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Neil Seeman

Chairman & CEO, RIWI Corp.; Senior Fellow, Massey College

Mr./ Prof. Neil Seeman is the founder of RIWI Corp., becoming its Chief Executive Officer and a founding Director of the Company in 2009 and continuing in that role post-commercialization in December 2011. RIWI (CSE: RIW) is a global survey, message testing and citizen engagement technology company. Offering Information as a Service (IaaS) and custom data solutions, the Company is a global data provider to organizations such as the World Bank, the United Nations World Food Programme, Freedom House, the InterAmerican Development Bank, the Mastercard Foundation, as well as servicing government agencies, financial institutions, global market research firms in all parts of the world, and leading corporations such as CLSA, Procter & Gamble, Ericsson & Deloitte. As CEO, Neil leads overall strategy for the company globally, with a focus on healthcare and international security solutions. He also serves as the Company’s Chairman.

Prior to joining RIWI Corp., he was the founder and Executive Director of the Innovation Cell at Massey College, in the University of Toronto, where Neil is a Senior Fellow and teaches on knowledge transfer and the Web. For the University, he is on Faculty at the Institute of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation in the Dalla Lana School of Public Health.

Neil is the inventor of the patent for RDIT, acquired by RIWI Corp. in 2009, and first used by Neil for government-commissioned pandemic surveillance research in 2009-2010. Neil holds a bachelor’s degree from Queen’s University, a Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Toronto and a Master’s of Public Health Degree from Harvard University.

Mr. Seeman is the author of hundreds of articles in major media around the world, more than 25 peer-reviewed journal papers, several books and monographs, and is well-known for popularizing the importance of post-partisanship in data and decision-making for public policy.

Mr. Seeman began his career at a full-service Canadian law firm, later becoming a founding editorial board member of The National Post, and In-House Counsel on free speech matters to the National Citizen’s Coalition serving under the leadership of the Rt. Hon. Prime Minister Stephen Harper. He was founder of the Canadian Statistical Assessment Service, funded by the Donner Canadian Foundation, and later merged with the Centre for Risk and Regulation at The Fraser Institute. He has held research positions at the University of Toronto Faculty of Medicine and at IBM Canada, where he specialized in commercial applications of social media data and other data streams. Prior to the University of Toronto, he taught on healthcare and informatics issues at Ryerson University. He has been an angel investor and advisor to many Web start-ups. He has been listed in the Canadian Who’s Who (Univ. of Toronto) since 2002. His academic work has appeared in major journals such as Nature, Synapse, the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the Journal of Affective Disorders, Healthcare Quarterly, Healthcare Papers, and Healthcare Management Review.

RIWI is the winner of the IIeX Innovation Exchange Competition (2013), a three-­year consecutive ‘Top 50 Most Innovative’ global data firm (2014, 2015, 2016), and the winner of the NGMR ‘Disruptive Innovator of the Year’ award (2014).
Bloomberg via Getty Images

Don't Mistake 'Likes' on Facebook For Real Social Change

"Clicking" on Facebook to save the life of a child in the poorest regions of the world, language that seeps in to pricey corporate social responsibility campaigns online, encourages clicktivism and slacktivism. For any important issue, such as electoral reform, clicking on a petition or 'liking' a YouTube clip doesn't cut it.
11/19/2013 09:41 EST
AP

If You Think You're an Iconoclast You're Probably a Fool

To be labeled an iconoclast, and then, to believe it, is delusional. Labels such as "genius" are just that. It is statistically certain that the vast majority of people who have been labeled geniuses, savants, prodigies or iconoclasts -- if they believe it -- are fools.
10/18/2013 08:03 EDT
Alamy

The Danger of Taking Facebook "Likes" Too Seriously

A recent study on hospital quality and Facebook "Likes", was, in fact, distributed to me by the $48 billion tax-payer funded Ontario Ministry of Health and Long-Term Care, as if it were of grand global significance to data researchers. Facebook, lest I remind readers, is a game, originally designed to compare the beauty of freshman women at Harvard. To suggest that the number of "Likes" that an attractive young woman, subjectively defined, correlated in any manner or form with her intelligence or studiousness, is absurd. What would be a statistical certainty is that one could correlate her presumed beauty with something. Correlations, as any undergraduate student knows, do not equal cause, especially in the era of Big Data.
04/26/2013 06:11 EDT
AP

