Collision 2022: A Week of Innovation, Inspiration and Connection

By Collision 2022: A Week of Innovation, Inspiration and Connection

June 28, 2022

By Denver Sparks-Guest

I’ve always wanted to go to Collision, and this year I was able to make that happen as part of the Switchboard team.  We made the journey from Vancouver, Ottawa and Puerto Vallarta to see each other in real life and experience the conference together. It was the first time in three years the conference was back IRL with no virtual programming. So here’s a recap on my perspective of Collision 2022. 

Collision 2022 was a whirlwind of key learnings, meaningful connections and exciting moments we all needed after the past two years of work-from-home and capacity-limited gatherings. From the countless insightful speakers to dedicated event organizers who made the week run seamlessly, this event opened my eyes to Canada’s true innovative potential. As I boarded my flight from Toronto back home to Vancouver, I felt a strong sense of pride to be a part of such a thriving ecosystem and to have attended such an inspiring event.

Not only was it my first time at Collision, but it was also my first time attending a conference of over 35,000 attendees. I was excited to learn and be a part of this amazing community and build relationships with its fantastic people. Upon arrival at Enercare and watching intently as Margaret Atwood provided opening remarks as other critical points, she explained how “Individual behaviour creates large-scale change.” As I observed over 20,000 people in the same room lean in further to hear her next point, I became overcome with an unwavering sense of optimism that can often be hard to come by.

For Switchboard, we are a North American-wide firm with experts in different locations across the continent. Collision allowed our team to not only experience the magic of the Conference but to establish face-to-face team and chemistry building. Nothing beats the bond established from human interactions, and it was very refreshing to finally stand across from some of the people I engage with the most. Outside our internal team, I met many wonderful people I had either heard of or emailed in the past but have never had the chance to meet IRL to share a friendly smile over a handshake or hug.

Three takeaways from the many incredible speakers and industry experts that were still stuck in my head as I boarded my flight back to Vancouver were;

  • I have realized that events are not as learning-centric for me. But good people; I always need and value
  • Organizations must create workplaces that offer employees meaning in the new world of work. – Leagh Turner, Ceridian
  • “I don’t worry too much about people that don’t see the future. I spend a lot of time with people that do see the future – because those are the people that do build the future.” – Roham Gharegozlou, DapperLabs

I believe the moments of connection created such a unique experience at Collision. From my personal and rough estimate, over a million individual conversations took place at Collision stemming from the amalgamation of people in attendance, all here to learn and connect.

My highlight of the week had to be the Frontier Collective after-party, a fiesta for the ages, announcing Vancouver’s arrival to the rooftops while letting all of Toronto know that Vancouver was here and that we brought our thriving community with us. Seeing over 700 people RSVP and show up to a party in Toronto thrown by people from Vancouver, brought a unique sense of pride that I haven’t felt since representing British Columbia as a youth at the under-17 national basketball tournament. It validated the fact that the Vancouver tech community is stronger than ever and well on its way to achieving its goal of positioning Vancouver as the tech capital of Canada and a top-five global leader in frontier technology by 2030.

All-in-all, I am deeply grateful for the opportunity to experience this conference for the first time. I will cherish all of the new friends and connections I have been fortunate enough to make and to the many bright and innovative minds of the Canadian tech ecosystem; thank you for inspiring me and creating and burning excitement for the future. To end on one of the themes of Margaret Atwood’s opening remarks, ‘Optimism beats cynicism, even in these fraught times”.