................................3 Theory of Change / Research Model...................................................................................4 Significance.........................................................................................................................4 Background of Research.....................................................................................................9 Literature Review / Context......................................................................................10 Community Readiness and Capacity.................................................................................10 Analyzing Community-Driven Projects Using the Community Capitals Framework...........11 Methodology .............................................................................................................13 Description of Data ...........................................................................................................13 Data Collection Process ...................................................................................................15 Key Findings..............................................................................................................17 Degree of Readiness (Pre-Existing Capitals)....................................................................17 ..........................................................................................................................................19 Process (Investment in Capitals).......................................................................................20 Capital Synergies..............................................................................................................22 To fully understand the involvement of all the community capitals, Table 1 outlines each of the seven community capitals in terms of what was pre-existing, invested, and how they are each interconnected....................................................................................................22 Impact (Change in Capitals)..............................................................................................26 Analysis .....................................................................................................................28 Social Capital Invested......................................................................................................29 SEATS Strategies and Implementation Plan.....................................................................29 Absence of Capitals .................................................................................................32 Conclusions ..............................................................................................................32 Recommendations for Future Research ...........................................................................33 References.................................................................................................................35 | 2
  3. 3. Abstract Introduction What are the conditions that make a community more ready to engage in change and take advantage of opportunities? How can communities work with what they have to organize and plan for the future? Every community has resources and assets it can identify and build upon. The challenge, however, lies in how communities actually invest their assets to effect positive community change. The intent of this study is to demonstrate how a community that has been effective in progressive community change was able to mobilize its assets to create and develop a successful community-driven initiative. Through the examination of the South East Alberta Technology Strategy (SEATS), I explore how the investment and interaction of community assets and capital influenced the success of the project as it moved from an idea to implementation. To provide an understanding of the relationship and investment of community assets, this study uses the Community Capitals Framework as an analytic tool to help those involved in community-driven initiatives understand how investing their community assets and resources can effect positive change. Specifically, I utilize the Community Capitals Framework to understand which community capitals are most important in beginning of the SEATS initiative, which capitals are mobilized during its development, and how the interaction of all community capitals leads to more productive investment as the project develops. Research Description and Purpose In this study, I use a post-hoc analysis to assess the value that has already been generated in the SEATS project’s initiation and development. The intent is to better understand what community assets are foundational in getting a project off the ground and then how these assets are translated into further return on investment as the project progresses. Scope To better understand the interconnectivity of the existing and enhanced community assets in the SEATS initiative, I apply the Community Capitals Framework as an analytic tool to look at the influence and interconnectivity of existing community capitals and how these capitals were mobilized as SEATS developed over time. Applying this framework lays the foundation for assessing the impact of a variety of community capital investments that occur through a project’s development cycle and how those investments translate to successful CED work in action (Flora, 2006, p. 6). | 3
  4. 4. Purpose The intent of this study is to illustrate the capital conformations in SEATS that are associated with:  The degree of strategic readiness to mobilize outside and internal resources to engage in a community-driven initiative. o What seems to be most crucial to have in place to move the SEATS forward? (initial stocks of capital)  The process of a community-driven initiative and the investments made to move forward. o What investments in community capitals seem to have the best return on investment for SEATS? (investments in capital)  The impact of SEATS development. o What change happened to the existing community capitals and what new community capitals are now in place for SEATS? (change in capitals) Guiding Supposition The analysis of an example of a current community-driven project provides meaningful practical application in showing how the presence and development of a community’s capitals can influence and improve a project’s creation and development. The Community Capitals Framework is introduced only as a post hoc analysis tool to identify the community capitals that were in place to initiate the SEATS project and how these capitals were mobilized to create and strengthen other community capitals. Theory of Change / Research Model Context Process Outputs and Outcomes Pre-existing conditions and Actions, investments, intervention Results of Actions structures SEATS Characteristics and SEATS development and Positive changes in new Assets growth and existing capitals (Initial stocks in capitals) (Investment in capitals) (Change in capitals) Analyzing the SEATS initiative by looking at the interconnectivity and development of community capitals provides a framework for understanding how investments in one capital can impact other capitals – which in turn can have both positive and negative results in the development of the project. Significance The Community Capitals Framework serves as a tool to help community-driven initiatives identify and assess where they are and potentially what they could be doing to enhance their success. This study is important because it shows the process of building on initial assets within the community capitals to impact progressive change for initiatives like SEATS. | 4
  5. 5. Central to the study are the interconnectivity and interdependence of all community capitals. This holistic approach can assist community development practitioners and funders to understand that the success of the community projects that they are involved in are not dependent or reliant on only one community asset or capital. One community capital or another might serve as an entry point; however, all the capitals play a role in molding or shaping the project. The analysis of the SEATS project reiterates the importance of softer capitals (such as social capital) at the onset of a project; as the project develops, more capitals are mobilized and impacted. Those investments and interactions enhance the achievement of SEATS project goals and strategies. Particularly, the initial strength of social and human capital at the beginning of the initiative helped set the stage for the SEATS initiative to achieve its goals and refine their implementation over time. Defining the SEATS Initiative and its Partners (Sourced from “SEATS Backgrounder Document” and Community Futures Entre-Corp Operational Plan 2008-2009) The South East Alberta Technology Strategy (SEATS) is a collaborative regional community initiative aimed at increasing the capacity of the technology sector in South East Alberta. The initiative started with a foundation of key partners including Community Futures Entre- Corp (non-profit sector), Auto~Star Compusystems (private sector), and the Medicine Hat College (public sector). Together these partners had a committed and collective drive to bring the community together to build the technology sector in the region. Today, SEATS engages a variety regional community stakeholders, representing a wide-range of businesses and organizations including (but not limited to) Community Futures Entre-Corp, Autu~Star Compusystems, the Medicine Hat College, the Economic Development Alliance of Southeast Alberta, the City of Medicine Hat, Defense Research Development Canada, Canadian Centre for Unmanned Vehicles, Red Tech Incubator, and the Chamber of Commerce of Medicine Hat and area. The map below represents the communities served in South East Alberta. The boundaries are based on the region identified by SEATS partners Community Futures Entre-Corp. | 5
