Future Ready®: Building blocks, barriers and incentives – Anna Robak

Sponsored by

The difficulty is less about predicting the future, and more about preparing for it. In her talk, Anna will share her research on the trends that will have the most significant economic impacts on Canada, and the smart solutions that will be available to leverage or reverse these trends. The research found that even when people know what is coming, they often don’t adequately prepare. This is even more true where smart solutions are involved. To many people, smart feels mystical and complicated – “too hard”.
Anna and her team interviewed developers, utilities and municipalities across Canada to understand the policies, institutional arrangements, infrastructure, operational arrangements, and public perception factors that act as barriers and incentives to implementing smart solutions that would better prepare the country for trends in technology, society, climate and resources. The most striking finding was the fact that to be truly Future Ready®, policies, institutional arrangements, infrastructure, operational arrangements, and public perception factors would all need to change concurrently – emphasising the importance of connectedness for the future.

Anna is the Research Manager, Innovation and Future Ready® at WSP Canada. She is responsible for research into trends in society, climate, technology and resources, and understanding how our designs and advice could change to better prepare us for the future. She is also responsible for embedding these insights into the work of 8500 engineers, scientists and planners.
Anna is a professional engineer with a PhD in economics, and was previously Global Director of Whole of Life Asset Management at Opus NZ (WSP). In 2016, Anna returned to Canada, where she supported her hometown in applying for Infrastructure Canada’s inaugural Smart Cities Challenge. The city won $250k to further develop their Smart City plan.
Anna is also an Adjunct Professor at the University of New Brunswick and a member of the University of Toronto Department of Civil and Mineral Engineering’s Industry Advisory Board.
Anna misses sunset surfs and is also strangely nostalgic about the Air New Zealand lounge and flight experience. 

print