NEW PATHS FOR INNOVATION w Navdeep Bains: Econ4Tmro

Innovation and the #Econ4Tmro
with the
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Monday, March 14, 2016; 12 noon to 2:00 pm

Co-Hosted by the Pearson Centre for Progressive Policy
and the Toronto Region Board of Trade

Venue: Toronto Region Board of Trade
First Canadian Place, 77 Adelaide Street W, Toronto

Chair: Sandra Pupatello, Co-Chair #Econ4Tmro, Pearson Centre;
and Strategic Advisor, PwC Canada

Following the Keynote speech by the Hon. Navdeep Bains
a panel of 3 speakers offer their ideas about how we can advance innovation in Canada

Ilse Treurnicht, CEO, MaRS Discovery District;
Sheldon Levy, Deputy Minister, Training, Colleges and Universities
Stephen Lake, Co-Founder & CEO, Thalmic Labs

Q & A
Closing comments by Minister Bains and Host


#Econ4Tmro Series

Report #1
Innovation and the Economy for Tomorrow
Monday March 14, 2016
Co-hosted by
The Pearson Centre for Progressive Policy & the Toronto Region Board of Trade

Co-Chairs of the #Econ4Tmro:
Sandra Pupatello, Strategic Advisor, PwC Canada
Prof. Jonathan Calof, Telfer School of Management at University of Ottawa

Report By: Jacqueline Menezes, Consultant to the Pearson Centre for Progressive Policy

Innovation and #Econ4Tmro series
The #Econ4Tmro series is aimed addressing important opportunities and challenges of the Canadian economy in relation to the key aspects such as innovation, economic development, and international trade. Sessions covering key and complex issues of importance to Canada will be held across the country over the next year. They have profound longer-term impacts on our quality of life and on our children’s future for which simple solutions do not exist and for which any recommendations will take several years to see full results.
The Pearson Centre approach for dealing with these complex issues is to bring together a diverse group of subject matter experts on the topic and those affected by it to share their ideas. It is truly integrative in approach. It is our hope that by using this combination of expert panel and brain storming approach with diverse groups it will lead to ideas for policies that in the medium and long term will address these important issues

Context for Session 1: Canada’s Innovation Performance
Keynote Speaker:
The Hon. Navdeep Bains
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development
Panel Discussion
Sandra Pupatello, Strategic Advisor, PwC Canada; former Ontario Minister of Economic Development and Trade
Dr. Ilse Treurnicht, CEO of MaRS Discovery District
Sheldon Levy, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities
Stephen Lake, Co-Founder and CEO, Thalmic Labs

The audience heard ideas from Minister Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development. This was followed by a discussion moderated by Sandra Pupatello that include subject matter experts from corporate, entrepreneur, education, institutional, and government perspectives.
Participation from audience is an important part of this process. As they heard from the expert panellists on their ideas around Canada’s innovation challenge audience members were encouraged to share their ideas, using the form provided. They were collected at the end of the panel session, shared with the panellists who were asked to comment on them and are included in the report.

BACKGROUND COMMENTARY: Canada’s Business Innovation Performance
By Jonathan Calof, PhD. Professor, Telfer School of Management, University of Ottawa, Co-Chair, Econ4Tmro Advisory Committee, Board member The Pearson Centre for Progressive Policy

Innovation is very important to a country’s economy and to company performance. How can process innovation as well as product innovation have positive impact on firm performance? It is clear the innovation no matter how you define it is important to maintain and enhance the competitiveness of Canadian companies and Canada itself. In 2011 Goldman Sachs published a feature report on Innovation and Economic Growth where they credited the USA’s long record of economic growth to various innovation measures such as R&D expenditures both at the public and private sector level, and well educated work force and availability of capital to fund expansion, to name a few.
In their April 2013 look at Innovation in Canada The Conference Board of Canada reported that ‘Canada has become weak at business innovation. The international evidence for innovation performance consistently shows Canada ranking in the middle of the pack, or worse.’ In the past year, Canada fell from 11th to 22nd place on the WEF’s (World Economic Forum) innovation capacity pillar. The Conference Board of Canada’s 2013 Report Card on How Canada Performs ranks Canada a dismal 13th among 17 advanced countries noting that countries that are more innovative are passing Canada on measures such as income per capita, productivity, and the quality of social programs. (Excerpts from The State of Firm Level Innovation in Canada, The Conference Board of Canada, July 2013 by Sorin Cohen and Bruce Good)
Our government in it’s 2015 report on State of the Nation 2014, Canada’s Science, Technology and Innovation System from the Science Technology and Innovation Council (STIC) wrote, ‘Despite ongoing efforts to improve Canada’s lagging business innovation performance, it has continued to deteriorate. Canada has fallen further behind its global competitors on key performance indicators. ‘ (State of the Nation 2014, Canada’s Science, Technology and Innovation System, Science Technology and Innovation Council, 2015)

