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Innovation with Robotics

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 08/17/2016 1471465700
FIRST Robotics Canada (a non-profit organization) is also currently working diligently and tirelessly to support and prepare the next generation to be .... Read more

FIRST Robotics Canada (a non-profit organization) is also currently working diligently and tirelessly to support and prepare the next generation to be innovators and thought-leaders of the future. Through FIRST programs and initiatives, students are becoming more skilled and prepared to face the challenges of the future. With a stronger connection and increased support, FIRST could play an even greater role in preparing the next generation to make Canada great.

“Canada needs a bold, coordinated strategy on innovation that delivers results for all Canadians. We need to move forward with fresh ideas and a joint action plan that will make innovation a national priority and put Canada on a firm path to long-term economic growth.” –The Honourable Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development

We at FIRST whole-heartedly agree with Minister Bains approach to innovation. We currently see a talent pool of kids and students who, if given the opportunity and know-how, will inherently approach problem solving with an innovative approach. Currently, youth are not widely given that opportunity which results in a lack of a prepared and innovative leaders and workforce.

This is where FIRST Robotics Canada programs make a difference. FIRST programs teach kids and youth the necessary skills and strategy that inspire fresh ideas, innovation, and creative problem solving. If more students are exposed to, and participate in, FIRST programs, they will cultivate the skills and habits for the future that lead to unlimited potential and opportunities. These are the leaders who will help put Canada on the firm path to economic growth and sustainability.

With increased support for FIRST programs, the benefits include:

  • More student participation in FIRST programs, resulting in more students prepared for a future where creative problem solving is critical
  • Cultivating a future workforce of leaders who believe in teamwork, encourage diversity, and inspire creativity 
  • Developing and teaching students the skills and know-how to embrace challenges with an innovative mindset
  • Showcasing and proving that we’re surrounded by talent who will have the competencies to compete in a digital world, lead global partnerships and change, encourage entrepreneurship, and accelerate growth in Canadian business
  • Increased collaboration between organizations and corporations involved in FIRST and kids and youth across Canada

This kind of program truly makes a difference in cultivating the leaders and innovators of the future.

Credit: FIRST Robotics Canada

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Fab Labs Nation

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 07/11/2016 1468243720
Le français suit. The “Fab Labs Nation” project proposes a concerted strategy to equip Canada with a digital manufacturing interstructur .... Read more

Le français suit.

The “Fab Labs Nation” project proposes a concerted strategy to equip Canada with a digital manufacturing interstructure that makes it possible to promote, entrepreneurship and the creation of jobs of the future as well as innovation in communities and businesses.

A Fab Lab is a collaborative innovation laboratory equipped with digital production machine tools (3D printers, laser cutters, digital milling machines, etc.) and an innovation accelerator where students, engineers, inventors, creators and all those who have a project gather to go from the idea to the object. The Fab Lab offers its users the means necessary for professional digital design to conduct collaborative innovation projects, access to quick prototyping.

A true international community gravitates around the Fab Labs, by implementing laboratories in hundreds of cities and villages. The potential which emanates from them for economic and social development steadily increases and is explored in numerous sectors: health, creativity, education, entrepreneurship, etc. The Fab Labs are part of an open innovation movement and are the tangible tools of a Smart City.

 

L'initiative « Fab Labs Nation » propose une stratégie concertée pour doter le Canada d’une interstructure de fabrication numérique permettant de favoriser l'entrepreneuriat et la création d'emplois d'avenir, l'innovation dans les communautés et les entreprises.

Un Fab Lab est un laboratoire d’innovation collaborative équipé de machines-outils de fabrication numérique (imprimante 3D, découpe laser, fraiseuse numérique, etc.) et un accélérateur d'innovation où les étudiants, les ingénieurs, les inventeurs, les créateurs et tous ceux qui ont un projet entrepreneurial se réunissent pour passer de l’idée à l’objet. Le Fab Lab offre à ses usagers les moyens de conception numérique professionnel nécessaires pour mener des projets d’innovation collaboratifs, l'accès au prototypage rapide.

Une véritable communauté internationale gravite autour des Fab Labs, par l'implantation de laboratoires dans des centaines de villes et villages. Le potentiel qui en découle pour le développement économique et social croit sans cesse et est exploré dans de multiples secteurs : santé, créativité, éducation, entrepreneurship, etc.. Les Fab Labs font partie du mouvement d'innovation ouverte (open innovation) et sont les outils concrets d'une Ville intelligente (Smart City).