  6. 6. SEATS Partners and the Communities Served SEATS Funders Partner & Supporting Category Location Population Organizations Edmonton • Advanced Education and Technology Outside • The Business Link Region Cochrane • CF Alberta (RDI) City Medicine Hat 60,426** • Community Futures Entre-Corp • Medicine Hat College • Auto-star Compusystems • Canadian Centre for Unmanned Vehicle Systems • Accessible Accessories • Val-u-soft • Litebook • Palliser Economic Partnership • Medicine Hat and District Chamber of Commerce Brooks 13,581** • Community Futures Entre-Corp • City of Brooks • Medicine Hat College (Brooks Campus) • Palliser Economic Partnership County Cypress County • Community Futures Entre-Corp Includes Hilda, Schuler, Walsh, 6,729* • CFB Suffield Dunmore, Elkwater, Seven Persons, Burdett & Irvine • Palliser Economic Partnership County of Newell 6,862* • Community Futures Entre-Corp Includes Scandia and Patricia • Palliser Economic Partnership County of Forty Mile 3,414* • Community Futures Entre-Corp Includes Manyberries • Palliser Economic Partnership Town Redcliff 5,096* • Community Futures Entre-Corp • RedTech Inc • Palliser Economic Partnership Bow Island 1,889* • Community Futures Entre-Corp • Palliser Economic Partnership Village Duchess 978* • Community Futures Entre-Corp • Palliser Economic Partnership Tilley 381* • Community Futures Entre-Corp • Palliser Economic Partnership Foremost 524* • Community Futures Entre-Corp • Palliser Economic Partnership Rosemary 388* • Community Futures Entre-Corp • Palliser Economic Partnership Total population of communities served by 100,268 Community Futures Entre-Corp Reference: Statistics Canada. 2006. ** Official Population List, Alberta Municipal Affairs Background of SEATS The idea of SEATS was conceptualized in 2005 as a follow up to a pre-existing pilot project (known as the Business First Technology Incubator), which was designed to offer | 6
  7. 7. technology-based start-up businesses in Medicine Hat with facility space, business coaching and mentoring, and the ability to share resources and expertise with other technology companies. Recognizing the value of the Business First Technology project and the potential impact on the region, the partners moved to a new phase of development, called the South East Alberta Technology Strategy. The focus was to develop a community plan with input and buy-in from key stakeholders in the region to collaborate on enhancing the technology sector in South East Alberta. By summer 2008, the SEATS partners had developed a strategic plan and were prepared to move the project into the third phase; the implementation. Timeline: SEATS Timeline and Key Activities | 7
  8. 8. SEATS Management and Community Futures Entre-Corp On behalf of SEATS and its partners, Community Futures Entre-Corp manages the project and all of its funds. Community Futures Entre-Corp Business Development is a community owned not-for-profit Community Futures Development Corporation committed to providing advanced programs and resources to the communities of Southeast Alberta in the areas of Entrepreneurship, Economic Development, Community Economic Development and job creation. SEATS Flow of Information Between Partners and Funders Regional Community Funders Partners SEATS Initiative Lead Partner: Community Futures Entre-Corp SEATS Project Manager SEATS Funding Funding specifically designated for SEATS started in 2007 with a Rural Community Economic Development (RCED) grant submitted by Community Futures Entre-Corp on behalf of the partners involved in SEATS. RCED is a federally supported grant under the federal department of Western Economic Diversification, which is managed and administered through Community Futures Alberta. This grant was allocated primarily for planning purposes to engage the community and develop a technology strategy for the region. In late 2008, SEATS received funding from the Rural Diversification Initiative (RDI) and Alberta Advanced Education and Technology (AAET) for a three-year strategy implementation to increase the capacity of the technology sector in the region. Funding from RDI is federally supported through the department of Western Economic Diversification and managed through Community Futures Alberta. AAET is direct funding from the provincial government, through the ministry of Alberta Advanced Education and Technology. Further background information on SEATS and its funders can be found in Appendix 4 & 6. | 8
  9. 9. Background of Research Getting Started Initial discussions took place in October 2008 with SEATS’ primary funder, the Rural Diversification Initiative (funded through Community Futures Alberta) about what conditions and factors influence a community’s ability and willingness to participate in large change- driven rural diversification initiatives. As a funder, RDI was interested in gathering a more in- depth look at why some Community Futures offices and their rural community partners were moving ahead full-speed to take on large rural development projects and why others were not. As noted from one of the RDI staff, “Why is it that there can be two communities that both have private sector partners interested in helping a rural community diversify their region, yet only one of the communities is able to move forward with it?” Prior to RDI, Community Futures Alberta funded smaller Rural Community Economic Development (RCED) projects. From the process moving from smaller CED grants to large scale rural diversification initiatives, they learned that not all communities and Community Futures offices were ready to engage in change. When evaluating the projects funded through RCED, they also learned that ‘project partners’ was a recurring theme in what either started or stopped the project from moving forward. In fact, the comment ‘project partners’ was mentioned most in the evaluation feedback from local Community Futures offices about what they felt contributed to the success or stall of their project before it got off the ground (RCED Final Report, 2008). As Community Futures Alberta moved forward into its current Rural Diversification Initiative, they realized that a lot could be learned from reflecting on the projects funded through their previous program (RCED). My study parallels this reflective approach by taking a post-hoc analysis of an existing RDI funded initiative, SEATS, to learn how it was initiated and developed into what it is today. The type of community economic development work in which Community Futures Alberta is involved through their recently created Rural Diversification Initiative is very much related to the type of research I was interested in conducting. As such, I approached Community Futures Alberta with the possibility of working together. They were very willing to get involved and participate in whatever capacity was needed to assist my research. History of Involvement This research project evolved from my interest as a community development practitioner in learning more about what community assets and resources are key contributors in initiating CED projects and how these assets and resources are mobilized collectively to impact positive change the community. My intent is to build upon the community development tools and techniques that I learned in my Masters program and apply them within the context of an existing community initiative to illustrate their practical application. In October 2008 I was working on the design and delivery of a training workshop with Community Futures Alberta’s project officer Judy McMillan Evans. My role in this project was to co-facilitate the workshop and introduce the Community Capitals Framework as an organizing tool to help Community Futures offices (primarily CED staff) learn how they can | 9