Canada’s score in the 2015 Global Innovation Index was 55.73 based on 70 indicators placing Canada 16th in the world.
Indicator Score Rank
Global Innovation Index (out of 141) 55.7 16
Innovation Output Sub-Index 46.4 22
Innovation Input Sub-Index. 65.1 9
Innovation Efficiency Ratio 0.7 70
Institutions 92.7 6
Human capital & research 49.0 22
Infrastructure 60.9 11
Market sophistication 73.5 4
Business sophistication 49.3 18
Knowledge & technology outputs 41.9 21
Creative outputs 50.9 18

In September 2015 we got the best news so far on Canada’s innovation performance. The recent Conference Board report card on Innovation noted that Canada earned a ‘C’ while provincial Ontario, Quebec and BC are overall ‘B’ performers – there had been a move up. This is up from a ‘D’ in 2013. The very good news is that we moved from 13th placed ranking (out of 16 peer countries) to 9th.
However The Conference Board does conclude that “While Canada’s overall ranking is slightly better, it masks downward trends in some key innovation drivers and highlights the need for the private and public sectors to improve their innovation game in a much more competitive environment.”
Already a laggard on Business Enterprise R&D (BERD), Canada has fallen from 15th to last place among the 16 international peers and receives a “D” grade. While most international peers have seen their BERD rise for much of the past decade, Canada’s BERD has been steadily dropping—both in absolute terms and as a share of GDP. Moreover, with nearly half all of business R&D conducted by just twelve firms, there is even more reason for concern about long-term BERD performance. Canada also receives ‘D s’ on patents and researchers engaged in R&D (including researchers employed in businesses, higher education and government).

Innovation measures used in assessing Canada’s performance
 Business enterprise expenditures on research and development as a share of GDP (BERD intensity)
 Information and communications technologies investment as a share of GDP (ICT investment intensity)
 S&T-related occupations as a share of total employment
 Business enterprise researchers per thousand employment in industry
 Overall government funding for business R&D as a share of GDP
 Direct federal funding as a share of GDP
 Indirect federal funding as a share of GDP
 Venture capital investment as a share of GDP
 Firms introduced a product innovation
 Firms introduced a process innovation
 Share of SMEs introducing a product or process innovation
 Share of large firms introducing a product or process innovation
 Multifactor productivity (MFP) growth, average annual change
 Export market share in globally R&D intensive industries
 Gross domestic expenditures on R&D as a share of GDP (GERD intensity)
 Higher education expenditures on R&D as a share of GDP (HERD intensity)
 Relative impact index (of research in higher education)
 Most highly cited researchers
 Share of Canadian university researchers’ publications that were co-authored
 Licences created per higher education institution
 Number of doctoral degrees granted in science and engineering per 100,000 population
 Share of female Canadian science and engineering PhD graduates
 University (Tertiary-A) degrees granted in health, engineering, science and business per 100,000 population
 College (Tertiary-B) degrees granted in business, engineering, science and health per 100,000 population
 Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC)
 Share of international students at Canadian universities and colleges
 Share of international co-publications of Canada’s total publications
 Level of R&D
 Employee time allocated to R&D
 Type of innovation strategy
 Type of innovation pursued
 Intensity of R&D centric innovations relative to revenues
 Time-intensity of innovation activities
 Innovation intensity
 R&D Intensity
About The Pearson Centre for Progressive Policy
The Pearson Centre for Progressive Policy is Canada’s forum for thoughtful, liberal-minded, centrist debate and dialogue.
Our objective is to help Canadians, through substantive, evidenced-based dialogue, foster policy that balances economic success and social responsibility.

Innovation and the Economy for Tomorrow
What is Innovation? Defining Innovation
The Conference Board of Canada defines innovation as a process through which economic and social value is extracted from knowledge – through the creation, diffusion and transformation of ideas – to produce new or improved strategies, capabilities, products, services, or processes.

In his speech Minister Bains define innovation as such:
• A Mindset
• Daring to dream; to do something smarter, faster, better
• To Improve Status Quo
• To improve quality of life in whatever ways possible.
• Finding solutions to big problems and that includes social innovation
• Social innovation

Innovation Litmus test:
1. Is there a new way you’re creating value?
2. Is there a new way that value is being consumed?
3. Is there a new form of quality control?
4. Is there a new way to scale?