 Source : http://www.communautique.quebec/portfolio-items/fablabs-nation/?portfolioID=33

 

 

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Bubble-up Fermentation, Not Cream-Skimming

Question:What more can be done to cement Canada's place as a leader in social entrepreneurship?
on 06/23/2016 1466706094
Too often supporting entrepreneurs is done through an incubation process that involves a committee that selects 'promising' projects from a field of c .... Read more

Too often supporting entrepreneurs is done through an incubation process that involves a committee that selects 'promising' projects from a field of contenders. The statistics on such incubation approaches is clear - the results are poor, with very few succeeding beyond the support period, and fewer still still functioning after two years. 

This 'cream-skimming' approach is inferior to a bubble-up approach. This would entail a low-bar of acceptance into a 'co-working + resources' environment, where all have access to support, coaching and basic infrastructure. From this environment, the 'experts' can be as out of the way or as helping as needed. Strong entities will survive on their own merits, rather than weak entities with good schmooze-skills being propped up in a traditional incubator.

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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 1469478149
Tags: innovation 
Canada needs to support grassroots innovation. Innovation that occurs spontaneously outside the domain of academic institutions but instead occurs in .... Read more

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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Make work-integrated learning opportunities the cornerstone of the Innovation Agenda

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 08/09/2016 1470776531
People innovate. Whether it takes the form of a new product, new process, or new markets, the introduction of innovation is done by visionary individu .... Read more

People innovate. Whether it takes the form of a new product, new process, or new markets, the introduction of innovation is done by visionary individuals who see how to do things differently. A successful innovation strategy must therefore start by fostering the talent, skills and opportunities required for potential innovators to thrive.

The need for innovators intensifies as the economy continues to move towards an innovation-focused, high-value service base. Already, Canada’s service economy employs about three quarters of Canadians and accounts for 70.8% of GDP — a 5% increase since 2000. Financial services, environmental services, water-management services, and IT services are all areas where Canada is a world-leader, thanks in part to the innovators who have built world-class firms in these growing sectors.

The trend towards an economy built on innovative services is intensifying as the knowledge economy evolves. We are entering what has been called the “Fourth Industrial Revolution,” where disruptive technology such as artificial intelligence, robotics and nanotechnology are quickly transforming the ways we live and work. As a result, the skills Canadians need for career success are also changing, and employers increasingly demand workers with a wide range of skills and functional knowledge.

An effective innovation strategy will respond to these trends by supporting the effective education and training of future innovators. To do so, Canada needs to increase the number of work-integrated learning opportunities for students in order to grow talent and skills, and to prepare the next generation for a rapidly changing economy. In order to “futureproof” a workforce, the World Economic Forum reports that “government and businesses will need to profoundly change their approach to education, skills and employment,” and they recommend enhanced collaboration between businesses, governments and education providers in developing 21st century curriculums.

There are some caveats: students should be paid; the learning opportunities should be relevant; and the experiences should be meaningful. The idea is that the opportunities are collaborative, and mutually beneficial. By connecting young minds with dynamic Canadian businesses, we can grow Canadian talent for innovation, strengthen the employability of post-secondary graduates, and provide businesses with the specialized knowledge, skilled talent and fresh perspectives they will need to adapt and innovate.

If Canada is serious about becoming an innovation leader, we need to make work-integrated learning opportunities the cornerstone of the Innovation Agenda.

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The Maker's Economy

Question:What more can be done to cement Canada's place as a leader in social entrepreneurship?
on 08/21/2016 1471816959
Tags: Business  innovation  arts 
The Maker's economy is to my mind a sort of micro business economy. Rather than being defined by a job, a maker is someone who perhaps works a job, bu .... Read more

The Maker's economy is to my mind a sort of micro business economy. Rather than being defined by a job, a maker is someone who perhaps works a job, but also pursues a creative passion that they're bringing to market.

But a maker of what? Technology is moving so fast that you can invent a craft for yourself.

An illustrator making show posters for local bands, and also making their own greeting cards for sale in cafes and bookshops in their community would know this. It's a short staircase from that to self publishing graphic novels, children's books, and board-games; each a passion project, but also a product. With a bit of guidance, these products can form the basis for a business.

This economy is already happening in bedrooms and home offices, but could entice more to join it if there was a place that facilitated some of this learning. As it is now, those that are part of this economy are self taught, self-motivated creators with a working understanding of social media and where things are going next. That's a smaller segment of society, but they're also a built in trainer base - going around tutorializing their work for the internet at large. So much of their audience are encouraged to try now after seeing it demonstrated online, but don't necessarily have the equipment to try.