  10. 10. take a more holistic approach to identifying and engaging partners to work on potential rural diversification initiatives. My connection to Community Futures dates back to 1998 when I spent a combined total of five years working for Community Futures Alberta (provincial association) and a local Community Futures office (in northwest Alberta). Since that time I have maintained a close relationship with Community Futures and for the past three and a half years in my current role as a Community Development Officer with the Government of Alberta have partnered with Community Futures in a number of projects. Due to this previous work and relationship, the match of this study with a Community Futures RDI project, SEATS, seemed an ideal fit. Literature Review / Context Community partners, staff, and funders all have a vested interest in wanting to see the initiatives they support make a positive impact on their community. Further, they have a general, if not specific, idea of what the positive impact should be. In community development practice, it is recognized that there are many contributing factors that can influence the development and implementation of successful community-driven initiatives. Often times, the challenge lies in how a community actually invests in what it already has to effect positive change. To help communities positively deal with the changes that impact them, some community and economic development strategies are finding that it is more effective to build upon what a community already has rather than what it needs or is perceived to need (Beaulieu, 2002, Emery, Fey, and Flora, 2006). Rather than concentrating on the deficits of individuals and communities, Kretzmann and McKnight pioneered an asset-based approach to community development to identify the talents and skills of individuals and the capacities available through a community’s existing local organizations and institutions (Kretzmann and McKnight, 1993). By concentrating on local assets, instead of needs and weaknesses, community members are better positioned to identify possibilities for change and become more energized to take action (Haines, 2008, Vision to Action, 2001). Community Readiness and Capacity Every community has a variety of resources to work from. However, resources alone do not translate into communitywide success. The resources within a community must be accessible and mobilized effectively (Flora and Flora, 2008:138). It is important, then, to realize where your community is currently and how it can build upon its resources. This takes time, support, and trust (Vision to Action, 2001). In fact, significant community development only takes place when local community people are committed to investing themselves and their resources (Kretzmann and McKnight, 1996). Success is more likely to occur if those involved have both the ability and the desire to build relationships and work together. Otherwise, what incentive or commitment is there to get things done? Why collaborate? By collaborating, individual entities are able to leverage diverse skills and resources required to implement community projects efficiently. Sharing power with other groups over a | 10
  11. 11. project’s duration can lead to stronger relationships as well as wider community buy-in to a larger vision (Aspen Institute, 2005). As a result, diverse groups may find it easier to work together on larger initiatives later on. People organize and formalize collaborative efforts when they believe their interests will be better served by engaging than by not engaging. To do this takes time to build trust and long-term investments of resources (Aspen Institute, 2005). Social Capital Social capital - often known as the trust, relationships, and networks that we have as individuals, organizations and communities – is a critical community characteristic. It can influence, as well as be influenced by, other community assets and resources (Emery and Flora, 2006). Bonding social capital refers to the close ties that exist between individuals and groups with similar backgrounds in a community. Bridging social capital is what connects diverse groups within the community to each other and to groups outside the community. It is the presence of this bridging social capital that fosters creativity and brings diverse organizations and communities together (Flora and Flora, 2008, Nayaran, 1999, Granovetter, 1973 & 1985). Communities that build on sustainable social capital - where high levels of bonding and bridging social capital exist – strengthen relationships on a communitywide basis by encouraging community initiative, responsibility, and adaptability. When bridging and bonding social capital reinforce each other, development can occur; local resources are innovatively combined with and augmented by outside resources. (Flora and Flora, 2008) Flora and Flora (1993) developed a term “Entrepreneurial Social Infrastructure” (ESI) to identify a measurable form of community action that is a consequence of a community being able to engage in high bridging and high bonding social capital that enhances community economic development. ESI includes inclusive internal and external networks, local mobilization of resources, and the willingness of communities to consider alternative ways of reaching goals (Emery and Flora, 2004, Flora and Flora 2008). The networks that exist in our communities are essential ingredients in facilitating collective action (Pigg, 2004). Collective action is engaged in to improve the community – the Community Capitals Framework, which includes but is not limited to social capital, facilitates analysis of stocks and flows of community assets that serve as inputs and outputs for collective community action (Emery and Flora, 2006). Analyzing Community-Driven Projects Using the Community Capitals Framework The Community Capitals Framework is an approach that leading experts and practitioners in the community development field utilize in the work of building community capacity. It is an | 11
  12. 12. integrated technique that looks at what resources exist within a community and how a community can invest in one resource to create new resources (Emery and Flora, 2006). Cornelia and Jan Flora (2004) developed the Community Capitals Framework as an approach to analyze how communities work. Based on their research to uncover characteristics of entrepreneurial and sustainable communities, they found that the communities most successful in supporting healthy sustainable community and economic development paid attention to all seven types of capital: natural, cultural, human, social, political, financial and built: Figure 1: The Community Capitals Framework 1.Na tural Capital – refers to the assets in a location, such as natural resources, the environment, and natural beauty. Examples might include water, soil, biodiversity, weather, parks, farm land, etc. 2. Cultural Capital – reflects how we see the world, how we act within it, and what we value. It also includes our traditions and languages. 3. Human Capital – is the native intelligence, skills, abilities, education, and health of individuals within a community. 4. Social Capital – reflects the connections among people and organizations or the social glue that makes things happen. Bonding social capital consists of the close ties of people within a specific group. This is something you would likely see in a close-knit rural community. Bridging social capital involves weak ties that create and maintain bridges among organizations and communities. 5. Political Capital – refers to access to power, organizations, connections to resources. It also refers to the ability of people to engage in actions that contribute to the well being of their community. | 12
  13. 13. 6. Financial Capital – includes the financial resources available to invest in community capacity-building. It consists of debt capital, investment capital, savings, tax revenues, and grants. 7. Built Capital – is the infrastructure that supports the community such as telecommunications, industrial parks, main streets, water and sewer systems, roads. (Emery and Flora, 2006, Flora, 2004). Interconnectivity of Community Capitals As illustrated in the above diagram, a community’s capitals are intimately intertwined. It is the interaction of these capitals that helps strengthen internal and external community relationships, assets, and resources (Emery and Flora, 2006). The Community Capitals Framework offers a way to analyze community and economic development efforts from a systems perspective by identifying the assets in each capital (stock), the types of capital invested (flow), the interaction among the capitals, and the resulting impacts across capitals (Emery and Flora, 2006). The Community Capitals Framework serves as an analytical tool to dig deeper into understanding how the supply or absence of one community capital can have a rippling effect on other capitals (Flora, 2004). Within the context of community-driven projects, the Community Capitals Framework helps to identify how investments in some of the ‘softer’ capitals such as social and human capital are related to a community’s capacity to engage in successful community and economic development (Flora, Fey and Bregendahl 2006). It can also help CED project staff and funders better understand the strategic nature of the funded programs and their impact. By measuring the investments in each of the capitals and the changes resulting from that investment, the framework provides a means to better understand the impact of CED in our communities (Flora, Emery, Fey, and Bregendahl, 2007) Methodology This study identifies how the interconnectivity and investment of community capitals have influenced the SEATS ability to impact change. Using the Community Capitals Framework as a post-hoc analysis tool to detect the community capitals contributing to the SEATS project at its onset, development, and implementation, I focus on the stocks and flows of the community capitals – what people said was in place that made success possible - and what investments of capitals (flows) occurred during the process. Description of Data Content analysis of the following data sources identified the relative importance of each of the capitals at different periods of time in the SEATS’ process. | 13