“As a business leader, if you’re looking at innovation and wanting innovation to be meaningful rather than peripheral, you have to be able to answer those questions honestly, and with complete rigour,” says Julie Woods-Moss CMO, Tata Communications.
Keynote Speech by Navdeep Bains: Current State of Canadian Innovation
(based on Minster Bains’ speech; video: )

Disruption & Risk Averse Culture: Our own markets and businesses are being disrupted by technology. What is disruption for some is pure innovation and opportunity for others. The challenge for government is to respond to both. Our government recognizes how much this change is disruptive.

Early Adopters: To secure a choice position in the 21st-century global economy, Canada needs to be innovative. We need to embrace science and the world of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM). Our youth , especially girls need to learn coding at an early age, not only to deal with the gender disparity that we have when it comes to this area but also to address the major skill shortage in the coming years.

Investment & Funding: Starts-up have to spend too much time fundraising; takes away from research and development of innovative products & services. Continue to foster R&D; going in the wrong direction, particularly R&D with business enterprise, and we are seeing extraordinary high levels of cash on balance sheets for businesses.

Launch new technologies and support scientific research: The government is truly are committed to launching new technologies and support scientific research. We will work alongside the Minister of Science Dr. Kirsty Duncan, who is also committed to this, and to new and broader and more collaborative efforts to embrace the innovation opportunities that change brings.

Brain Drain: When Canadian start ups do well and CND $ is low there is a high risk that US investors come in and take over; 70 % of Canadian start ups are taken over by US investors; companies, globally are buying innovation vs. developing it in house that fit their business model or change their business model.
How do we make progress on Innovation?

Government Agenda on Innovation: What incentives can we create for Canadian companies to stay in Canada, to be headquartered to do their R & D and grow their foot print here?
How does government wean off natural resources to diversify our economy? Can the innovation economy replace natural resources? Is that the natural successor?
Do so through:

Transition: Recognize the importance of our current companies and manufacturers of oil and gas that do contribute a significant amount to the GDP. We have an opportunity to help them adopt ICT (information and communication technologies), to digitize, to compete globally.
Diversification: Government is committed to addressing climate change and to being able to succeed in a low-carbon economy; we doubled commitment to diversify through Clean Technology (renewable energy) as part of Mission Innovation at COP 21. In the next five years, clean tech alone is expected to be a global industry worth more than $3 trillion. Industry business and aboriginal leadership want this. Recently announced $5.4 M for the B.C. Indigenous Clean Tech Fund that will allow aboriginals to build capacity and social contract, strengthening our First Nations relations and be part of the government’s innovation agenda.

Leverage our Diversity through Diaspora networks: We need to talk about how we can really leverage our diversity and be competitive globally.

Scope and Speed of Change: Government recognizes that the global economy is changing and changing fast—particularly the scope and speed of change.
Smart Manufacturing: The government will focus on smart industrial policy that will help companies focus on adopting ICT [information and communication technologies] in order to digitize from concept to design to production. e.g. Ryerson’s Digital Media Zone.
Acquisition and Procurement: of ships & jets to leverage our industrial and technological footprint, to create strong Canadian brands that will succeed not only in Canada but also globally, and be part of global supply chains.

Procurement: Canadian businesses and industry has a partner in the entire Government of Canada. Focus our procurement policies to target Canadian companies to allow them to validate their work and their innovation, so they can succeed both here in Canada and globally.
Recognizing the growth potential of emerging sectors e.g.:
• Nano Tech
• AI (Artificial Intelligence)
• Clean Tech
• Help start-ups through government procurement; government validates their product/service by taking a risk, helps them succeed locally and globally

Social Innovation & Commercialization: Announcement at MaRS and GE where government made an investment to commercialize regenerative medicine to address Canada’s an aging population and associated health care challenges.
Digital Infrastructure: Embracing the premise that a clean environment and a strong economy go hand in hand. It means understanding that some of our most important infrastructure is now digital infrastructure in the context of a knowledge economy, and it means moving beyond individual interests to see the collective opportunity.

Scalability: We are really good at starting up companies. Our challenge, though, is how do we help companies scale up? How do we help them grow and take advantage of opportunities globally?
Team Effort: A primary mechanism that we have for supporting innovation and economic development and growth at the regional level is our development agencies. Previously each of these agencies was under the purview of a regional minister. Responsibility for all the agencies is now within the Minister of ISED’s portfolio; includes ACOA from Atlantic Canada, CEDQ from Quebec, WED from western Canada and CanNor from up north.