What's needed to facilitate this is a dynamic laboratory space that's open for use to the public of all ages. A place where someone can walk in and say "I've heard about this thing where you get to do X, but I have no idea where to begin." A workshop space, where a video journalist can give a few pointers to aspiring vloggers, or a social media expert can discuss the new species of marketing that continue to evolve month by month. A place where hardware resides that you can use to bridge the gaps between your ideas and the market.

Credit: PCNA, Pacific Community Networks Association

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Innovation and talent acquisition can solve our growth dilemma

Question:How can Canada become the best country in attracting and developing talent?
on 08/26/2016 1472222781
“Canada needs a robust national access-to-talent strategy. We should increase immigration. By 2025, 30 per cent of our population will be 60 and .... Read more

“Canada needs a robust national access-to-talent strategy. We should increase immigration. By 2025, 30 per cent of our population will be 60 and older - to mitigate this imbalance, Canada would need to increase immigration for each of the next five years to one million people. If we focus this intake on skilled newcomers between the ages of 20 and 39, it would shift our overall proportion of that band from 25 per cent to 32 per cent of the population.

Without such a strategy, Canada may face stark choices: tax increases, greater national debt or scaled-back social programs.”

 

“We must move from a passive intake system to one where we actively recruit more people who can succeed and help increase our capacity for innovation and productivity. This includes new science grads, skilled tradespeople and investors with capital.

 

“We could look at opportunities to fast-track visas for foreign workers, particularly for highly skilled jobs in the innovation sector.”

 

“We could fast-track foreign students educated in Canada for permanent residency, and target students at leading foreign educational institutions. For some industries, it may also be appropriate to look at reinstituting the temporary foreign worker visa.”

 

“We can also look at doing more within the North American freetrade agreement framework.”

 

John Ruffolo, Innovation and talent acquisition can solve our growth dilemma. Globe and Mail. August 18 2016

Credit: John Ruffolo, CEO, OMERS Ventures and vice-chair of the Council of Canadian Innovators

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National youth STEM, innovation, and entrepreneurship celebration event

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 06/30/2016 1467314950
Canadian high school students regularly achieve world-class results in international STEM competitions. In 2015 – and again in 2016 – youn .... Read more

Canadian high school students regularly achieve world-class results in international STEM competitions. In 2015 – and again in 2016 – young Canadians won the top award (and the US$75,000 cash prize) at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF), topping 1,700 students from 75 countries. Canadians have won the Sanofi International Biogenius Challenge, FIRST Robotics Competition World Championships, and numerous STEM Olympiad competitions from astronomy to mathematics. Canadians have been top 15 finalists (from over 10,000 global entries) in the Google Science Fair almost every year since it began in 2011 – and won top awards in 2013 and 2014.

Most Canadians – and particularly our youth – are completely unaware. It’s as if our world junior hockey team won and no-one noticed. That doesn’t happen because Canada has a vibrant hockey culture. Thanks to Vancouver 2010 and Own the Podium, we’re developing an Olympic culture. But we need a STEM, innovation, and entrepreneurship culture.

As in sports, a STEM culture needs heroes – rising stars that young Canadians recognize and emulate. When 16-year-old Victoria BC inventor Ann Makosinski appeared on the Jimmy Fallon Show with her hand-heat-powered flashlight – and again a year later with a cell phone charging travel mug – kids noticed. Peltier tile-powered devices – many built by girls – appeared at science fairs across Canada. Building a science and innovation culture is no different to building a hockey or Olympic culture; celebrating excellence and achievement on the national stage and in the media is an essential component.

In 2010, U.S. President Obama initiated what became an annual tradition – the White House Science Fair. Over the past six years, this event has celebrated the winners of a broad range of youth STEM and entrepreneurship competitions at what the President has called, “the most fun day of the year.”

I propose creating an annual event, hosted on Parliament Hill, to recognize Canadian winners of national and international youth STEM, innovation, and entrepreneurship competitions and other young Canadian achievers. They would be invited to share their work with the Prime Minister / Minister of Youth, Minister of Science, Key Opinion Leaders, STEM-related government officials, and most importantly, the media.

Most kids aren’t going to become professional or Olympic athletes, but wanting to inspires and motivates. Let’s celebrate Canada’s youth STEM, innovation, and entrepreneurship heroes and role models.

