Posted in Opinion

Wallander and the RID fund

Wallander is a BBC production, available on the CBC channel, about a detective solving murder crimes in Sweden. It combines problem-solving (joining the dots) with personal life issues, set in  a rural landscape. This scenario reminds me of living in rural Nova Scotia and attempting to understand the day to day political culture.

The Rural Innovation District (RID) fund is one of three funds administered by the NSCC. The other two funds are designed to address  innovation ecosystems in metro Halifax and Cape Breton. The ‘rural district’ refers to the geography of all of rural Nova Scotia, excluding the metropolitan areas.

Thinking about the ‘rural district’ and the community college, there are a significant number of non-metro campuses across Nova Scotia. If we were to address the needs of Annapolis County then the primary campuses would be COGS in Lawrencetown and the Middleton site. If we wanted to understand the innovation culture in this part of rural Nova Scotia, we would look at new directions in the business culture, the non-profit sector, as well as ongoing community initiatives.

Given this challenge, there would be two basic, first steps:

  1. establish a network of partners who could define the needs of Annapolis County;
  2. analyse the resources at both campuses that could be deployed to meet these needs.

My mental model would have two components:

a) a place-based education network (PEN)

b) a collaborative innovation laboratory (CIL)

These would be combined to form PENCIL. A pencil is a tool. It is used for both writing and drawing. With this concept, we would be able to ‘join the dots’. We could identify potential partners and test solutions to specific problems within a laboratory environment at the college. This has been tried in the past with the ACOA funded Business Incubation Centre on the Middleton campus. The difference, in this case, is that the community partners define the issues that need to be addressed, and work collaboratively with the campus resources.

The other difference is a ‘place-based’ education approach. This means that the issues are determined by the conditions in the local landscape. This could include forestry, agriculture, fisheries, culture, tourism, social and economic development. It might involve innovative approaches to science and technology.

Rather than expect the agenda to be driven by the college, allow the local geography to determine the issues. If the PENCIL concept works in one rural location, then look to the possibility of a modified version in a different geography. The key ingredients are a place-based education network and support for a collaborative innovation laboratory. It could be piloted in Annapolis County.

Perhaps we can get the BBC to produce a film series here. The new star might be Gordonstoun Nova Scotia.

Best wishes for Christmas and the New Year !


To all friends and associates, who have encouraged me, all year, in writing this blog.


Wallander. Kenneth Branagh plays the Detective Kurt Wallander.

Rural Innovation District Fund Rural Innovation District Fund


One thought on “Wallander and the RID fund

  1. I loved Wallander. Shetland is a good one too. And they certainly fit with the place-based theme. Keep on, keeping on, Bob. You always make me think and that’s a good thing at my advanced age! Merry Christmas to you and Heather and Ed W. “down there somewhere”.


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