Putting Community Collaboration to Practical Use!


Community Collaboration Ecosystems bring an inclusive group of collaborative partners together to enable innovation and growth. The overreaching goal of these ecosystems or Smart Communities is to improve sustainability and quality of life for the community.

In my previous blogs, I wrote about the CCE pyramid and the need to establish a Governance and Engagement Model as the base. Secondly, there needs to be a Technology Platform to enable collaboration quickly and efficiently. This platform is required to enable innovation – ‘action at the speed of ideas’. Innovation is about trying new things, failing fast and efficiently and then turning the best of those successful ideas into reality as quickly as possible.

Once the Community has the first two pyramid layers in place, the requirement becomes about Projects – the Ideation, Development and Execution of ideas to take the Community forward. At this stage, the job-at-hand is 80% about engaging people and 20% about implementing technology. Its about great Community Engagement, helping the whole community understand the what, why and how of innovative ideas. And then, getting them actively involved!


In the community where I live, we have been evolving through these stages and are now squarely in the early stages of developing a few key projects. One of those, sponsored by the local Hydro Utility, is a great example of how to begin engaging the people for a common cause – in this case, reduction of energy use.

Newmarket-Tay Hydro has instituted the peaksaverPLUS program.  In partnership with ZeroFootprint, they provide a WIFI enabled thermostat to homes that are then tied into a community engagement platform over the internet. Energy use is tracked and reported back to the consumer over a web portal. GOODcoins provides the link between the Hydro system and a creative way for people to earn rewards for doing good. By saving energy at home, consumers earn GOODcoins, which are then in turn donated to Southlake Regional Health Centre to purchase additional neonatal equipment.

This is a fantastic example of several community partners coming together to pool their respective capabilities and creating a positive community innovation that benefits everyone, all through an interesting and engaging technology platform.


Once you have your smart thermostat from Newmarket-Tay Power Distribution’s peaksaver PLUS program, you’re ready to join engagingNewmarket and start earning GOODcoins that will help Southlake Regional Health Centre.

Sign up for your GOODcoins rewards at newmarket.goodcoins.ca

In this case, the idea began within the partners of the Community Collaboration Ecosystem. The key partners in this case, Newmarket Hydro and IBM got together to hammer out a solution that would help address the needs of several different groups as well as the community in general.

The Wins:

Newmarket-Tay Hydro

  • Established a pilot for an innovative platform that helps drive the Ontario SmartGrid agenda of more efficient energy use
  • Enhanced community profile


  • Demonstration pilot for their analytics capabilities


  • First energy application for the their ‘community for good’ platform

Southlake Regional Health Centre

  • Beneficiary of additional neonatal equipment

Town of Newmarket

  • First practical application of an ‘Intelligent Community’ project
  • Demonstration of the success of community collaboration
  • Established presence on GOODcoins community engagement platform
    • ready for other applications to promote community health & well being

Newmarket Residents

  • Practical way to get involved in doing good for the community and themselves
    • Saving energy / reducing costs
    • Donating to the local hospital at no cost / improved neonatal service
    • Access to a platform that provides ideas and ways to help themselves and the community at the same time

This program is a terrific example of how communities can rethink bringing their people and assets together in more innovative ways. Through collaborative partnerships, they can move faster, reduce their risks and improve their quality of life.

A pretty compelling proposition in my opinion!


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