Men Not At Work: The Upside of Unemployed Dads

Dad was once the ATM; he's less absent now, more engaged in family life. As women "lean in" to the workplace and assert themselves, as they should, men are leaning out. This wreaks uncertainty on the economy, but there is a star of brilliant light looming over the ocean, visible in the ever-rising storm.
04/14/2013 11:19 EDT
PA

A Casino Will Gamble With Toronto's Most Vulnerable Citizens

Exploiting society's most vulnerable citizens, the modus operandi of revenue-generating gambling, is regressive taxation. Gambling is a gateway drug; a city that enables and promotes it violates basic principles of conservatism -- notably, to draw on evidence from other jurisdictions, and to put social problems to heel before they reach metastasis.
04/09/2013 05:16 EDT
CP

Rebecca Marino Did Athletes a Favour

Rebecca Marino, who reached a summa of 38th in the women's rankings in 2011, announced recently she is quitting the sport because she no longer has the required zeal to succeed at high-octane level tennis. People who open up about the realities of depression are doing all other athletes and parents a favour.
03/01/2013 12:25 EST

Why the Older You Are, the Happier You Get

There is one inalienable truth about happiness. Grumpy old men, and women, are not grumpy whatsoever -- contrary to popular myth. In fact, this truth remains the most contrarian of all research on happiness, and, to the best of my knowledge, is still the most evidence-based.
01/23/2013 07:54 EST
Shutterstock

What Does Merit Mean Nowadays Anyway?

f the world were a perfect place, we'd all be fully recognized, rewarded and appreciated for our hard work -- and talent and perseverance would be the only way to get ahead. But in our fast-track world, does merit always mean success? That's what the MeriTALKcracy initiative is all about.
12/13/2012 05:45 EST

Order of Canada Celebration was (Sadly) Lacking Order

Six hundred Order of Canada medallists gathered at Roy Thomson Hall in Toronto on June 18 to celebrate Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee. The medalists, or a goodly portion of them, had 60 years of achievements under their belts. There was a profusion of canes in attendance, as well as walkers and wheelchairs. But the organizers of this event seem not to have expected it.
06/19/2012 05:06 EDT

DONNER PRIZE FINALIST: Obesity and the Limits of Shame

Can the flattening rate of growth in childhood obesity be credited to public health campaigns -- such as anti-junk food posters in urban high school hallways; recent bans on soda pop machines in some schools; and mandated 20-minute physical exercise regimens in inner-city schools? They may have some impact among some kids, but not much, by all accounts.
04/22/2012 11:59 EDT
GERARD JULIEN / AFP

Shame on DSK, in Verse

Did you ever wonder what DSK was doing in his room/ When the maid came in with her duster and broom?/ Was it something unspeakably common and low/ For that seemingly upper crust Socialist pro?
03/27/2012 03:46 EDT

Fat Tax Won't Cut Government Bloat

Provinces that propose to tax sugary beverages may increase their general revenues; but as a strategy to reduce the severe chronic illness and huge financial costs associated with obesity, it will fail to accomplish anything -- except expanding the power of bureaucrats.
12/12/2011 12:20 EST
alamy

Not-So-Happy-Holidays: Are Your Colleagues Depressed?

Workplace programs should increase knowledge about mental health issues, decrease stigma and increase the ease with which workers can seek help. And yet, in this period of global financial turmoil, some of the first programs cut are exercise benefits and workplace health programs.
12/07/2011 08:53 EST
Thinkstock

The Danger of Safe Ideas

I am worried that too few people in health care voice dangerous ideas -- for fear, perhaps, of retribution or demotion or of being deemed a quack. One of the problems in health care -- and in all industries -- is that we assume, incorrectly, that the best ideas will flow from the top.
12/02/2011 09:06 EST
alamy

We Are All Health Care Consumers Now

The debate over health care consumerism -- a more overarching issue bound up in the very notion of Canadianism -- is over. Outside of dusty corners of academia, Canadians agree that health care is a service industry like any other. It's just more complicated.
11/28/2011 12:33 EST

Celebrating Looming Holiday Stress

Why are looming holidays a time of such stress? This is an issue that's hard to assess. It could be the flu that's making us stew, but are there some other good grounds for distress?
11/23/2011 12:37 EST

The Threat of Mass Naivete

Among the many global trends are the two Big Nasty Elephants of modernity -- terrorism and pandemic spread. These two challenges to mankind share a common set of unassailable facts: they will both kill on a wide scale; and, for reasons I do not understand, the public is naïve as to the inevitability of such events.
11/15/2011 05:10 EST