Re-Branding Canada as Innovation Leader: Hosting the Americas Competitiveness Exchange on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in fall 2016. ACE is a very important initiative because it will showcase Canadian innovation to an influential international audience.
Immigration: In every region and business the first priority compared to any other issue is immigration. They want and need people for technical skills, consumers of goods & services, people to run their companies, to help them scale up. They’re looking for C-Suite individuals. Government needs to make sure we have robust immigration policies that help with their innovation agenda.


Panellist Perspectives

SHELDON LEVY, Deputy Minister, Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities
He was appointed to his current position in 2015. Prior to this appointment, Sheldon served as President and Vice Chancellor of Ryerson University since 2005. Former positions include President, Sheridan College and Vice President Finance and Strategy, University of Ontario Institute of Technology.
The Minster said Innovation is a mindset. A different way of looking at it with similar result is what the Chancellor of Ryerson Morris Bloomburg said, “Anyone who looks at the status quo and feels empowered to improve upon it whether for economic or social good is an entrepreneur.”
Things critical to progress:
• Early education on thinking innovatively; start in Grade 3, 4 or 5; not waiting until University
• Empowering young people to see the world and make it better and create that mindset is critically important because if it was a useful thing to have 10 years ago, it’s going to be the life of our economy and our social fabric in the years to come
• 1st step: Young people to see the status quo and feel empower in their earliest years; be an Entrepreneur
• 2nd Step: Roger Martin said you have to not confuse invention with innovation: Invention is inquiry based research, is critically important and always should be supported vs. Innovation agenda recognizes market or need, or recognize products that come from pure research, or on-shelf products and adapting them to the marketplace
• Innovation is unlocked with entrepreneurship; don’t have innovation with out entrepreneurship so can’t equate innovation and invention
• Important for young university /college students to see their education as more than sitting in the classroom; while there it’s the greatest time to start a company and to surround them with the necessary elements for their success: mentors, seed funding
• Canada is second to none in ability to start young companies; ahead of most
• The challenge lies in the scaling up of these companies:
1. All of us have to be start-up friendly: governments and corporations willing to take on the risks of the products of young entrepreneurs so the global economy will follow suit;
governments and corporations must recognize that young entrepreneurs don’t have the insurance or track record to fill out 300 page RFPs; governments and corporations set a portion of their procurement (e.g. 5%) that is dedicated to young companies
2. A certain level under which the IP barrier is real. It is probably a company of 100-200 where you are going to be stopped on our tracks because someone is going to challenge your IP, do you have ownership of it; we have to become much more IP smart and much more in tune with the necessity of having IP as a commercial product under which we can go to battle for scaling up companies
3. Put in place a mechanism that provides the ease under which good companies can secure venture capital (VC) funds; too many companies spend two years securing A- funding levels and in the process abandoning their responsibility for R & D; but the time they achieve their funding they are surpassed by another company or the series A isn’t in Canada any more
• The silent one we don’t talk about is Intellectual Property; be really smart about getting to 400 with a deliberate Strategy on Intellectual Property

Dr. ILSE TREURNICHT, CEO of MaRS Discovery District, Toronto
Ilse joined MaRS in early 2005 from her role as President & CEO of Primaxis Technology Ventures, a start-up-stage venture capital fund focused on the advanced technologies sector. Prior to Primaxis, she was an entrepreneur with senior management roles in a number of emerging technology companies.
Culture of Innovation:
• Talk less, Act More: lift our collective heads, look at innovation pressures, develop systematic approach to make sure our companies can grow and scale
• We do so many things well and right, yet we continue to drift because everyone else is doing more and that is the reality we have to confront and design for
• Government leaders, like the Minister of Innovation, have an incredibly important role in setting the tone and ambitious national goals for our innovation community and that makes it easier for other players in academia, private and community sector to support
• See this really acutely in cities today which are the innovation hot spots of the global economy
• Cities like New York and London where the leaders take their global brands and claimed the innovation narrative and turned that story into a magnet for talent, capital, global multinationals and emerging companies look at those cities and get on the radar
• Do not under estimate the role of government leadership
• champion them, provide testimonials)
• We have to get the narrative on innovation beyond cool gadgets, apps, online retail or people in white coats
• Look at innovation that impacts every aspect of our lives and we all have a role to play in our day to day lives, whether we work in government, contribute on how we better educate our kids, how we take care of aging population , how we protect our planet
• Once we all own that story and imperative I think we will unleash the creative capacity of Canadians across the country, create a much bigger impact and the kind of inclusive growth we all believe is possible.