  14. 14. 1. Written notes taken from oral interviews with seven of SEATS’s community partners 2. Typed notes from facilitated discussion of two community planning sessions in April and July 2007 (where participants discussed a vision for the technology sector in the region and developed a series of goals to achieve that vision) 3. Hard copies of SEATS’s December 2008 and March 2009 Progress Activity Reports (to funders) 4. SEATS Strategy 2008-2011 (Strategy development documentation / visual created by SEATS project staff) 5. Written notes and observations from informal interviews and conversations with SEATS lead project partner on an ongoing basis throughout the duration of the study. Sources of Data 1. Interviews with SEATS Partners I conducted unstructured interviews to capture the insight, knowledge and experience of key community stakeholders involved in the SEATS project. To best obtain the most diverse perspectives, seven interviewees were selected to ensure broad representation from SEATS partners, staff, and funders. Thus, I interviewed a private sector entrepreneur, an educator from the region’s college, representatives of partner non-profit organizations, SEATS staff, and two funder viewpoints. This broad representation was intended to ensure that key partners involved since the project’s inception would be included in the interviews. Interview questions were open-ended, intended to encourage participants to ‘tell their story’ about the SEATS project. I purposefully did not ask any questions related directly to community capitals or the Community Capitals Framework. This approach was intended to allow the capitals to emerge spontaneously in discussion (so not to force the respondents to put their responses in categories with which they were not familiar). The benefit of this approach is that it does not prompt specific CCF-based responses from project partners, as they were not directly asked to discuss specific community capitals, but rather encouraged simply to discuss what they felt was important to get the project going and mobilized. Appreciative Inquiry (AI) helped structure Interview questions to identify from the interviewees what is working and has worked in the project, what changes have happened as a result of the project, and what future direction the interviewees felt the project was heading. The AI approach involves collaborative inquiry, based on interviews and affirmative questioning, to collect and celebrate the good news stories of a community (Hammond, 1998, IISD Appreciative Inquiry and Community Development, 2008). Using questions tied to AI captured individual stories and conversation to gain valuable insight into the SEATS initiative and helped better understand the factors that served as catalysts to move the project forward. 2. Discussion / Feedback from Community Planning Sessions Two Community Planning Sessions took place in April and July 2007. | 14
  15. 15. Both sessions involved facilitated discussion around developing a common vision and a series of goals for the future of the technology sector in the region. Information from the sessions was recorded on flip charts, which I then content analyzed for the different capitals mentioned. The Community Planning Session on April 26, 2007 was the first of its kind where a group of interested individuals and organizations from Medicine Hat and area to discuss and plan for the future of the technology sector in South East Alberta. This event was pivotal for the regional community as an abundance of valuable feedback was gathered (from technology businesses, the Medicine Hat College, Community Futures Entre-Corp, Defense Research Development Canada, the Chamber of Commerce, the Volunteer Centre, the City of Medicine Hat, etc.). The Community Planning Session on July 11, 2007 served as a follow up workshop for interested community partners to develop goals that would ultimately help SEATS achieve its vision. Essentially it is the notes taken from these two sessions that helped set the foundation for where the SEATS project is today. 3. Progress Activity Reports Every quarter, the SEATS initiative develops a progress report to each of its two funders on the activities and developments that have happened in the specified time frame. These reports are created by the SEATS Project Manager, Chris Deering and reviewed by the manager of Community Futures Entre-Corp, the organization overseeing SEATS. While the reports assist the funders in monitoring the progress of the project, the information within the reports also provides value to SEATS as a reference point to ensure the project is on track and accomplishing what it set out to do. As of April, 2009, SEATS has completed two Progress Activity Reports - one in December 2008 and the other in March 2009. 4. SEATS Strategy Development The SEATS Strategy Development document was created in October 2008 as a visual representation to depict the goals and strategies of the initiative. The initial goals were drafted at the July 2007 Community Planning Session and refined slightly to align with funder mandates in April 2008. 5. In-depth Interview with SEATS Lead Partner, Community Futures Entre-Corp Since the interviews and documentation of SEATS are focused primarily on the pre- existing and developmental stages of the project, I also kept notes from ongoing (informal) interviews and discussions with SEATS lead partner, Community Futures Entre-Corp. This data is based on Data Collection Process I coded the data from interviews, community planning sessions, project reports and the SEATS Strategy document by the type of community capitals represented. I put together a list of key words for each community capital which I used to code the different data sources. I then summed the number of times each capital was mentioned in any of the data sources. | 15
  16. 16. The indicator of importance is the number of times each capital was mentioned. For detailed information on the ‘key word’ coding of the capitals, please refer to Appendix 1. To align with the study’s purpose to identify the existence and interactivity of community capitals, my analysis looks at the capitals at three points in time. Readiness Process Impact Changes in new and existing SEATS Existing Assets SEATS development and growth capitals (Initial stocks in capitals) (Investment in capitals) (Measure of change in capitals) Time 1 Between Time 1 & Time 2 Time 2 Apr 2005- July 2007 July 2007 - Feb 2009 March 2009 Data Collection on T 1: Data Collection between T1 & Data Collection on T 2: Interviews, 2007 T2: SEATS Strategy Document, in- Community Planning Interviews, SEATS Progress depth interview with SEATS Session Notes Reports (Dec 08 and Mar 09) lead project partner  T1: The degree readiness to mobilize outside and internal resources to engage SEATS. (pre-existing, initial stocks of capital)  Between T1 and T2: The process of SEATS and what investments were made to move forward. (investments in capital)  T2: Measurement of the impact of SEATS development. (change in capitals) For a breakdown of each capital, preexisting assets, the investment and relationship of capitals, refer to Table 1. Limitations Communities are complex, dynamic systems (Flora, 2004). As such, there are often many contributing factors that can impact a community-driven initiative and its ability to engage in change. Due to the nature and fluidity of community capitals, it can sometimes be difficult to determine where to place indicators for individual capitals. What might be a measure of social capital in one situation could be a measure of cultural or human capital in another. Strong leadership, for example, can be human and social and political capital. In some instances, investments in social capital can impact all of the other capitals. Expectations The Community Capitals Framework will allow me to indicate which community capitals are most important in the beginning of the SEATS initiative, which capitals are mobilized during its development, and how the interaction of all community capitals leads to more productive investment in capitals and a positive impact on community change. This framework accounts for the fact that a variety of investments are made in the course of CED efforts (Flora, Fey and Bregendahl, 2006). It is anticipated that social capital, followed by human and cultural capital, will be the foundational pieces linked to what makes a community successful at engaging in community change initiatives. While other capitals may exist, it is these three ‘softer’ capitals that are the | 16
