10 things we learned from our clients in 2015

This year, Pilot PMR worked with an incredibly diverse array of clients representing an equally varied range of industries and issues, from education and construction to housing and healthcare, and many more beyond. These partnerships expanded what we thought we knew about how the world works, lives and plays, and gave us deeper insight into what keeps people across our beloved country so busy every day. Here are our top 10 discoveries for 2015:

1. Ontario is a province that values co-operation and charitable spirit

According to Credit Unions of Ontario’s first-ever Co-operative Communities Index, Peterborough, Kawartha Lakes, Orillia, Barrie and Belleville form Ontario’s “most co-operative region.” But if it’s plenty of park land you’re after, head to Brampton! The Index ranked 40 communities in the province based on their levels of social investment, charitable spirit, shared green spaces, community assets and civic engagement.

2. Germans love the sound of barking puppies

A global survey spanning 30 countries by Unitron, a global hearing aid manufacturer, taught us that while many of people’s favourite soundsare the same across countries and continents, a few regional preferences really do surprise. (Others, less so–Canadians love their loons.) The world’s top five favorite sounds are: children’s laughter, rainfall, birds chirping, favorite music and ocean waves.

3. For construction workers, it’s safer to be in a union

Between 2006 and 2012, unionized construction firms in Ontario reported 23 per cent fewer injuries requiring time off work, a 17 per cent lower rate of musculoskeletal injuries, and a 29 per cent lower rate of critical injuries that put workers’ lives in jeopardy compared to non-union firms — a result of the Union Safety Effect.

4. Canada can’t produce software engineers fast enough

The Canadian economy is forecasted to produce more than 1,250 new jobs over the next five years for software engineers. In Ontario alone, more than 650 new software engineering jobs will become available each year over the next 5 years. That’s more than 3,250 new jobs by 2020 — the highest of any Canadian province, and among the highest across all industries. No wonder programs like McMaster’s Bachelor of Technology in software engineering are highly sought after by employers.

5. There is a growing deficit of recreation facilities in Toronto

A first-of-its-kind survey conducted for the The 519 found that of 42 LGBTQ sports leagues and organizations in Toronto, 70 per cent said they relied on city facilities for space. Yet the City of Toronto’s recreational facilities currently serve only six per cent of Torontonians. A city planning report, Comprehensive to the Core, named recreation as one of several critical priorities needed to support future growth.

6. Anyone can be a city builder

At this year’s TEDxToronto conference, Zahra Ebrahim countered our common instinct to “fix” what is broken in our cities — a “top-down” approach — by instead encouraging local communities to work together on planning solutions. She cited her seven-year initiative working with students to repurpose a disused police Station in Scarborough into a vibrant community centre.

7. Toronto Community Housing is hard at work repairing properties across the city

As of November 30, 2015, Toronto Community Housing has completed nearly 23,000 capital repair projects as part of its 10-year capital repair plan launched in 2013. This includes replacing or upgrading 56,776 square metres of roofing, and completing or commencing more than 100 large-scale repairs to critical building mechanical systems.

8. Teachers are the pillars of support in our educational system

In celebration of World Teachers’ Day, OECTA released a video called “Teachers Matter” demonstrating how great teachers maintain a delicate balance in the classroom in order to provide strong and supportive learning environments for their students. And it is a delicate balance indeed.

9. The commercial transportation industry is ready for disruption

The commercial transportation business is ready for a shakeup. Forty-one per cent of air cargo and 37 per cent of ocean container shipments are threatened by 3D printing, for example. That’s not to mention the looming presence of autonomous vehicles. Providers of transportation logistics are starting to anticipate the effects of these and other disruptive technologies.

10. Adults colouring is cool (no, really)

Pilot proved that the “adult colouring revolution” is upon us, even at a conference full of driven innovators, and that a successful staff retreat should be all about green spaces, adventure and good food — no “trust falls” allowed.

Alex Derry is a consultant at Pilot PMR in Toronto, Canada.

Originally published at www.pilotpmr.com/insights on December 23, 2015.