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UNB announces new co-chairs for UNESCO project

Author: UNB Newsroom

Posted on Jan 12, 2022

Category: UNB Fredericton

The University of New Brunswick’s J Herbert Smith Centre for Technology Management and Entrepreneurship has announced new United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) co-chairs in Anticipatory Systems for Innovation and Venture Creation.

Dominic Blakely and Dr. Jonathan Calof have accepted the co-chair positions, where they will engage in research, learning and communication engagement activities that explore why and how people imagine the future. Mr. Blakely and Dr. Calof both bring experience and passion for innovation, in addition to a wealth of knowledge as it relates to strategic engagement and technology as well as anticipatory systems.

“I’m very excited to embark on this new journey with Jonathan Calof as UNESCO’s newest co-chairs for Futures Literacy,” says Mr. Blakely, UNB’s innovation and entrepreneurship strategist. “Our global activities will look to engage with newcomers, female founders and rural microentrepreneurs and innovators, building on the work currently being carried out by the university and the J Herbert Smith Centre. With these new international venture colleagues, along with the network of Futures Literacy Chairs around the world, we look to impact areas that have been underserved by current startup needs and together build systems that will assist in future successes for economic and social growth.”

“When we as a society focus on the long-term impact of our actions today or tomorrow, we are seeking a better world for everyone within our global community,” says Dr. Calof, adjunct professor at UNB. “Dominic and I will be seeking to advance the use of anticipatory systems with a global lens, utilizing competitive intelligence and foresight to frame models for innovation and venture creation.”

The chair positions will be housed within UNB’s J Herbert Smith Centre, working in the newly formed Centre for Deep Change. This centre’s mandate is to develop creative new approaches to solve problems and develop new processes, products and services to drive massive change across local and global communities.

“UNB and the J Herbert Smith Centre for Technology Management and Entrepreneurship have been global leaders in innovation and venture creation, with the centre having launched more than 175 startups in the last eight years,” says Dr. Paul J. Mazerolle, president and vice-chancellor of the University of New Brunswick. “This announcement of our two UNESCO co-chairs in anticipatory systems further amplifies the incredible work our university is doing both within Atlantic Canada and around the world.”

“Every person, from a child to an executive, wonders about the future. The COVID-19 pandemic and climate change both underscore the tremendous power of images of the future to shape our hopes and fears – these events also point to the need to be able to invent new futures when the world changes,” says Riel Miller, UNESCO Head of Futures Literacy, Head of Foresight. “The UNB UNESCO Chair in Anticipatory Systems for Innovation and Venture Creation is a direct response to this need. The new UNB co-chairs are a significant addition to the Global Futures Literacy Network and will make a major contribution to the global efforts to better understand why and how people, from all walks of life, use the future to innovate and adapt in the face of change.”

Building off of UNB’s foundational work in technology management, entrepreneurship and community collaborations to drive a culture of innovation, this partnership with UNESCO will focus on creating new pathways to accelerate the free flow of information to a broad and diverse network of people. This work will be done through its publications and engagement activities which bring together the global community to listen and reflect on varying perspectives related to leadership, organizational change, civic engagement and innovation.

Media contact: Kristen d’Entremont

Photo: Riel Miller, Dominic Blakely and Dhirendra Shukla, chair of the J Herbert Smith Centre for Technology Management and Entrepreneurship at UNB