  17. 17. underpinning ‘glue’ that moves change initiatives ideas to implementation (Fey, Bregendahl and Flora, 2006). Key Findings In this section, I explain more closely how the stocks and flows of community capitals were identified and invested upon. The results are summarized into the following categorizes to illustrate the interaction and impact of community capitals throughout the development of the SEATS initiative at three points in time:  Time 1: Degree of Readiness (pre-existing capital)  Between Time 1 & Time 2: Process / Development (investment in capital)  Time 3: Measurement of Impact of SEATS (change in capital) According to Flora, Fey and Bregendahl (2006), “turning stories into numbers requires acquiring a sense of the interaction between context and indicator.” The indicator of importance for the data analysis is the number of times each community capital was mentioned in the interviews, community planning session notes, and progress reports. Degree of Readiness (Pre-Existing Capitals) Readiness is more than just a group of interested people coming together to get a project going. Those involved need to have a level of trust and commitment to move forward (Vision to Action, 2001). The data analysis provided in this study parallels this level of importance on the trust, connections and networks in the SEATS initiative. First, the data analysis focuses on what community capitals contributed to the readiness of the community to embark on a change-driven initiative of this magnitude. This was done by examining the existing resources and assets that were in place by identifying the natural, human, cultural, social, political, financial, and built capitals that were in place in the early stages of the SEATS initiative. Figure 2: Pre-Existing Community Capitals at the onset of the SEATS Initiative | 17
  18. 18. Built Natural Financial 5% 2% 6% Political Human 5% 27% Natural Human Cultural Social Political Financial Built Social Cultural 41% 14% Data Sources: 1) Interview and 2) notes from Community Planning Sessions in 2007 The pie chart in Figure 2 provides visual representation of the relative mention of the ‘pre- existing’ capitals of the community and SEATS in its beginning stages, as determined by interviews and documents. It is the overlap of social, human, and cultural capitals that make up a combined total of 82% of the existing community capitals in place at the onset of SEATS. Social capital was instrumental in the beginning stages with 41% followed by human capital representing 27%. From the transcriptions of notes from the interviews, the following comments from SEATS partners and funders reiterate this high level of social, human, and cultural capitals:  There was a recognition of the need to diversify the region’s economy, along with the readiness of the multi-sectoral group to come together (Cultural Capital)  Many stakeholders worked together in the past, therefore there was already a level of trust – we saw this as an opportunity (Social Capital).  I felt the success from the Business First Technology Incubator (BFTI) was the catalyst that got the project started. It solidified that with a little community support and sharing of knowledge that you can successfully launch technology companies in Medicine Hat (South East Alberta) (Social and Human Capital).  The success of the participants of the BFTI help the stakeholders realize that increasing the participation in the community could lead exponentially greater success and create a positive impact in the community (Social Capital).  REALLY LONG HISTORY OF RELATIONSHIP BUILDING IN S.E. ALBERTA!!!! (Social and Cultural Capital).  People underestimate trust, building relationships, working together – this is a PRECURSER TO SUCCESS!!! (Social Capital).  Enablers! It took just a few people who are highly motivated and keenly interested to get it going (Social Capital). | 18
  19. 19.  Impetus and foundation was there – the project evolved from foundation and relationships already in place (Social Capital).  Trust and commitment among partners – made funder excited (Social Capital). The relative presence of social capital is strong. Social and human capitals are intimately intertwined with the built and financial capitals that preceded SEATS. The existing base of technology-driven businesses in the region as well as the previously-related technology projects that were funded prior to SEATS contributed to moving the project forward. This is reflected in comments from SEATS partners:  SEATS started by a committed group building on the resources and infrastructure we already have.  The (British and Canadian) Army Base located ½ hour from Medicine Hat has a lot of innovation and research going on – we realized we should build on that.  The Base and other tech companies in the region already have success on the world market.  We had previous funding through the Rural Community Economic Development grant that helped us in the planning and development of the strategy so we could build the network and capacity to where it is today. Without that we wouldn’t have had the resources necessary to engage key stakeholders in the community planning sessions or provide training opportunities to the partners.  RDI and AAET funding helps us carry out our goals and strategy. The previous funding that SEATS accessed was a foundational piece that enabled the initiative to carry out its planning endeavors. SEATS’ funders emphasized that the possibility of getting current RDI and AAET funds allowed the project to move to the next level of its coordinated effort. | 19
  20. 20. Process (Investment in Capitals) By examining the interaction among community capitals, as well as the investment from the outside in different capitals, this study can better understand the role of each capital. Focusing on process also allows for the assessment of progress towards a project’s goals (Flora and Flora, p. 133, 2008) Figure 3: Investment of Community Capitals in the SEATS Initiative Built 3% Natural Financial 0% 6% Political 7% Natural Human 41% Human Cultural Social Political Financial Built Social 35% Cultural 8% Data Sources: 1) Interviews from SEATS partners and 2) SEATS Progress Activity Reports Similar to the pre-existing capitals of the SEATS initiative, social, human and cultural capitals continue to play an integral role in the developmental process of the SEATS project (84%). It is the combination of these capitals that serve as the catalyst to influence the growth and development of other capitals and the goals of the SEATS initiative. Comments from interviews reiterate this point:  We are seeing a vast amount of collaboration among the members of SEATS. Partners and stakeholders are working together to benefit the community even if that represents slight increases in resource cost (Social Capital)  Partners are inviting each other closer into their businesses to share their successes, plans, and potential business opportunities all to the benefit of SEATS. We have seen businesses revenues and opportunities grow for the stakeholders as a direct result of the collaboration that SEATS has initiated (Social and Human Capital). | 20
  21. 21.  The way of thinking that SEATS has enabled has really turned into a new culture of thinking and values adopted by those interested in advancing the technology sector in the region.  The Cypress Technology Network is becoming more known in the community as “the” place to network, share resources, and build business ideas (Social and Human Capital).  Funders are coming to SEATS as the ‘go to’ group for tech-related advice (Human Capital).  The Medicine Hat College is moving beyond its traditional methods of delivery by working closely with the technology businesses and Community Futures Entre-Corp to incorporate ‘non-technical’ courses and requirements into their technology programs. This came as a result of the Cypress Technology Network roundtable discussions where the health region and other technology companies raised the concern that the highly technical skilled students coming into the workforce were lacking in some of the softer skills in communication, management, and public relations (Human and Social Capital). The assets in social and human capitals continue to make an impressionable impact on the SEATS project; however, one difference between the pre-existing and investment in community capitals is that the relative importance of human capita has significantly increased (from 27% to 43%). As SEATS moved from readiness to development, social and human capitals reversed. In the beginning, social capital represented 41% and human capital 27% of the capitals mentioned in the interviews and documents. Through the process of the initiative, social capital was 35% and human capital jumped to 43 %. This signifies social capital is important for starting a project and human capital is important for the process and developmental phases. As one of the interviewees said: The overall knowledge transfer among members and non members seems to be working very well. I have also witnessed increased collaboration between IT sector companies (among themselves) and with the Medicine Hat College. As a result we have also seen the Medicine Hat College launch a student cooperative program within the IT sector, which I believe is a direct result of SEATS. That should lead to greater job creation, retention and integration of youth into the South East Alberta Technology sector. This in turn will help to create a more diversified labor force and eventually /ideally lead to greater investment in technology within our region. Of other particular interest is the change in the relative importance of political capital, which increased from 4% in the pre-existing capitals to 8% during the process of the initiative. Box 1 provides an example of the interconnectivity showing how political capital, in conjunction with other capitals, was invested in: | 21
