Reflections on Digital Media Camp

It has been a long but very fulfilling day unconferencing Open Space style at Digital Media Camp Toronto. The key headlines:

  1. There is a nation-wide effort under the umbrella of Canada 3.0 and Canadian Digital Media Network that all stakeholders in the Canadian Digital Media landscape should participate in. The goal of this initiative is to have a unified strategy to secure Canada’s future as a world leader in digital media.
  2. Digital media (the creation, distribution, and consumption of it) is a key infrastructure input to all sectors of Canada’s economy. It is vitally crucial and impacts all industries, and a desire for a unified strategy requires broad reaching economy-wide coverage. Challenging perhaps, but necessary, and I believe that with sufficient open collaboration, it will succeed.

Notes on individual discussions can be found at the Digital Media Camp Toronto Wiki, but do give some time for handwritten notes that have been written on flipcharts to make its way up into the wiki.

Now that I have had a closer look at the Canadian Digital Media Network website, I do have some suggestions:

  1. The definition of Digital Media as prominently displayed on the current website is too “weak”. Perhaps better is a statement of what is already happening and will be pervasive in future, something like, “Today, information and media is increasing being created and shared virtually, rather than physically. This trend will not only continue but it is expected that by xxxx, xx% of new content will be distributed and consumed in digital form. Even for media that is non-digital in final form, e.g. a book, much of the production process already uses digital media. Digital media is pervasive and is critical infrastructure now and for the future, whether it is in broadcasting, communications, education, entertainment, finance and insurance, healthcare, internet, manufacturing, natural resources, publishing or any sector of the economy.”
  2. We need new material (videos, etc…) that covers digital media innovations and activities from the whole of Canada. A united face for digital media in Canada would be highly beneficial and I hope that the Canadian Digital Media Network can fulfill that role.  It’ll probably take some time for other regional participants to contribute new content but I hope it will happen soon. My hunch is that an appeal for content in the spirit of collaboration will gather momentum especially as more Digital Media Camps happen in other cities and the 2010 Canada 3.0 conference approaches.

On a separate note, I sense an urgent need for the open source and open content industry to highlight the importance and benefit of Creative Commons and Open Source innovations within the Canada 3.0 and Canadian Digital Media Network fora.

If not, Canada risks losing competitive advantages from being one of the more Open Source and Creative Commons friendly business environments in the world. I would point out that being a smaller country (in population) and therefore lacking the benefit of pure numbers, Creative Commons can be an extremely cost-effective and viral way for for Canadian culture in the form of Digital Media to spread,  just as Open Source can do for Digital Media technology.

Nonetheless, I am happy to hear from individuals at the Digital Media Camp that there is not insignificant grassroots level use of Open Source Tools for Digital Media, as well as interest in Open Content initiatives. I also know that Canadian thought leaders like Michael Geist who have strong understanding on the benefits of Open Source and Creative Commons are advisors to policy makers.

Projects like Open Source Cinema, which is a Canadian born project (BC), must be part of the picture. In Toronto, we have leaders, e.g. at Seneca, who are the founding hosts of the international Teaching Open Source Summit this year. Don Tapscott, thought leader and author of “Grown up Digital” and “Wikinomics” is adjunct professor at the Joseph L. Rotman School of Management,  University of Toronto. The Open Source Business Resource is an initiative of Carleton University in Ottawa.

With world leading institutions like Harvard Business School now teaching Open Source, and NYU/Yale being involved in initiatives like the Open Video Alliance, Canada cannot afford to be left behind in these areas. As a closing note, check out this video which is a case study illustrating how Creative Commons help filmmakers in the digital age: Media That Matters – Creative Commons Case Study

1 Comment

Filed under Creative Commons, Digital Media, Open Content, Open Source

One response to “Reflections on Digital Media Camp

  1. The initial definition of digital media was a first cut based on what we thought we understood, and you are right that it is weak. Based on what we heard today, and comments like yours, we will refine it. In fact, I expect that we will be refining it constantly.

    As far as Open Source and Creative Commons, the groups behind the creation of the CDMN have long been proponents of those and other movements. We will strive to make the content we aggregate open to all. is an example of information that is gathered from those willing to share for the benefit of all, and it will grow in size and value with each successive event.

    Thanks for coming, for commenting, and for sharing your time and passion with us!

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