Archive for December, 2009

Innovations in Visual Search & Its Applications

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

The YTA Business Innovation group holds its sessions on the second Friday of each month. The next session will be on January 8th, 2010  from 12:00 – 1:30 PM, at the Corporate Training Center of Seneca College at 10 Allstate Parkway, Rm 113 in Markham.

Leila Boujnane, the CEO of Idee Inc., will be the featured speaker at this session. Idee Inc. is a Toronto-based company with innovative visual search technology. The topic of recent developments in visual search is timely given the recent disclosures of Google efforts, called “Google Goggles” in this domain. Google’s Visual Search for Android, simply put, is a service that will allow users to take a picture of a location on their Android-powered device, and it will trigger a Google search, which will then pull up information related to the image. Imagine the applications not only in tourism, but even informing consumers decisions about items in stores.

Visual search technology will have significant impact on many industries. The discussion at the January session promises to be interesting and enlightening. Attendance is free for YTA members and for prospective members on approval. You can register at the YTA web site, selecting “Programs”, “Peer Group Meetings”, “Business Innovation Peer Group” and then clicking the “Register” button.

On The New Year

Thursday, December 31st, 2009

May you have
Enough happiness to keep you happy.
Enough trials to keep you strong.
Enough sorrow to keep you human.
Enough hope to keep you thoughtful.
Enough failure to keep you humble.
Enough success to keep you eager.
Enough friends to give you comfort.
Enough faith and courage in yourself to banish depression.
Enough wealth to meet your daily needs.
Enough determination to make each day a better day than yesterday!

We wish you all A Happy New Year!

RIP Josephine

Monday, December 28th, 2009

My cat interrupts my 12 seconds video to say hi. on

Yesterday, our beloved cat Josephine had to be put down after her kidneys failed in a sudden and unexpected attack. Josephine had been my boyfriend’s cat for the last 18 years – he purchased her when he was 10 years old with his paper route money.


I was devastated to come home from a weekend trip and find her in her  little cat bed, too weak to stand up on her own although she did try to get up and greet me. The vet informed me there was nothing they could do, and so we put her to sleep since she was suffering and in pain.

It was one of the saddest experiences of my life. I stroked her head and spoke to her to let her know that I was there. She lifted one of her little paws and laid it on my arm and looked right at me as the vet administered the shot. I am so upset that I wasn’t there for her when it happened. It kills me to think that she was scared and in pain and alone during those last few hours.

The house now seems so empty and much too quiet. Josephine’s favorite place to be was beside us on the couch and she would purr contentedly for hours. She loved lying on anything that belonged to us and I had become accustomed to finding her snoozing on our freshly folded laundry, coats that had been carelessly thrown on the bed and suitcases that were left open. I’m going to miss her crazy yowls and the chatty meows she would often insert into the middle of a conversation we were having. Most of all, I’m going to miss how she always seemed to know when I was sad or upset and would just curl up next to me.

Snoozing in a suitcase I had left open

I’m sad to start 2010 without her.


Season’s Greetings

Saturday, December 19th, 2009
Happy Holidays to All

Happy Holidays to All

As we wind down an eventful year and look forward to the upcoming holidays, it is time to celebrate the most important elements of our humanity:  The warmth of being with family and friends, generosity and compassion with our fellow humans near and far, reflection on what’s important in our lives,  a mind set of reconciliation rather than conflict, and of appreciation of our blessings.

The Manara team would like to express its gratitude to all friends, customers, partners, colleagues, and competitors for their support, advice, business, wisdom, and the challenges that kept us on our tows and made us a better team.

We wish you all and yours a Merry Christmas, happy and safe holidays and a New Year full of peace, health, and prosperity.

Web 2.0 – Beyond the Hype

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

On December 3 the Ontario Chapter of the CIO Association of Canada hosted an event and social under the title “Web 2.0, Collaboration, and Social Media: Beyond the Hype”. The event was aimed to be an intimate gathering of peers (attendance was limited to 25) listening to practitioners and discussing the subject among themselves away from vendor and media hype.

I was invited by Samantha Liscio, CIO of Government of Ontario’s CAC to participate in a speaker panel she organized and tasked with framing the subject and providing the basis for the conversation. My colleagues on the panel were: Kyle Reid, CEO of Deep Caliber; Bobby Singh, Director of Information Security at eHealth Ontario and John Sutherland, President of Ennova Inc. The panel was facilitated by Craig Ballance, Director of the IT Leadership Program at Ryerson University.

Discussion topics included:

  • How Web 2.0 and social media tools have successfully delivered on business goals
  • Key lessons learned from real implementations (the reality behind the hype)
  • What some unanticipated outcomes of the implementation of Web 2.0 and social media have been (pitfalls to avoid)
  • Why it’s important to CIO success (moving from ‘hype’ to ‘value’)
  • What constitutes success in the practical application of Web 2.0, Collaboration and Social Media
  • What to watch for in the next waves of implementation

For me the main insight is that web 2.0 is much more about organizational change than about marketing and sales. The social aspect of new media and more importantly the increasingly social production of content and knowledge, all imply engagement of participants and active conversations. True conversations require not only active listening but also a readiness to change your position based on the conversation. Not many organizations are ready for such commitment, and of those who would like to be many don’t know how to adapt their policies, protocols and culture accordingly. Preparing an organization for the collaborative modes of operation needed to thrive in the new economy will require therefore significant changes to the organizational structure and culture before such engagements can yield any significant result.

There was a discussion about how to introduce web 2.0 technology and applications to the C-level executives to win their buy-in. colleagues pointed out that it is perhaps not different from winning support for any major project. In my experience spending an hour of quality time with the CEO on a well prepared demo of such applications could work wonders.

The discussion also touched on the risks of web 2.0 deployments as well as on risks to organizations that are ill prepared to engage in the conversations about them taking place with or without their approval. Many examples were discussed.

All in all it was a great way to spend a pleasant evening with peers, network, and learn about our profession and business in thoughtful conversation.

Season Finale – Designing with Dialogue

Monday, December 7th, 2009

Leadership in the co-creation of positive change in our organizations and communities facilitated by conversations for meaningful action.

Designing with Dialogue (DwD) is a Toronto community of practitioners that gathers monthly to convene dialogue as a practice in social designing for the purposes of engaging the organizations, projects, and civic communities to which we’re committed.

Manara has been participating regularly in DwD sessions as we see the facilitation methods and tools discussed by this practitioners community as a significant component in the wider spectrum of collaborative design tools required for organizational change.

December’s session will be held the second Wednesday, December 11 from 7:00 – 9:00 PM at the Strategic Innovation Lab (sLab) of OCAD. We are reserving this session to meet as a core group of committed participants interested in taking the DwD community to the next stage of its evolution towards serving the community at large. The December session, as an exception, will be dedicated to continuing the work we started in November for envisioning the plans and agenda for 2010.

From January 2010 on, we will meet the second Wednesday of every month at the Strategic Innovation Lab, OCAD, Toronto.