  22. 22. Box 1: An Example of Community Capitals Invested Building and Interconnectivity of Community Capitals at the Cypress Technology Network’s Presentation on Community Infrastructure Fiber-Optics. Through the development of SEATS, the informal network known as the Cypress Technology Network was formed. This came as a direct result of the two community planning sessions in 2007 where participants at the session were eager to continue networking and building a common place where they could share ideas and grow the technology sector collectively. SEATS facilitates the Cypress Technology Network meetings that are held monthly (at different host technology organizations). These meetings bring together technology businesses and other community organizations interested in advancing the sector. The first hour of the meeting involves networking (social capital) and the second hour is committed to developing and offering presentations (human capital) by the hosting business. Following the presentations is a round table discussion that opens up time for businesses to share their technology skill-base with others in the group and learn about what is going on in the community and region. At the Cypress Technology Network meeting in February 2009, one of the local technology entrepreneurs brought a speaker from California to talk about what is involved in implementing public fiber optics to the homes (built capital). This entrepreneur is very passionate about this topic. His travels to California to hear the speaker initially (human and bridging social capital) resulted in an increase in capacity and knowledge for those at the meeting (more human and social capitals). This also solidified the “way of thinking and doing” (cultural capital) for SEATS and the Cypress Technology Network – which is now becoming known as a place to network, share ideas, and push ideas forward. Taken further, this entrepreneur invited local politicians to the meeting to keep them informed of the topic and open the door to further advocacy at the municipal level to consider bringing in and financially supporting fiber optics to the community (political and financial capital). The example in Box 1 illustrates that a strong sense of social and human capitals at the onset and development of the initiative can later have further impact and direct relations with other capitals. Capital Synergies To fully understand the involvement of all the community capitals, Table 1 outlines each of the seven community capitals in terms of what was pre-existing, invested, and how they are each interconnected. | 22
  23. 23. Table 1: Mapping SEATS’s Community Capitals Pre-existing Assets / Capital Investment in Capital Capital Synergies Capital Human 1. High level of skill, 1. Increase in knowledge and Social Capital – increase knowledge and skill of entrepreneurship, of networks and sharing education in technology technology sector in the of resources between sector already in community, and support businesses, economic existence in the region. networks for businesses and development groups, This is the ‘asset’ of community orgs supporting Medicine Hat College, which the intent of the tech sector etc. SEATS project was initially developed  From the creation of the Those partners involved Business Tech Incubator, in SEATS and the  Canadian Centre for Auto-Star mentored three new Cypress Technology Unmanned Vehicles tech businesses for the Network are now (testing / promote duration of their term in the becoming known as the technology) technology incubator “go to” people for access to information,  Military base located 25  Creation of “Cypress knowledge, and minutes from Medicine Technology Network” (SEATS resources Hat with high tech served as a catalyst for scientists increased access to Financial Capital – knowledge and skills of sector access to two sources of  Medicine Hat College by facilitating the development funding (RDI and AB running IT certificate of this network). Advanced Education & course Technology). This is due o Sub clusters of tech largely to the ability to  Entrepreneurs and businesses working solicit partners businesses in high tech together industries (such as Cultural Capital – a Auto-Star, Accessible  Development of technology- heightened awareness of Accessories, Lite Book, related business directory the technology sector’s Meggit Defense) ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ in  Medicine Hat College the region  Economic Development exploring new ‘tech’ focus in organizations (Chamber Business Admin program The proactive and of Commerce, collaborative nature of the Economic Development  More tech-based businesses partners involved in Alliance, Community stay in region due to active SEATS sets a foundation Futures Entre-Corp, involvement of sector and its for more knowledge, City of Medicine Hat) partners information and skills to be developed 2. Ability of those involved  Hiring of SEATS full-time staff to solicit partnerships, to connect with / inform tech Political Capital – an provide support, source industry and partners increase in awareness funding opportunities, and support of the project 2. More private industry etc at various levels of committed time to coach / government comes (in  Creation of the mentor / support tech industry part) as a result of the Business Technology and partners working towards ability of the partners’ Incubator to foster increasing the capacity of the networking skills (social entrepreneurship in the tech sector in the community and human capital) tech industry AND provide a platform for existing businesses to mentor new entrepreneurs | 23
  24. 24. Pre-existing Assets / Capital Investment in Capital Capital Synergies Capital Social 1. Pre-existing 1. Increase of networks between Human Capital – the partnerships (Existing businesses, economic increase in networking bonding social capital development groups, and access to more between economic community stakeholders, etc. partners has lead to development, non- opportunities to increase profit and government  More businesses and partners access to the skills and partners) are linked together through the knowledge of other tech creation of the “Cypress companies  Community Futures Technology Network.” The Entre-Corp, Medicine database of tech companies in The networking provides Hat College, Economic the region is an indicator of partners the opportunity Development Alliance, the increase in #s of to work together on Defense Research businesses and organizations projects, bring in expert Development Centre, now linked speakers and presenters City of Medicine Hat, to monthly network Chamber of Commerce  Mentoring of entrepreneurs events, etc (through the creation of the  Entrepreneurs and Business Tech Incubator and Financial Capital – businesses in high tech the work Community Futures access to funding is industries (such as Entre-Corp does to support strongly influenced by the Auto-Star, Lite Book, entrepreneurs) has turned into ongoing relationship and Meggit Defense) more bonding social capital trust of funders in the between new and existing SEATS project 2. New networks (bridging partnerships social capital to tech Cultural Capital –The businesses, other tech  Economic Development proactive and networks, government groups and the Medicine Hat collaborative nature of the entities outside of College now have a better partners involved in region) understanding of tech SEATS serves as a company needs. “culture of readiness”  Calgary Technologies Political Capital – an  Local tech businesses now  Alberta Advanced linked to multiple ec dev’t increase in awareness Education & and support of the project support groups that can help Technology at various levels of them build skills and connect government comes (in  University of Calgary them to more opportunities for part) as a result of the (Tech project related to growth / development ability of the partners’ to rural  Much stronger relationship adequately network and videoconferencing) with outside networks to sell the project (social and government agencies, human capital) specifically AET  SEATS full-time staff in place to liaise / inform tech industry & community partners 2. Increase of community networks collaborating / working together.  Community consultation with variety of business, community and government stakeholders collectively developed a vision and series of goals for SEATS  Connection with Lethbridge | 24