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Prediction innovation:Accuracy and possibilities

Question:How can Canada become the best country in attracting and developing talent?
on 07/01/2016 1467332184
A designed study need to be done to better predict what the future will bring us of new innovations and technologies.let us consider the current time .... Read more

A designed study need to be done to better predict what the future will bring us of new innovations and technologies.let us consider the current time a Zero start point.letu go back 5p years back and see the stand of technologies science and innovations.let us predict from the Zero start point moving forward 50 years and see what likely to be.let us analyze both datas by finding a group of creterias that are predictable.We will be more equipped to predict with more certainty and less errors.

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National youth STEM and innovation development system - like hockey

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 07/02/2016 1467490212
Studies over the past 15 years have shown that about two-thirds of Canadian kids ages 12-18 think STEM is important, interesting, and fun. Canadian st .... Read more

Studies over the past 15 years have shown that about two-thirds of Canadian kids ages 12-18 think STEM is important, interesting, and fun. Canadian students rank in the top 10 of 65 OECD countries on international tests of science achievement. Our kids like, and are good at STEM.

Yet, despite this potential, only about 30% of Canadian high school students take STEM courses after grade 10, limiting their access to opportunities in STEM-related fields. No surprise that in 2014 the Canadian Council of Academies (CCA) reported that Canada’s total employment in STEM occupations was just 30% – 22nd out of 37 countries. Do our kids just lose interest in high school? Perhaps, but then how do we explain that 93% of Canadian adults are very or moderately interested in new scientific discoveries and technological developments (1st out of 33 countries), or that 32% visited a science centre/museum in the previous year (2nd out of 39 countries) – according to the same CCA report.

We’re good at getting Canadian kids interested in STEM. Over 100 organizations and institutions, from local to national, offer school presentations, workshops, camps, experiences, challenges, and competitions. They reach a huge number of students, but the percentage of high school students taking STEM courses has remained stubbornly around 30% for years. Canada has no lack of STEM promotion programs – we lack a national strategy and coordination.

PromoScience, through NSERC, provides federal funding for many of these programs – $4.8M over 3 years to 43 organizations in 2015. Grants are awarded through a peer-review process; however, there’s no analysis for redundancy, imbalances, and gaps – or even a program inventory to analyze. As a result, there’s no strategy underlying this funding, or benchmarks to measure progress; the best-written proposals get funded.

Canada produces great hockey players – and now Olympic athletes – because we have a development system. It starts by getting lots of young kids participating for fun. From there, those with ability and passion (and/or ‘enthusiastic’ parents) progress through a series of levels that build skills and identify top prospects. Canada has lots of Timbits-type STEM programs, but no system to guide those kids or parents when they ask, “What’s next?”

I propose that Canada build on its excellent STEM promotion capacity to establish a national youth STEM and innovation development system, similar to those for sports, to cultivate not only interest and excitement, but engagement, skills, and excellence. A national youth STEM and innovation advisory panel – leaders from the national youth STEM and innovation organizations; representatives of regional, provincial, and local organizations; and young Canadians – should be appointed to guide the process. They would start by building a national inventory of programs and then analyze to identify systemic strengths and weaknesses, recommend targets, and evaluate progress.

If we’re serious about developing youth with skills for the future economy, let’s get Canada’s youth STEM promotion organizations working together, rather than competing with each other for funding and profile. It works for hockey.

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National Youth Science and Innovation Network

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 07/27/2016 1469642783
Stimulating interest in and supporting a national network for youth to explore hands-on, project-based science. Canada's response to the technologica .... Read more

Stimulating interest in and supporting a national network for youth to explore hands-on, project-based science.

Canada's response to the technological and space race in the 1960s was the development of local, regional and national opportunities to foster and showcase the innovativeness of youth in science - science fairs. Over five decades, this network - primarily driven by volunteers and teachers - has helped develop some of Canada's (and the world's) leaders in business, research, science and social impact. From Roberta Bondar to Michael Serbinis to Marc Kielburger to Raymond Wang, science fairs have helped shape the impact Canada has on the world.

Investing in a proven program that encourages youth from curiosity through to discovery will ensure Canada's success in innovation, skills development and will creates the nation's future economic leaders.

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Instead of funding startups, educate a startup work force

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 09/02/2016 1472844309
Canada's comparative advantage should rest in our education system, where we can educate the next generation of innovators. While other countries adap .... Read more

Canada's comparative advantage should rest in our education system, where we can educate the next generation of innovators. While other countries adapt to the changing landscape, our educators have remained complacent, looking to government to lead the way on innovation.”