STEPHEN LAKE, Co-Founder and CEO, Thalmic Labs, Waterloo
Stephen started his first company at age 12. Later, he focused on hardware during his time at the University of Waterloo where he studied as a Loran Scholar, and on robotics at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETH Zurich). He and his co-founders were named EY Ontario’s Entrepreneur Of The Year in the Young Entrepreneur category in 2015.
Entrepreneur Innovation Lens:
• Started company 3 years ago after graduation
• Company went from 3 classmates to 100 employees now
• Publicly announced $15 M US in top tier venture capital investors
• In scale up stage today; first product on the market and much more in development today; double its size in 2017 to almost 200
• Taken advantage of many of the programs that have been put in place throughout our growth and seen a lot of those as beneficial
• Also seen the challenges and the areas of friction and the disconnect between intended government policy and the actual on the ground experience
• Thalmic Labs part of Velocity Program as University of Waterloo; an accelerator program that doesn’t take any equity, offered free to the University graduates; tremendously successful in introducing them to peers 1-3 steps ahead to share their experience to introduce them to how do you raise capital, hire employees, in order to build companies in Canada
• The early stage was great; go to a stage of scaling up to 40-50 employees, launching a product, moving from early seed stage to a real company that has potential to grow to hundreds and thousands of employees and be a real driver of growth
• At that stage doing all the right things on paper: filing lots of patents, hiring PhD grads, hiring the best talent from across the world and moving them to Canada
• When they went to move to the next stage of growth went to Government who are targeting innovative high growth start- up companies ran into Road Blocks: need four years of profitability or need to be a certain size to qualify for various programs
• 20-30 programs at different levels of provincial and federal government that are targeting the type of company we are but as a growth stage company we didn’t qualify for nearly any of these programs
• Systemic Road Blocks: governments are risk averse, careful with public money, entrepreneurs/start –ups make bets and gamble on new opportunities and solutions; not years of history & profitable to take advantage and grow
• How do we align the implementation of these programs and funding to the realities or the types of companies they are trying to target
• 3 Areas that are uncomfortable for government to target in order to move forward:
• 1. Industries of today are not industries of tomorrow; we have massive disruption across many industries; we are large resource and manufacturing economy today; confront realities that where large portions of our population are employed will not be the same in 5-10 years.
• How do we as government make that transition , shifting resources from where they are which is risky because that’s where we are currently generating revenue and growth but that is not going to be sustainable in the future
• how do we make the transition to a very different set of industries in the future
• 2. How does government Pick winners; traditionally governments try to spread investments to please many constituents and voters but that doesn’t mesh when trying to build an innovative economy which is largely cluster driven
• Pick winners for government investment – different for government who is trying to please wider audience
• However, Innovation is driven by clusters e.g. Silicon Valley vs. Ontario Regional Innovation Centres
• In US have very small areas of population that drive disproportionally large areas of innovation e.g. Silicon Valley
• In Ontario we have regional innovations centrespread to in Sudbury & Timmins – great places ultimately not where the next 10K person company that is going to drive the needle for Canada’s innovation growth
• How do we go from spreading it thin to make everyone happy to really placing bets? Saying these are the areas that we feel we can really win at, where can be # 1 or #2 in these areas and really doubling down and saying let’s make those wins instead of spreading the investment thinly across the country
• 3. Innovation comes down to People – not faceless entities. Think about how
• People = Innovation; long term talent development here; in the mean time how do we attract the most innovative people by throwing open the immigration doors attract the most innovative employees from around the globe
• Another way is through stock options that will realise full value when the company scales and moves out of “start up” phase but current tax structure for stocks is a hindrance; need to change how government taxes stock options and other early stage motivators
• Dr. Treurnicht suggested that governments and regulators made it too easy get on to TSX or other trading centres; companies saddled; no mobility of capital – scaling intervention


