Valerie Fox: [Full interview transcript]

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Valerie Fox is the executive director of Ryerson University’s Digital Media Zone, which she helped develop and open in April 2010. She has worked in creative industries for over 25 years. Read Val’s full bio here…

Click here to watch Val’s full interview, “Collaborative Entrepreneurship.”

Val: The Digital Media Zone is this incredible place where we’re really fostering young people, young entrepreneurs, young innovators, to create their businesses, to really drive their businesses towards success, and we’re giving them every tool we possibly can to be successful. In fact, we’re giving them each other. The Zone is filled with various companies, and they all interact, they all collaborate, they help each other to be better companies. And so eventually, they’re going to be able to make it on their own.

I’m the director. I’m a bit of a den mother. I’m watching over them, making sure they have access to all the various things that they need. I encourage, inspire, and my role is to just keep growing this, and keeping the environment fresh, keeping the community fresh and ensuring that everybody’s successful.

A new model for success

Val: We’re getting more collective. What I mean by that is, number one, is there’s a lot of great ideas that are popping up, like popcorn. It’s just boop-boop-boop, all these really amazing innovations and ideas, and people are starting to talk to one another about those ideas. And companies now are looking at other companies and going, “Hmm, maybe if I team with you we’ll have a stronger company.” So my prediction is what you’re going to see is clustering of companies, and those clusters of companies will become very strong, and they will be able to compete on the worldwide stage because they’re coming together. I think a number of small companies, they will sell out sooner, meaning a larger company will gobble them up, and that’s what they’re looking to do. But I have a feeling that what’s going to start to happen is that a number of the innovations that are coming up now are going to cluster together, and they’re going to be a force to be reckoned with.

Creating a sharing economy

Val: Most things come, innovations come, ideas come from need, from crisis, and when that happens, things just start to happen very, very quickly. What’s interesting about now is because of digital media, because of social media, and because of being social and community-minded, the sharing now is another interesting thing that’s just happened. Because of that, I believe that’s why there’s this big huge mushroom of growth, and we’re not fighting each other right now. We’re not holding anyone back. This is not where it’s dog-eat-dog and we’re all trying to climb to the top. It’s “oh no, we can do it all!”

Trust & social capital

Val: It’s everything. I have to say that it’s everything. We used to talk, I remember way back when in marketing, we would talk about brand. It’s all trust in the brand, how everytime you go there you can trust what will happen. But now I think it’s more, well not more but this is on top of it, it’s trust in people. You need to trust, yes, the product, whether it’s good and that kind of stuff, but you want to trust the people you’re working with. And I think a lot has to do, again, because we’re socializing so much more, we’re connecting with people so much more. I need to know that when I talk to you, when I tell you all this stuff, when I lay my heart out to you, it’s all for the good of us doing something amazing together. I believe that counts more than anything.

Summary:

  • The Digital Media Zone encourages young entrepreneurs to collaborate on each other’s projects
  • Collaborative model could lead to clustering of related companies for increased efficiency
  • Leading to a growth of a “sharing economy”
  • Trust in people equally as important as trust in brand

Follow Val on Twitter @vfox10.

 

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