 

“With more than two million students enrolled in Canadian postsecondary institutions every year, our university and college campuses have a far greater opportunity to spur innovation than any government program.”

 

“To compete, our graduates need skills formed in the latest technology programs, which means that universities and colleges need to update their course material and delivery.”

“ We should also subsidize the cost of postsecondary programs that are in highest demand by technology companies. We talk about the need for more engineers and more technical talent, while the price of these degrees is among the most expensive on our campuses. This logic would be dismissed by any student in first-year microeconomics.”

Jeffrey Doucet, Co-founder and chief executive officer of CareerJSM

 Instead of funding startups, educate a startup work force, Globe and Mail. September 2, 2016.

Credit: Jeffrey Doucet, Globe and Mail

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Healthy business climate, great projects, innovative culture, prioritized immigration streams for highly skilled talent

Question:How can Canada become the best country in attracting and developing talent?
on 09/19/2016 1474320059
Great talent is typically attracted to great work. To attract the best and brightest talent in the world, the Government needs to attract the best inn .... Read more

Great talent is typically attracted to great work. To attract the best and brightest talent in the world, the Government needs to attract the best innovation projects and most innovative companies to anchor their operations in Canada. Ensuring our corporate tax rate remains competitive while also offering financial credits and incentives that support innovation and a strong talent pool are essential to attracting foreign companies to Canada. Moreover, attracting anchor companies in provinces that can supply talent and meet their demands will be key to long-term success. These companies need not be global headquarters to achieve this goal, as we have seen with companies like Ubisoft and EA, who respectively employ approximately half of the FTEs in the Canadian videogame industry.

To lead in innovation, we encourage the government to invest in creating and propelling forward a framework that can be applied to all policies, funding incentives, laws, and programs with the primary goal of developing the best, Canadian talent pool. This includes both 1) an immediate resolution to bring in highly skilled talent from around the world into Canada to transfer and share knowledge and skills; and 2) a longer term strategy to address digital skills gaps.

To start, current policies and legislative frameworks should be evaluated for their effectiveness and ability to meet the goal of developing the best talent pool in the short and long term. To the extent that relevant policies, practices and laws do not work to achieve this goal then they must be revised to meet current needs and ensure Canada remains competitive globally.

 

  i. Attracting High-Skilled Talent

With almost 1,400 job vacancies expected in the next 2 years, Canada’s video game industry is facing challenges recruiting foreign workers.

While technical and creative educational programs across the country produce well-trained workers for entry level positions (98% of junior roles in the industry are filled by Canadians), there is a shortage of available talent at the intermediate, senior and expert levels in various disciplines. Programmers, data analysts, game designers, artists and art directors are in highest demand. The capacity to hire, support and train junior employees depends on a solid and experienced core team. Foreign workers can help continuously “upskill” current Canadian talent through mentoring and by importing best practices in innovation. The inability to efficiently hire experienced talent is a critical barrier to growth for Canadian studios.

There is no question that the industry prefers to hire domestically, but the dearth of available labour, combined with the unique nature of an industry that is continually innovating and continually improving on games to be exported around the globe, requires the industry to have access to the best and brightest workers from around the world. Competition for this talent is fierce, both within the video game industry and within the technology sectors more broadly.

Consequently, the ability to quickly bring in temporary foreign workers (TFWs) is extremely important to the video game industry. However, changes by Employment and Social Development Canada (ESDC) have erected barriers that are causing significant staffing problems. Specifically, in 2011 HRSDC eliminated the federal IT Worker Program, which permitted companies to bypass obtaining a Labour Market Impact Assessment (LMIA for seven specified categories of IT workers.

The TFW program is ill-equipped for our industry’s needs. Although changes were made, it continues to make insufficient differentiation between low-wage, low-skill streams and high-wage, high-skill streams. Program officers’ inconsistent application of the regulations and their inability to understand the particularities of the new jobs created for a new economy makes it cumbersome to administer and frustrating for companies looking to quickly advance projects. The requirement for a Transition Plan is ill-suited to companies selectively hiring top global innovators, and negates the government’s own critical role in developing the skills needed for the economy of the future. A “trusted employer” approach or a return to sectoral exemptions as existed under the IT Workers Program could greatly help a growing video game industry in Canada. Sectors such as the video game industry, which are specialized and require specific skills that are in demand globally, should not be required to obtain LMIA’s as there is a shortage of professionals in this area in Canada. Hiring high-tech workers with specialized skills is not displacing Canadians. In fact, it is adding to Canada’s talent pool and innovative brain-trust.