  25. 25. Pre-existing Assets / Capital Investment in Capital Capital Synergies Capital Tech Network Politic 1. Some awareness of 1. Increase in awareness of Social / Cultural Capital – al technology ‘niche’ at SEATS project The proactive / collaborative various levels of nature of the partners government  Presentations from involved in SEATS economic development exemplifies a strong  Government officials organizations (selling the collective effort that ‘looks and representatives idea of developing the good’ to political influences who sit on Ec Dev technology sector as a and funders boards and committees means to diversify the (Economic region) Human / Financial Capital Development Alliance - Through strong networking 2. Increase in support of skills, SEATS and its and Community Futures SEATS partners are better Entre-Corp)  Received recognition from positioned to influence municipal / prov gov of the decision makers / seek value of the region’s funding support technology sector and how it can be capitalized on Financ 1. Investment of 1. Investment in project Social / Cultural Capital – ial government and Ec increased from only The ‘track record’ of Dev organizations to government and Ec Dev partners involved in SEATS move tech sector organizations to include exemplifies a strong and forward in region private investment (valued trusting commitment that at over $200,000) ‘looks good’ to funders  Contributions of previous RCED (Rural 2. Rural Diversification Human Capital - Through Community Economic Initiative (RDI) funding strong networking and Development) funding 2008-2011 – Phase 3 of project development skills, (2007) helped set the SEATS project SEATS and partners are foundation for building better positioned to seek 3. Alberta Science and and mobilizing SEATS funding support Advanced Technology to where it is now funding Political Capital – With the  Willingness and strong financial support from commitment of Ec Dev public / private org, SEATS organizations to invest is on the radar of varying time to move project levels of government as a forward successful project in action Cultur 1. Proactive and ‘culture 1. Community and economic Social Capital – increase of al of readiness’ attitude of development groups are networks and sharing of pre-existing partners more pro-technology resources has lead SEATS and the Cypress Tech 2. Entrepreneurial spirit of 2. Culture of readiness Network to becoming known South East Alberta translates into ‘action’ as the “go to” place for  Hiring of SEATS Project access to information, Manager knowledge, and networks  SEATS and partners developed vision and goals for future | 25
  26. 26. Pre-existing Assets / Capital Investment in Capital Capital Synergies Capital Built High-speed internet, More awareness and advocacy Human Capital – Supernet (Government of to local government for support knowledge and skills of tech Alberta’s fibreoptics linked to get ‘public’ fibre optics in companies to describe or through all schools, Medicine Hat. Session held in ‘sell’ benefits of fiber optics hospitals and libraries in Feb 2009 focused specifically Political Capital – local every community in Alberta) on the topic of public fibre optics politicians have attended meetings to hear benefits of public fiber optics Impact (Change in Capitals) SEATS’s developmental process and impacts are not mutually exclusive. The influence of community assets and capitals will continue to develop and strengthen as SEATS progresses through its implementation stage. For the purpose of this study, the measure of impact (or change in community capitals) is based on what has happened to March 2009. The analysis was conducted through informal interviews and observations with SEATS lead partner on the progress and changes that have happened over the course of the project’s duration. Considering SEATS is still amidst its development and implementation, there are limits in the ability to effectively determine all possible impacts that the initiative has within the community. First, the interview questions and responses lack detail for validity and ability to compare capitals from pre-existing to what changes have been in place. Second, the current documents produced from SEATS do not have impact data compiled. Albeit the limitations of information available, the data collected provides value to understanding the fluidity and interdependency of the community capitals that have influenced the SEATS project to date. Figure 4: Impact of SEATS Using Community Capitals | 26
  27. 27. Built 0% Natural 0% Financial 12% Human 28% Natural Political 12% Human Cultural Social Political Financial Cultural 12% Built Social 36% Figure 4 illustrates that the capitals represented most often in terms of impact for the SEATS initiative are social (36%) and human (28%). This reiterates the importance of social and human capital through SEATS development and growth. Cultural, political, and financial capitals all came equally at 12% which is an increase of the presence of these three capitals as compared to the pre-existing and development stages of the initiative. As noted in an interview with lead SEATS project partner Community Futures Entre-Corp, there have been a number of direct impacts on the technology sector in the region since SEATS’s inception:  “We have been approached by (and as a result presented to) the Terrestrial Imaging group in Lethbridge who want to collaborate in the realm of unmanned vehicles. They see this as an opportunity since unmanned vehicles are already a strong cluster development in our region.”  “One of the provincial government funders, Alberta Advanced Education and Technology (AAET), is now using SEATS to deliver programs and promote events. In March 2009, we were notified that AAET would like to have an “Innovation Day” in the coming months and bring down the Minister to talk about it. This is a two-way opportunity for AAET to share what the government is interested and engaged in, as well as learn first-hand from an area of the province where the technology sector is actively engaged. AAET now has direct local connections to technology and innovation activity in South East Alberta, which had never happened before.” The above comments reinforces that the ‘progress in process’ has lead to positive results in advancing the technology sector and community’s support to move forward. The connection with Terrestrial Imaging directly links to bridging social capital (collaborating with an outside group), human capital (to build the skills and capacity of the cluster) and built capital (the cluster itself). The interest from AAET to engage the sector and region in an “Innovation Day,” points to financial, human and social capitals in action and how the interconnectivity of these capitals has impacted the technology sector, community partners, and funders. | 27
  28. 28. Spiraling Up of Community Assets Since its inception, SEATS’s development has lead to a flow of assets resulting in an increase in multiple capitals. This study found the increases in both the stocks and flows of social capital were the initiating factors in the spiraling up process of positive growth and development of the project. Figure 5: Spiraling Up of Capital Assets in SEATS Readiness and Project Development Stages Social capital Built capital Political capital Political capital Human capital Social capital As illustrated in Figure 5, Social capital serves as the impetus to move SEATS forward. Due to the existing and enhanced social capital, there has been an increase in the access to skills, knowledge and resources (human capital) through the Cypress Technology Network, the Medicine Hat College, and the business support services offered through Community Futures Entre-Corp. This human capital in turn builds further social capital as businesses and community stakeholders become more aware of each other and involved in the project. The human capital also links to financial capital as additional knowledge and opportunities are developed to expand new and existing businesses. Political capital is impacted because more connections and awareness of technology initiatives is becoming known (both at local and provincial levels). The human capital increased as a result of social capital also gives more confidence and ability for technology companies to approach governments for support and financing (political and financial capital). Together these capitals stimulate the development and changes that have made progress on the SEATS initiative to date. Although social capital often impacts the strength and weaknesses of other capitals, it is the principle shifts in investments of all capitals that help to ‘connect the dots’ in understanding the relationships of what community assets and resources are necessary to mobilize change. Analysis Analyzing the interaction across various capitals in the SEATS project through the Community Capitals Framework provides a mechanism for understanding the impacts that can result when one or more capitals are invested to create new results (Flora, 2006). To | 28