Recommendations for Improvement to Government, Educators and Business

Sheldon Levy, Deputy Minister, Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities:
• Disruptive World: Step function by taking risk and make the bet; never get there by waiting for the all answers; processes takes to long
• Open Innovation to younger generation more broadly; support SM (small and medium) entrepreneurs
• Government needs to set 5% of procurement RFPs focused on start –up; make them less onerous and obstructive to fulfilling application requirements
Dr. Ilse Treurnicht, CEO of MaRS Discovery District, Toronto
• Challenge to government: keep agenda from being politicized e.g. NRC; boutique programs that seem to fill a short term need in Canada but are misaligned with global trends
• Open Innovation to other sectors beyond IT e.g. health, clean technology
• Highly regulate markets to drive global market penetration
Stephen Lake, Co-Founder and CEO, Thalmic Labs, Waterloo
• Focus on areas that Canada can excel at e.g. GPS Network; base it on DARPA model (;; )
• Set extra ambitious and audacious goals, then specifically fund them
Minister Navdeep Bains’ closing remarks / Panel discussion take aways
• Host the Americas Competitiveness Exchange on Innovation and Entrepreneurship in the fall. ACE is a very important initiative because it will showcase Canadian innovation to an influential international audience and engage municipalities
• Observation: What does success look like?
• Define it: pick the right technologies or creative large global brands
• In terms of our approach to Innovation Policy need to follow the Wayne Gretzky principal of “Skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.”
• Support clean technology to address Climate Change
• Canadian government’s goal is to be a low carbon economy (by a certain date?? Not sure if he quantified it)
• We need to move the needle on metrics; first step was to re-instate the long form census
• Be ambitious, name change, branding is a high priority
• Culture of studies and reports; shred IRAP (
• ACTION instead – “work to do” (skip the PowerPoint presentations)
• Focus on Solutions – our Israeli counterparts focus on Innovation early in education life, non complacent attitudes, challenge the status quo
• Support start ups in scaling up through government procurement and develop them into global brands through “testimonials” from Canadian government and businesses using their services and buying their products
• Government needs to be more flexible, willing to take risks and participate in IPOs (Initial Public Offerings)
BNN interview, post event: start at 3 min


Suggestions from the Audience:

The audience provided written comments. We received 23 responses some with multiple suggestions including comments from:
Nabil Harfoush, Assoc Professor, Strategic Foresight & Innovation, OCAD University
Linda Franklin, Colleges Ontario
Jacqueline Schach, Delta Consulting Group working with Yves Landry Foundation
Dennis Meharchand, CEO, Valt.X Cyber Security
Yuri Navaro, CEO, Angels Fund Companies
Sam Boutziouuis, VP, Government Relations, SNC Lavalin
Hasnit Puia, Chief of Staff, Mayor, City of Brampton
Deepak Gupta, Director, Aries @ Centennial College
Jennifer Corriero, Executive Director, Taking it Global
Dr. McGragor, McGregor Leadership (Women in Canada’s Innovation Agenda)
Richard Jeysman, Director, Canadian Liver Foundation, Policy Chair, Markham–Stouffville
Gerald McMaster, Canada Research Chari, OCAD University
Norm Kelly, Councillor, City of Toronto
Jeffery Crelinsten, CEO The Impact group
Andrew Close, Sr. Manager, Systems Engineering, Cisco Systems
Zohar Khan, Manager Student Engagement and Business development, Ryerson University
Eric Blaise, Centennial College
Nella Brodett, Stakeholder Engagement Advisor, Deputy Ministers Office, Ministry of TCU

• Brand Canada as a place for entrepreneurs; best, smartest people in the world
• Drive innovation around Clean Economy; move the narrative and action beyond gadgets
Human Resources
• Allow foreign students to have 5 year visas
• Bring immigrants to areas of Canada in need of population growth e.g. Atlantic Canada
• Need to start focussing on measuring Innovation performance through out put measures such as revenue, profit, customers, global market share and impact instead of input measures like research and patents
• IP x: IP = individual process, independent platforms, invest personally, independent policies = Improved performance, innovative practices
x = changes in immigration and entrepreneurial innovation
Investment, Finance, Regulation, Taxes
• We need to focus not only on what is need in Innovation but also how. The role of private “Angel” investors needs to become part of any plan or strategy to be viable (include info graphic “The Innovation Funding Continuum” from National Angel capital Organization)
• Business and Governments invest 5% of budget to support entrepreneurs
• IPOs – need strategy $200-$300 Million
• Motivate ‘comfortable’ older generation to invest in new technology
• Tax Changes e.g. similar to flow through shares in mining
• Support entrepreneurs in scale up vs. them spending valuable time on fundraising
• Liberal platform said new government would consider tax reforms
• Canadian government should consider regulatory changes to foster Innovation through new business structures e.g. US has LCCs (Limited Liability Companies) that are very appealing to start ups
• Problem: Provincial Finance Ministers stymie investment in small businesses with roadblock security rules which need to be struck down to allow Canadians to invest in ANY Canadian company
• Increase direct spending in business related R & D as Canada is out of synch with respect to higher than normal indirect spending on BERD and less direct spending (both proportionally and absolutely)
• Provide incentives to innovative graduates to commercialize in Canada
• Applaud the approach to understanding the problems holding back innovation from moving through growth stages of development to commercialization. The response to throwing more money at incubators/accelerators has been poor; there are too many accelerators so quality ranges from poor to average. Can you outline how you will define the problem and will you look at other models and best practise e.g. Massachusetts Life Sciences Initiative

