Smart Cities Challenge
Question 8 and Response by the Biigtigong Nishnaabeg
April 24, 2018
Question 8: Please describe your community’s readiness and ability to implement your proposal successfully. This section should include:
- Experience with implementing complex projects (i.e. multi-stakeholder, multi-dimensional) that span multiple business lines and functional units.
- Structures, processes, and practices in place or planned for managing and implementing complex projects that span multiple business lines and functional units.
- Organizational strengths and potential weaknesses for managing and implementing a smart city proposal, and plans to address weaknesses to ensure successful proposal management and implementation.
Biigtigong Nishnaabeg have a history of dreaming big and making these dreams become a reality. Our dreams and vision are transformed into strategy, goals, objectives and outcomes. Our organizational structures and processes are designed to support the successful implementation of our strategy. We facilitate the building of our internal capacity and invest in our people. Our approaches are holistic and team-orientated. Biigtigong has transformed itself into a highly functioning and successful organization that produces results.
Our Smart Cities proposal seeks to produce some ambitious outcomes and address some fundamental issues facing our youth. To ensure our proposed endeavour will be successful we carefully examined our state of preparedness and organizational readiness. We believe we are ready for this project.
Experience with Complex Projects
Our experience with complex projects is extensive and spans over a wide range of domains. We have a long history of waterpower development. Our first run of the river hydroelectric project was developed in 1987. In 1992, Twin Falls was developed and followed by the Umbata Falls project in 2008. We also have other successful operations. Business planning, navigating government processes, environmental assessments, stakeholder engagement, financial and legal matters, research, capacity building, and creating business and management structures, make these projects very complex. We have developed our internal capacity to effectively develop and implement complex projects.
We also have project development and management experience in all of other service areas, including social services, health, education, language, governance, lands and resources, housing, capital and infrastructure. Most of our projects are multi-disciplinary and require a holistic approach involving multiple service providers. We have the capacity to effectively plan, organize, manage, lead and control resources to achieve our goals. Biigtigong has extensive experience in the creation of innovative projects and has the necessary systems to effectively implement our Smart Cities proposal.
Organizational Structures and Processes
We will ensure the necessary organizational structures, lines of authority, roles and responsibilities, accountabilities, policies, procedures, reporting mechanisms and controls are in place. The existing structures and processes provide flexibility to foster innovation and ensure high levels of accountability. Our organizational culture is based on our Nishnaabe principles of a collectivist worldview, non-hierarchical structures, consensus decision-making and holistically developed approaches; this supports a team-oriented philosophy. Our systems and structures will support the successful implementation of this proposal.
Our CEO has been assigned the responsibility for the development, implementation and evaluation of this project. A Project Development Team, under the direction of the CEO, was created to assist in developing the proposal and ensuring its successful implementation. The team consists of the Language Director, the IT Manager, the Education Director, the Chief, a youth representative and an elder representative. Each brings specific skills and knowledge needed for this project and all have worked together on previous projects.
In order to establish accountability, the CEO and the team, will create detailed work plans, that clearly identify the tasks, schedules, persons responsible, budgets and other details. A project management-tracking tool will be utilized to assist in coordinating and monitoring of the project implementation.
The financial management of this project will be done in accordance with the standards and policies established by the First Nation. Our system clearly separates the roles and authorities between our administrative and political functions. Financial controls are established to ensure confidence, trust, transparency and reliability of information. We have a strong history of sound financial management.
Communication and Reporting
Biigtigong has established protocols to enhance the level of communication and reporting. The project team will utilize face-to-face meetings as the main method of communication. An on-line platform will be used to allow for collaboration and increased communication. Reporting systems for this project will be customized to ensure greater accountability to our membership and other stakeholders.
In order to ensure quality assurance on this project, standards and criteria will be set for both the product and process at each stage of the project life cycle. Project outcomes will require the identification of clear criteria and the establishment of processes to measure.
Strengths and Weaknesses
We examined some of the organizational strengths and weaknesses that impact our ability to successfully manage and implement our Smart Cities proposal.
Leadership and Stakeholder Commitment
The project has the support of Biigtigong’s leadership and major stakeholders. On-going support will be achieved by providing opportunities for continued involvement, regular reporting and education sessions throughout the life cycle of the project.
Vision Integration and Alignment
The Challenge Statement and the identified outcomes are in alignment with the organization’s overall vision, goals and objectives. The language revitalization initiative, aadsookaanan project and our land-based curriculum will be integrated into this proposal. The projects will be streamlined and coordinated under this proposal. Biigtigong’s Senior Management Team will be responsible to ensure integration and alignment.
Our Team Approach
Biigtigong’s organizational culture places a strong emphasis on the importance of high functioning teams. The team-approach mentality will help in managing the cross-departmental responsibilities to the project.
Research and Development
The language and culture components of this proposal are well founded on academic research and best practices. The capacity has been developed to ensure the successful implementation of this component. Further research relating to STEM curriculum and online education will be required. We will also utilize the expertise of other individuals who have this technical expertise.
We acknowledge that the merging of technology and traditional knowledge may result in some resistance. To address this we will continue to involve the community by providing opportunities to increase awareness of and facilitate contributions to the project. We will elicit the help of our elders and draw upon our ceremonial practices to help facilitate change.
Our education team has extensive knowledge of the K-12 curriculum and is developing a land-based curriculum. We will use their expertise in developing and implementing the curriculum. Research on best practices for online learning will be conducted. Expertise to assist in the development of the technology-based curriculum will be hired via our procurement procedures.