An­a­lyst delves into minds of prov­ince’s fu­ture lead­ers

Truro Daily News - - Front Page - BY DAR­RELL CoLE dar­rell.cole@amher­st­

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.the­mind­set­pro­

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.

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