  29. 29. gain a full understanding of the interaction of community capitals, I used this study to capture what community assets and resources existed at the start of SEATS as well as the investment and change in community capitals that happened through the development of the project. That is, how has the process of the SEATS initiative been impacted by the community capitals? Has the investment of social and human capitals lead to investments of other capitals? At the onset of SEATS, social capital (with key partners and linkages to funders) was mobilized around the human and built capital (existing technology infrastructure, businesses, research and innovation at the Army Base) and financial capital (previous funding for the development of a technology strategy plan to move the sector forward). Collectively, the contribution of these capitals influencing the social capital to move SEATS forward– is all part of a much larger system. Recognizing this interdependence of community capitals that can influence, or be influenced by social capital helps to understand the impact of SEATS beyond it’s goals, to the community or system as a whole (Emery and Flora, 2006). Social Capital Invested The SEATS project process facilitates the enhancement of social capital by building on existing relationships (bonding social capital) and expanding to outside networks both within the community and to external partners (bridging social capital). It is the strengthening of these internal and external relationships that encourages community initiative, responsibility, and adaptability (Flora and Flora, 2008). Social capital is enhanced through the development of SEATS by the increase and strength of networks between businesses, economic development groups, the Medicine Hat College, community stakeholders, various levels of government, and connections to external resources and networks in other parts of the province. As noted from interviews and SEATS progress reports, there has been an increase in:  More businesses and partners are linked together through the creation of the “Cypress Technology Network.” What started at 22 members in July 2007 is now at 66 (Bonding and Bridging Social Capital).  The mentoring of entrepreneurs (through the creation of the Business Tech Incubator and the work Community Futures Entre-Corp does to support entrepreneurs) has turned into more bonding social capital between new and existing partnerships (Bonding Social Capital).  Local tech businesses are now linked to multiple economic development support groups that can help them build skills and connect them to more opportunities for growth (Bridging Social Capital and Human Capital)  There is a much stronger relationship with outside networks to government agencies, specifically AAET (who previous to SEATS had no connection to community or businesses in southern Alberta) (Bridging Social Capital)  More correspondence and connections to outside groups such as Calgary Technologies, Terrestrial Imaging, Lethbridge Technology Network, etc (Bridging Social Capital).  SEATS full-time staff in place to liaise, inform, and support the tech industry & community partners (Bridging Social Capital) SEATS Strategies and Implementation Plan | 29
  30. 30. Important to the analysis of SEATS is to show how the community capitals have influenced, and continue to influence, SEATS strategies and implementation. The following chart in Figure 6` demonstrates the strengths of community capitals influenced by the SEATS strategies. Figure 6: Influence of Community Capitals in SEATS Strategy and Implementation Capitals Influenced by SEATS Strategies 9 Strength of Capitals 8 7 6 5 Series1 4 3 2 1 0 l l l l an al lt ia ca ra ia ui ur c oc tu um iti B an at ul ol S N H n C P Fi Capitals Data Source: SEATS Strategy Document To understand more closely how the capitals are influenced in each of the SEATS strategies, the following table demonstrates the capitals that were either impacted or enhanced up to March 2009 in the initiative’s development. Table #2: Community Capitals Impacted and Enhanced in each of SEATS Strategies SEATS Strategies / Implementation Natural Human Cultural Social PoliticalFinancial Built Total Caps Impact / Strat Training and workshops targeted at the x x x x x x 6 technology sector Leveraging technology-driven x x x x 4 opportunities Assisting companies with x x x 3 commercialization Introducing new Post-Secondary options x x x x 4 and increasing student numbers Supporting technology sector and x x x x 4 individual business growth by providing mentoring Coaching and networking x x x x x x 6 Building relationships with community x x x x x 5 and government stakeholders Improving access to financial and human x x x x x x 6 capital Total Caps 0 8 6 8 5 8 3 5 | 30 Avg # of Caps / Strat
  31. 31. Table 2 charts the SEATS strategies (created in July 2007) to see what capitals have been impacted or enhanced in each (up to March 2009). Of considerable relevance, the average number of community capitals impacted per strategy is five. This signifies the importance of community capital interactions and their investments, because it demonstrates the interdependence and fluidity of community capitals and their application to project development and implementation. Box 2: Example of Interconnectivity of Community Capitals on SEATS Strategy Box 2 elaborates on one of SEATS’ strategies to show the interconnectivity and interdependence of the community capitals that have been impacted or changed through the development of the project. SEATS Strategy: Training & workshops targeted at the technology sector Capitals Impacted: 6 Human Capital: Monthly Cypress Technology Network meetings and presentations have enabled technology businesses, Medicine Hat College, and Community Futures Entre-Corp to gain knowledge, skills, and access to resources. Since the CTN is a platform for technology partners to network, share resources and ideas, and learn from presentations and speakers, social capital has also increased because more participants are coming to meetings and there are linkages to businesses that were not in place prior to SEATS (bridging social capital). When local politicians attended the CTN meeting to learn about community technology infrastructure and how it could be applied, political capital was influenced. Due to the networking and learning from other technology companies and business support services available through the Cypress Technology Network (human and social capitals), technology businesses also have a greater awareness of funding opportunities and partnerships where they can explore access to financial support for technology-driven ideas (financial and social capital). Since some of the training sessions are now being offered via videoconference (Innovation Series), built capital has increased. | 31
  32. 32. Cultural Capital: Training and workshops are becoming part of the culture of the Cypress Technology Network. In turn, this has increased social capital and human capital as more technology companies have joined and are actively participating in the training. Indirectly, political capital is influenced because SEATS and Cypress Technology Network served as the platform to engage the political connections in the community (social capital). Social Capital: Through the training workshops and Cypress Technology Network meetings there is an increase in networking and connections between tech companies and other community stakeholders that did not exist prior to SEATS. The skills, knowledge and resources shared at these meetings (human capital) is now reaching a broader connection in the region (social capital). The human capital increased as a result of social capital also gives more confidence and ability for technology companies to approach governments for support and financing (political and financial capital). Political Capital: Local politicians actively participating in CTN workshop (February 2009) to learn more about community infrastructure (fiber optics to public homes) Financial Capital: Financial capital is influenced in two ways. First, there is financial support (through SEATS) to host training workshops. Second, Community Futures Entre- Corp has gained knowledge on how to finance technology businesses to understand the sector’s need (as well as learning what can be taken for collateral because it is not the traditional form of lending). This impacts both financial and human capitals. Built Capital: Utilization of videoconference infrastructure is now part of SEATS / Cypress Technology Network’s “Innovation Series” Training. Connecting to other technology companies and networks streamed in through these training sessions offers an opportunity to connect and learn from others (human and social capitals). Further explanation of how the capitals were impacted or enhanced in SEATS’ other strategies is outlined in Appendix 3. Absence of Capitals During my research, only once was Natural Capital addressed. This came from one of SEATS’s partners who was reflecting on the nature of the land in terms of the open space of the prairies being an advantage for investment. Specifically, the comment was made regarding the airspace above the Canadian Army base which incidentally is one of the largest private airspaces in the world. While mention was made to open space and land, this could also be seen as built capital even though the space is a natural element. The partner interviewed felt that the boundaries given to this space (as well as rules and regulations which guide this space) makes it such a valuable asset. Conclusions Utilizing the Community Capitals Framework as an analytic tool assists those involved in community-driven initiatives understand how investing their community assets and resources can effect positive change. This study focuses on the community capital assets that | 32