Innovation is for all, not just some. Support grassroots innovation.

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 07/25/2016

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Canada needs to support grassroots innovation. Innovation that occurs spontaneously outside the domain of academic institutions but instead occurs in the basements, bedrooms and garages all across this country. 

There exists funding place for Campus Linked Accelerators (CLAs) such as UWaterloo Velocity Garage, Ryerson DMZ as examples. This is all well and good but what about the 30 or 40 something year old folks that have ideas and want to innovate? Where do they go? Why can't they get the same support via an environment where they can develop ideas and be innovate. 

Makerspaces and collaborative spaces are part of the answer to this problem enabling anyone with an idea to develop that idea in a low cost manner using the latest in digital fabrication equipment and tools to do so...and to have a community to access as well. These spaces are starting to take root in communities across Canada, but what they need more of is funding and support from the government. We all can be innovative and creative beings, we just need the environment to do so.

The next big idea is in the head of a 15 year old...or a 55 year old. What they need is a place to develop it. Government of Canada, step up and support makerspaces, collaborative space, innovation hubs or whatever they may be called. Canada doesn't lack for innovation, what we lack are accessible places for ANYONE to be innovative. 

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Usha Nair by Usha Nair
08/23/2016

Wonderful note above by Derrol Salmon. Yes, Makerspaces need greater support. In my opinion, this is where truly disruptive innovation will come from in a few decades time, and not from the traditional university setting. This is also important because Canada's immigration policy lets in lots of highly skilled immigrants, but these immigrants have a tough time finding jobs that match their skill sets or raising capital to start a business. I am a case in point; I also know scores of other immigrants with PhDs--Koreans, Chinese, Philipinos, Indians, French, you name it--who couldn't find suitable jobs in academia or industry. 

Apart from Makerspaces, the government could support initiatives that allow for research outsourcing to established labs. An example of this is  NRC's Biologics and Biomanufacturing Program. Programs such as this need to be expanded to other areas.

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Lesley Weller by Lesley Weller
10/06/2016

I totally agree with Derrol Salmon. I am in this very situation. I have invented many products and ideas to do with the agricultural and scientific sector...I get only so far and am told the ideas are incredible, but I do not know where to go from there since the finances are limited. How do you proceed without a sponsor and how do you get a sponsor....

Lesley Weller

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