Street cafe, The Glebe, Ottawa, Ontario


“Without reach, there is no challenge. Without risk, there is no reward. Without vision, there is no future.” True to this day, it applies to every company and to any entrepreneurial start-up. Without vision, there is no future.”

— John F Tyson, Adventures in Innovation: Inside the Rise and Fall of Nortel

Can you provide a single sentence “elevator pitch” describing the objectives of the proposed organization?

If you suffer a physical injury you will have access to a “jungle gym,” a varied collection of mechanical apparatus which you may utilize in order to recover your prior level of physical function; the proposed organization seeks to provide a jungle gym for the mind, a facility in which TBI victims may exercise their minds and recover their prior cognitive abilities.

Isn’t this available elsewhere?

I am a TBI victim and I have not found any such facility. Since it doesn’t presently exist, I wish to create it. But if you know of a similar type of service please notify me via the feedback tab located in the left margin. This will pull up a small feedback form and I would greatly appreciate any information you may be able to provide.

What will it cost?

Detailed cost planning has yet to be undertaken. The immediate objective is to canvas the local community to identify interested parties and potential partners. The financial demands are modest. Established as a social enterprise, it is believed the organization will become capable of self-financing.

So you are attempting to couple an active rehabilitation facility with an R&D lab investigating both human cognition and assistive technology?


And the two chief outcomes are enhanced rehabilitation for the TBI clients and technology product spin offs for the commercial market?

Again correct. The third outcome would be an increased understanding of cognitive functions and the creation of a centre of excellence dedicated to neuro-psychological research and affiliated with a local academic, or medical institution. The proposed organization would link this research with an entrepreneurial technology incubator.

Why the IT focus? Surely there are other occupations?

One of the goals of the organization is to explore and document the relationship between cognitive impairment and occupational acceptance of that impairment. Many occupations involve hazard exposures, or vigilance requirements, or downstream dependencies, which render them inappropriate to the TBI cohort. Professional occupations have steep learning requirements that also render them inappropriate. The TBI victim typically exhibits slowed cognitive functions and may suffer from impaired social skills. Such impairments render them a poor fit for customer facing positions (retail) or for routinized occupations which demand high productivity and quick response (fast food). IT does not present these barriers and provides a solution to potential mobility issues while at the same time offering self paced development easily adapted to individual needs. As an expanding area of occupational activity, IT enables the individual to discover opportunities and anchor themselves within a viable economic niche. Such niche offerings may then be marketed globally from the desktop.

Would this organization have application beyond your target client group?

I think this is very likely. TBI victims share a key attribute that other groups may lack  —  prior to injury they typically enjoyed a measure of standing in society, their accident has robbed them of that standing, they are very conscious of this loss, and they are therefore highly motivated to regain as much of their prior skills and abilities as possible. TBI clients represent an excellent starting point. As the organization matures, and develops capacity, similar services may be offered to other client groups.

I am excited by this proposal and wish to participate and learn more. How can I do that?

Please click the Feedback tab in the left margin. This will bring up a comment form that permits you to provide me with your contact information and the nature of your interest. If at all possible, I would prefer making contact via email as I feel better able to respond via text communication.

I foresee significant gaps / drawbacks / intractable problems associated with this proposal.

You feedback is vital and would be much appreciated. This proposal is following a lean development model in which the idea is presented to the community at an early stage and feedback gathered in advance of further development activity. Should you believe there exist significant hindrances I would very much wish to hear from you.

All communications, pro and con, will remain confidential. If it appears appropriate for a query and its response to be added to this FAQ I will seek your permission prior to it being incorporated.

January 2014

How will you provide medical services when you are not a Doctor?

The proposed organization represents an adjunct to the existing health care system. All participants would remain under the care of their own physician. TBI represents a chronic condition in which improvement is relatively limited after an initial two year period of recovery. This proposal details the creation of a user network which enables the participants to assist themselves, engage in skill and solution sharing, acquire marketable skills, and reintegrate themselves in a society where meaning in life is largely defined via occupational settings. It does not deliver medical care.

I’m confused. You speak of advanced neurological research being conducted by persons suffering from a serious brain injury?

The research activity would be hosted by, and conducted within, the frameworks supplied by existing academic or medical institutions. The proposed organization would offer a research environment and willing participants (subject to informed consent). You may be familiar with the Slow Food movement, an informal association of persons who celebrate wholesome ingredients prepared in traditional ways. The proposed organization may be thought of as a Slow Enterprise movement, an association of persons with special occupational needs who are hosted within a setting which understands and respects those needs while at the same time enabling the participants to gain valuable skills and / or participate in the social economy in a meaningful way. The proposed neurological centre of excellence need not be a bricks and mortar facility but may operate as a virtual enterprise with the researchers maintaining their affiliation with their parent organization.

I have read through your proposal but cannot find any detailed information on how you would generate the revenues required to make this organization self sustaining.

There exist multiple potential revenue streams. I would be glad to meet with you to further discuss these options.

February 2014

Is this proposal linked with Ottawa’s Brain and Mind Research Institute?

Not yet. I learned of the Brain and Mind Research Institute after completing this proposal and am presently in the process of seeking to make contact with founding director Antoine Hakim.