Brain power and people power at Innovation Week in New Westminster

What’s happening?

The City of New Westminster is hosting Innovation Week from Feb. 23 to March 3, with a goal of celebrating all things innovative in the city and the region. Now in its second year, this year’s theme is transportation

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When does it start?

The action gets underway on Friday, Feb. 23 with a professional development day for teachers featuring programs about innovation. Everyone is invited to attend Innovation Week’s official opening reception in the city hall foyer from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. It includes entertainment and the release of a special batch of Steel & Oak Brewing Co. beer created for Innovation Week.

What about the hackathon?

A popular feature of last year’s event, this year’s hackathon is on Saturday, Feb. 24 and Sunday, Feb. 25 at Douglas College. This year’s theme is transportation and participants will use open data provided by the City of New Westminster, TransLink, Modo car co-op and other partners to develop software and apps. The public is invited to view team presentations on Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m.

Is there anything else happening that weekend?

Free children and youth workshops are taking place on Saturday, Feb. 24 at the youth centre, where younger folks can enjoy a hands-on demonstration with Spheros Robots, get creative with the Spare Parts program, take part in Hour of Code with Amazon and more.

“There is also a public art tour that day,” said Innovation Week coordinator Jen Arbo about the tour that begins at 2 p.m. at the New Westminster SkyTrain station. “It is also a great opportunity because TRAMS – the Transit Museum Society – is providing a 1982 vintage bus. So it’s a multimodal transit-oriented public art tour that will look at five different art pieces in and around New West.”

What else is planned for Innovation Week 2018?

* A non-profit town hall on the theme of “innovating your non-profit” is on Monday, Feb. 26 from 6 to 8 p.m. at city hall. It includes a dialogue on diversity and inclusion, led by diversity and inclusion strategist Alden E. Habacon.

* A New West business and tech meetup is on Monday, Feb. 26 at 7 p.m. at TransLink’s offices. Featuring a guest speaker, this TransLink-hosted meetup is intended to be a casual networking opportunity for people who live or work in New Westminster.

* Intelligent New West: A Smart Cities Dialogue is on Wednesday, Feb. 28 from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Anvil Centre.

* The VANTEC Network Practice Pitch takes place at Anvil Centre from 7 to 9 p.m. on Feb. 28. Audience attendance is encouraged for this event, where start-ups have a chance to pitch their business to a panel that provides feedback.

* A transportation forum aimed at planners and transportation practitioners will take place at Anvil Centre on Thursday, March 1 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Anvil Centre. Robin Chase, co-founder and former CEO of Zipcar, is the forum’s keynote speaker.

* The Mobility Pricing Independent Commission, which makes recommendation to TransLink’s board of directors and the Mayors’ Council on Regional Transportation, is meeting at Anvil Centre on the evening of Thursday, March 1.

“They are going to be using Innovation Week as part of their series of public engagement events,” said Ruby Campbell, the city’s intergovernmental and community partnerships manager. “We are also going to have a panel of speakers there to talk about mobility pricing. It will be moderated by Mayor Cote. It will be, you can imagine, quite a hot topic given the final report will be coming out in April. It will be at a point where there will be lots of information to share.”

* The Livable Cities event, taking place at Anvil Centre on Thursday, March 1 from 2 to 6 p.m., has a theme of movement and mobility.

What’s happening on the final day?

Innovation Week wraps up with Inspiration Day at Century House from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, March 3, where the topic is Innovating Your Well Being. At the PechaKucha New West event at Massey Theatre on Saturday, March 3 from 6:30 to 10:30 p.m., 10 presenters will speak about their passions, showing 20 slides lasting 20 seconds each. Presenters include Adrian Crook, who writes about urban living and technology on the 5 Kids 1 Condo blog.

Details, please:

Most of the Innovation Week events are free, but PechaKucha New West Volume 18 is a ticketed event. Tickets will be available closer to Innovation Week. For more information about Innovation Week, visit newwestcity.ca/innovatenw.

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