The problem with planning for the future is no one has asked the people who stand to gain – or lose – with what’s decided today.
It’s something Michael DeVenney, founder of The Mindset Project, is trying to address through his A Younger Perspective (AYP) project. His plan is to ask some of Nova Scotia’s younger and brightest what their vision for the province.
Using crowdsourcing through social media, DeVenney, founder of The Mindset Project and president of Bluteau DeVenney and Company, wants to gather input from more than 500 people, age 22 to 39, through his website www.themindsetproject.ca.
Participants fill out a 60-question survey that asks about the type of life they want to lead, what’s important to them, why they want to stay or go and what they see as important to the future of Nova Scotia.
“It’s an age group we never hear too much from; I want to learn what their mindset is,” DeVenney said.
The idea came to him while on sitting on a friend’s deck. Her son had recently graduated from university and she wanted to see him stay in Nova Scotia. “… but I want it to be because there is a real future for him. I don’t see that,” DeVenney recounted.
DeVenney felt there was a lack of a coordinated economic development policy that included the voice of young people. He’d done a lot of economic development strategy for government over the years and decided to do his own.
“I thought, who wants to hear a bunch of ideas from a group of 55-and-overs because that’s everything we have. Sometimes there’s a token 35-year-old thrown in, but typically these committees and boards put together to determine economic plans are older and primarily male.”
He wanted to reach the younger group. If they are “going to be the future why shouldn’t they be the authors of that future?”
Among the questions, what do young people like about living and working in Nova Scotia and what do they see as its future.
To date, 328 people have filled out the questionnaire, with others partially completed. DeVenney hopes to have more than 500 responses by Nov. 22.
“The more people we have completing the survey the better the data. We already have enough data to put together what the common themes and ideas are, but we want more.”
For DeVenney, one thing has come out early. “There is a love of this province … and a desire to preserve and protect what is best” for it.
It’s from these surveys he has put together a group of 25 to to lead the project to its next step. He wants them to read and research various articles on the future of economic development from around the world. He hopes to pinpoint external and internal issues affecting the province.
“We want to put together a plan that’s two pages, not 200,” he said. “It has to be clear, cohesive and actionable so people can take part on their own.”
DeVenney feels what he’s doing will build on work already done, but from the perspective of what he hopes will be the province’s future political and economic leaders – if they can be convinced to stay.