• Empower youth to overlap and become involved in policy/procedures around Innovation; make them aware and expose them to government processes at younger age; offer options to be involved to provide their input and perspective
• Implement exponential changes in Innovation within curriculums K-12 and post secondary education
• Include the valuable work of colleges in helping small and mid-sized companies address immediate applied research needs; a relatively new resource that can be encouraged and tapped so that SMEs can address challenges to growth and innovation e.g. Sheridan Engineering College assisting SMEs in 3D prototyping and process/assembly line logistics
• Canadians are a naturally risk averse people; innovation/entrepreneurship is a high risk/high reward game. Need to train Canadian industries – both in private and public sectors – to take risks and bet on young innovative options. Governments role should be providing young talent with additional incentive to work for start ups to avoid losing them to larger companies and/or non-Canadian businesses.
• Foster a culture of social innovation starting in classrooms with youth. Beyond this we need to provide fully accessible (economic and physical) drop in centres/spaces for creative collaboration e.g. redesign libraries, community centres, schools
• Majority of people don’t understand what innovation is or how to innovate. Need to educate people, not only through our educational institutions but also through corporations.

Women In Canada Innovation Agenda
• The World Economic Forum: Global Gender gap report ranks Canada 30th in how well we leverage female talent
• McKinsey Global Institute Report ‘The Power of Party’ projects that in a ‘full potential’ scenario where women play an identical role to me in the labour market could add $28 Trillion to annual global GDP by 2025
• Will Canada’s Innovation action Plan address the missing numbers of girls and women in Innovation?
o Close the STEM gap (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics)
o Support young women’s empowerment centres and summer camps like SHAD and the Jean Augustine Centre for Young Women’s Empowerment
o Will government collect gender disaggregated date e.g. in procurement contracts such that women entrepreneurs as equally supported
o E.g. Address the recommendations of the Prime Minister’s Task Force on Women SMEs
o E.g. promote Women’s trade missions

• Multi-disciplinary collaboration is a strong enabler of Innovation. Need to reconfigure government funding structure and programs to address multi disciplinary collaborations and proposals in Innovation; current model is configured in vertical silos e.g. SSHRC, NSERC that hinders multi disciplinary proposals
• Increase scientific exchanges major trading partners; further unmuzzle scientist to include the global commons
• Develop innovation clusters
• Innovation is the meeting of cultures, which is the driving force of new ideas. While multiculturalism was innovative at the time, it kept us separate, now mixing and meeting is our future.
• Industry 4.0: Collaboration is a key level of success in an Industry 4.0 framework. Government, academia and industry working together to evolve toward Industry 4.0 with the talent and infrastructure requirements to ensure competitiveness on the global stage; must be a key element in governments Innovation Agenda. Leaders across the country must model this to advance the innovation agenda
• For the first time in history most people live in cities so international competition will more between urban centres, less between countries – need municipal voices in this discussion
• Provide a unified market – at 33 M (now 36M) people we are the size of California
• Link northern and remote Indigenous communities together by providing bandwidth (digital democracy-internet for all)

Transportation, Infrastructure, Resources
• Create a globally connected airport – Toronto Pearson as a mega hub (similar to Amsterdam Airport Schiphol)
• Infrastructure spending focused on Clean and High technologies
• Renewable energy using forest waste, transformed into liquid hydrocarbons and displacing petroleum derived fuels (gasoline, diesel aviation); Join Colthart (?) Enersys Net
Sandra Pupatello: video points:
Government policy perspective:
What regulation (is necessary, appropriate)?
What incentive (does government need to provide)?
What kind of tax policy?
What works to move the needle on an innovate economy?
It’s timely, it’s exciting, and it’s a good way to be involved in the prosperity for the nation?

Media coverage:

Focus efforts to build innovation, science minister urged

Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains told governments should be prepared to “double down” on innovation, instead of trying to please many.

By: Vanessa Lu Business reporter, Published on Mon Mar 14 2016

Stephen Lake, who launched a startup in Waterloo a week out of university with two friends in 2012, says governments must take more risks if they want to foster innovation in Canada.

Lake, who started Thalmic Labs, a wearable technology company, which now has almost 100 employees, told Navdeep Bains, the federal minister responsible for innovation, science and economic development, governments should be more flexible, and be ready to pick winners.

