We find ourselves at a critical juncture in human history. The era of artificial intelligence and automation has brought unprecedented growth for businesses, consumers, and society as a whole. This can free us from mundane and unsafe tasks, but it can also displace jobs or even entire occupations. The frontiers of human longevity may be extended by advances in medicine and nanotechnology, but humanity also faces permanent risks from climate change. We are globally connected by social networks, but those same social networks can misinform and polarize us. The “gig economy” brings us new ways to share resources and flexible ways of working, but it may also trap us into increasingly low-wage, precarious work.

Automation and artificial intelligence will continue reshaping the nature of work. Yet, smarter technology does not replace human nature. We overestimate its achievements and underestimate our own performance, rarely stopping to consider how much we already know. In a world that has become so transfixed with the future of technology, we must remember that creating better humans will always be more important than creating smarter machines.

Thus, the JDC West 2022 theme is The Human Advantage. The theme speaks to the need to understand, anticipate, and manage the individual and social consequences of economic, technical, political, social, and environmental change in an ethical and environmentally sensitive manner. The Human Advantage asks competitors to confront the human dimensions of today’s world, considering the individual, group, social, ethical and economic consequences that emerge from changes to organizations, industries, and economies.

The pillars supporting this theme are: Inclusion, Innovation, and Purpose. Home to the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, inclusion is embedded in our city’s roots. Purpose involves value-driven decision making at both individual and organizational levels. Innovation describes the ever-changing world we live in and the need to understand and manage these changes in an ethical manner.

Until now, JDC West has never been held as far east as Winnipeg. A city where two rivers join, Winnipeg has been a meeting place for millennia. Here a diverse population lives and welcomes others to join and visit. New ventures are started, and old ones are linked through integrated operations to global supply lines. Nature has its extremes and cooperation is necessary. In Winnipeg, people come first.

Those who have made JDC West a competition that celebrates the fulfilled business person as academically accomplished, nimble in sports, critical in debate, and creative and tireless in social have always focused on the person as the centre of decision making. The thousands of JDC West alumni, competitors, organizing committee members, and volunteers have implicitly supported building a better world for all people.