OLI Workshops 2020

Science, technology, trade and politics

In the early 2000’s I worked at Canada’s federal government department of foreign affairs and international trade. Within its science and technology (S&T) unit, I held the title of Science and Technology Intelligence Officer.  To say it was fun, challenging and invigorating would be an understatement.

At a training course on competitive intelligence — meaning, in that context, information that is relevant for policy — I learned that some 95% of “intelligence” is in the public domain. However without a framework, guidance and background knowledge on what to look for, this material remains inaccessible for many.

The purpose of this blog and our OLI Workshops is to help you learn about selected science and technology topics that have global ramifications, by bringing onto our platform credible experts to whom you can talk.

Self-reliance for a complex, unpredictable future

If it is a challenge for government to assemble all of the knowledge necessary for good policy-making, it is certainly a greater one for individuals trying to make sense of the world.  With more than 30 years experience in S&T, public, foreign and development policy and projects, I still feel new to the area. Why? Because it is constantly expanding and influencing us in profound ways.

Knowing more about contemporary S&T, trade-related aspects and foreign policy may help confer more self-reliance. Participating more effectively in our own personal decisions, and understanding their individual and collective implications, gives us more certainty. The more we learn, the better, if investing time or money in promising organizations or initiatives. We wish to vote for levels of (Western) government that theoretically at least, exist to serve citizens. But do they?

Who might be at an OLI Workshop?

An OLI-works facilitator will be at the workshop, and often others in our network.

What about you?  You might be a small-scale investor, potential exporter or individual development consultant. You could be a scientific research leader or fund administrator. Perhaps you are a writer, journalist, playwright or film-maker.  You might even be an expert that you believe we should recruit (in which case let us know).

Almost everyone in our network has helped governments of advanced and developing societies.  We may be able help you, too, to develop and share knowledge in the realm of science, technology, public policy, international affairs and markets.

Embracing virtual, on-line opportunities

Part of our rationale for these OLI Workshops is to expand training and comfort with remote work and new forms of personal interaction on-line. Here at OLI-works we are committed users of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) and are confident our methods will be useful for you.

Topics for our OLI Workshops

Below is our syllabus of topics, for which we have background. Topics requiring an expert or more, and who we have on the sidelines, are marked with an “E”.

A. Building our Scientific Literacy in Health Innovation
  1. Oncolytic viral therapy – a promising new approach for the treatment of cancer ~ E
  2. Regenerative medicine – the cultivation and use of stem cells for applications to disease ~ E
  3. State-of-the-art for viral vaccines, therapeutics and anti-virals ~ E
B. Using Science and Technology to Address Climate Change
  1. Electric vehicle roll-out – will this benefit or cost the environment? ~ E
  2. Off-grid energy sources and ICT for emergency management and response ~ E
  3. Can multilateral agreements unite the world in the fight against climate change? ~ E
C.  Deciphering International Affairs and Foreign Policy
  1. Perspectives on Chrystia Freeland’s Plutocrats (2012).
D. Enhancing our Literary Skills and Knowledge of a Perilous Past
  1. Was Shakespeare a cover?  The authorship debate brews on with toil and trouble.
E. Kick-Starting or Dusting Off Language skills
  1. Informal, French conversation – Bonjour!
  2. Informal, Spanish conversation – ¡Hola!
  3. Informal, Swedish conversation – Hejdå!

Prices and timing 

  • Where an “E” is indicated, outside experts are required and the final price will be determined by taking their quotes into account.
  • For the language workshops, a fluent speaker will act as animator and a drop-in scheme applies. Our current price is $CAD15/h, per person, for up to 5 learners per workshop.
  • Non-language OLI Workshops not marked with an “E” cost CAD$10/h.

Minimal technology

Participants will require high-speed Internet access, a device (computer/laptop, tablet or mobile phone), headset with microphone, or a built-in microphone in a private, quiet setting.  The OLI Workshops are an hour long.  The length of time for presentation and discussion will be about 45 minutes.

Is anything for free?

Normally, we are happy to provide up to 1 hour of free, one-on-one training, including on how to make on-line payments. Contact us to book a time.

Why OLI Workshops instead of on-line courses?

  • Our OLI Workshops are designed to allow everyone – facilitators, experts, participants – to talk, make presentations, engage in live Q&A and network. Unlike webinars, our workshops are oriented to small groups.
  • Our workshops provide a rehearsal platform in the on-line space, allowing everyone to practice. Your on-line participation, delivery, language — whatever you wish to improve.
  • Networking and making friends is encouraged.
  • Our workshops are informal and fun. There will be no tests unless requested.

Your suggestions welcome

Please feel encouraged to be in touch with us on any of the topics above. If you have a subject you wish to see included in the syllabus, let us know.


Oct 30th, 2019

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