“Traditionally, governments want to make a lot of parties happy, and please many constituents,” added Lake, who was speaking during a panel session organized by the Pearson Centre, a think tank, at the Toronto Region Board of Trade.

“But it doesn’t necessarily work if you want to build an innovative economy, which is largely cluster driven,” he said, noting that in the United States, when people think of technology companies, thoughts naturally turn “to Silicon Valley, not Nebraska.

“Yet in Ontario, we have regional innovation centres in Timmins and Sudbury – great places, but ultimately, probably not where the next 10,000-person company is going to come from,” Lake said, adding that technology companies are mostly likely to be centred in Toronto or Waterloo.

“(It means) doubling down and saying, let’s make those bets,” instead of spreading things out across the country,” he said.

Lake spoke of experiences when his company was at a certain size, with a product launching, but was ineligible for many government programs. This was because it didn’t have a track record or years of profitability.

Sheldon Levy, deputy minister at Ontario Ministry of Training, Colleges and Universities, also spoke of risk-taking on the part of others, not just entrepreneurs.

“All of us have to be startup friendly,” said Levy, who was president of Ryerson University. “This is not only government, but corporations.

“They have to look at young entrepreneurs and recognize that they are not able to have the insurance, the track record or fill out RFPs (requests for proposals) of 300 pages,” he said.

But if governments or companies would set aside five per cent of procurement spending on new companies, it would be a great start, he said.

Ilse Treurnicht, CEO of MaRS Discovery District, argued that “we need to talk less, and act more,” arguing there’s been much handwringing about Canada’s middling performance on innovation.

“I think innovation is a very frustrating topic. We do so many things well, we do so many things right, and yet we continue to drift,” Treurnicht said.

“The reality is we are drifting because everybody else is doing more,” she added. “That is the reality we have to confront and design for.”

She added government leaders like Bains have an important role to play in setting the tone, and setting ambitious national goals on innovation.

Bains replied that the federal government is committed to make innovation a high priority, by setting big goals.

“It’s also about scale,” he said. “We do very well at starting up companies, but we want strong Canadian, strong global brands. We need to find a way to scale up,” such as through government procurement.

“Companies need to take risks, otherwise these ideas won’t be validated,” Bains said, adding startups will have hard time selling their products around the world, if Canadian companies and governments aren’t using them.


You are invited to
the launch of the Pearson Centre’s #Econ4Tmro Series with
“Innovation and the #Econ4Tmro”
with the

Hon. Navdeep Bains
Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

Monday, March 14, 2016; 12 noon to 2:00 pm

Co-hosted by the Pearson Centre and the Toronto Region Board of Trade
Venue: Board of Trade, First Canadian Place, 77 Adelaide StreetW, Toronto

Chair: Sandra Pupatello, Co-Chair #Econ4Tmro, Pearson Centre
Strategic Advisor, PwC Canada; Former Ontario Minister of Industry and Trade

The minister’s keynote will be followed by a panel discussion which will include Dr. Ilse Treurnicht, CEO, MaRS Discovery District; and Sheldon Levy, Deputy Minister, Training, Colleges and Universities


The Hon. Navdeep Bains has been on the Advisory Board of the Pearson Centre since its founding in early 2013. Having been elected to Parliament and appointed as the Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development this fall, he has stepped down from the Advisory Board. We want to thank him for his thoughtful and strategic advice to our Centre, specially in its founding years. Over the last four years Mr. Bains was able to provide guidance to our Centre and others, bringing to force his wide experience in politics, business and academia. We wish him well in this important new role.

The Honourable Navdeep Bains

Constituency: Mississauga–Malton (Ontario)

The Honourable Navdeep Bains is the Member of Parliament for Mississauga–Malton and was appointed Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development on November 4, 2015. He has extensive parliamentary experience, having represented Mississauga–Malton from 2004 to 2011. He served as Privy Councillor and Parliamentary Secretary to Prime Minister Paul Martin and then as Critic for Public Works and Government Services, the Treasury Board, International Trade, Natural Resources, and Small Business and Tourism.

Minister Bains was an adjunct lecturer at the Master of Public Service program at the University of Waterloo and a distinguished visiting professor at the Ted Rogers School of Management at Ryerson University. His private sector experience includes several years at the Ford Motor Company of Canada.

In addition to ties within the academic and business communities, he has held Director positions with social and cultural organizations within the non-profit sector. He is the recipient of a number of awards recognizing his work in promoting diversity in communities.

Minister Bains has a Bachelor of Administrative Studies from York University and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Windsor. He also holds a Certified Management Accountant designation.

He is a long-time resident of Mississauga, where he lives now with his wife and two children.

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