Innovation and Growth within the Community

I was a young professional from Toronto trying to discover myself, my passion and my career path. I explored work opportunities and travelled around the world and around 2 years ago I found myself having lived and worked in 10 different cities and looking for a place to call home.

And then I found Kitchener- Waterloo. Work brought me here but my love for the city has kept me here with no plans of leaving.

This city is a haven for young professionals, creatives, entrepreneurs, outside the box thinkers and anyone with a passion for technology and innovation. I have met so many talented, interesting, unique individuals and The Local Advocate has been my outlet to give back to the community, reach out to like minded people and tell the story about why KW is really #kwawesome.

Within weeks of moving here, I noted a substantial shift from Toronto. People were collaborative. The restaurant I ate at one night suggested another one down the road. I bought my groceries from the local farmer herself who was supporting other farmers and makers within the community. Very soon I was able to walk into almost any store and speak to the owner or manager by name and felt part of something bigger. The sense of collaboration I felt was something I had always craved but never experienced before.

There is a big difference between collaboration and competition. And it’s kind of funny, because those who compete are trying to “win” over their component. But when you collaborate as a community, everybody wins… and the innovation continues. People here understand that and it’s what makes this place different. And even more, it’s so prevalent that if you don’t adopt that collaborative mindset and support your neighbours it will be very hard for you to grow in the community and connect with others.

I have recently started a Masters of Digital Experience Innovation program thorough the University of Waterloo Stratford Campus (which is why you’ll soon be seeing a lot more of Stratford) and have realized my way of looking at life was actually part of a methodological approach. It looked something like this:

Information/ Issue > Research > Experience/ New Idea/ Thoughts > Feedback > Research > Iteration > Feedback > Innovation

Let me tell you… it was incredibly refreshing to be reassured that constructive feedback should be welcomed. I am an opinionated person. Which has been both positive and negative in my life experiences.

The reason that I am mentioning this is because I want to state a few things for the record. The Local Advocate is all about showcasing the community and fostering growth and innovation. By no means am I ever trying to be negative or critical. I truly believe that innovation and iteration can only occur from feedback so that is what I am trying to give. For the moment, all articles, reviews and comments are my own opinion and I accept that not everyone may agree with them. But I am also thankful to be in a community where people understand that receiving constructive feedback is incredibly useful and hope that people will be receptive to that.

Kayla Zawiski