Short of this solution, the program could be fixed if a number of changes were made:

  1. NOC Codes do not accurately represent our industry or jobs

 ESDC makes determinations about labour shortages based on outdated national occupation codes (NOC). The department should work with the industry to remove the requirement for NOC Codes and/or create the ability for new NOC Codes to be introduced annually to meet new and evolving roles and jobs of the future. In 2013, video game companies were consulted on the 10 different positions and job definitions with the hope that eventually new NOC Codes would be created for them. This information is already with ESDC and has been for two years now; however, the NOC codes have never been updated, which has had a negative impact on our companies in Canada.

 2. Inconsistency in Service Canada Processing

 

Across the country, Service Canada officers process TFW applications using different interpretations of the regulations. An application in Vancouver might be approved quickly, while the exact same type of application in Toronto could be held up and/or declined for one of many reasons as determined by individual officers. If Service Canada is to be empowered to make determinations on eligibility, officers should have a thorough understanding of our industry and the particularities of technical job titles and descriptions which are continually evolving and changing based on the evolution of technology. ESAC has already offered to work with ESDC and Service Canada to hold information sessions about our industry in order to educate staff on the particularities of hiring in our industry. This would help Service Canada officers to streamline and standardize the service standards for our industry’s TFW applications.

 3. Processing Times for LMIA Applications

 

Processing times at Service Canada offices have not noticeably improved, even with the total elimination of the low-skill stream and with a hefty application fee. There are no service standards and companies have no confidence in making a hire and expecting the LMIA to be approved in a certain time-frame. The government of Canada could introduce service standards that accompany the application fee so that companies can plan and make decisions based on a reasonable expected time-frame for processing applications.

Ideally, growth sectors paying above average wages like the video game industry should be allowed to hire TFWs without Labour Market Impact Assessments (LMIAs), similar to the former Facilitated Processing for IT Workers Program that was discontinued in 2011.

  1. Transition Plans

With the introduction of the Transition Plans, applicants must now include a detailed plan on how the company will transition from hiring foreign workers to Canadians with every single LMIA application. This requirement is ill-suited to our industry which will always require access to the best talent and innovators to add to Canada’s overall productivity and resourcefulness. Ideally, the requirement for transition plans should be removed from Canada’s immigration requirements. Not only is this part of the program ill-suited to the modern innovation economy, which is global and will always need external talent, but it is also cumbersome for companies and creates unnecessary liability.

If it is impossible to remove this piece of the program than a better way forward would be to allow companies to submit one company-wide Transition Plan each year, which would encompass all of their LMIA applications and could help ease the administrative burden on companies and show government the overarching approach a company is taking to transition to a Canadian workforce. This would be beneficial for both sides and would reduce administration on the company and Service Canada officers.

5. Salary Disclosure in LMIA Advertisements

 

As part of the advertisement requirement for LMIA applications, ESDC requires companies to post and disclose starting salaries. In a competitive industry, this is sensitive information which can compromise a job offer through when companies are vying for highly sought after talent. Allowing companies to omit the salary disclosure portion from the ad, or allowing a generous range in salary, would help protect the competitive advantages of companies.

 ii. Developing Digital Skills

In the long term, we encourage the Federal Government to lead by example and build a country that celebrates and prioritizes educational opportunities, at all levels, to support an inclusive and innovative economy. One way that the Federal government could demonstrate this commitment would be to provide cutting edge education in aboriginal communities, to create access to digital skills education opportunities. There are numerous international programs to provide inspiration of what is possible regarding the design and delivery of this type of education, and we encourage the Government to engage, learn and adopt best practices regarding skills education from K-12, and beyond. Moreover, it is also possible for the Government to re-think the manner in which it defines the education space. Increasingly, Canadians are seeking alternative venues for education opportunities like coding dojos, virtual classrooms, “open-source” learning like Khan Academy, Udacity and even classes on You Tube. To re-think education is a challenge, but the current gap in skills and talent required to innovate, and most importantly, lead demands out of the box policies, incentives and programs to help Canada play catch up to its international counter-parts. Some examples of innovative approaches to education include, The UKs Digital Schoolhouse (http://www.digitalschoolhouse.org.uk/) and the US-based Alt School (https://www.altschool.com/about). Considering ways to incent innovative companies to contribute to the education of Canadians is also important to ensure Canadians are job-ready to meet current vacancies and those careers we have yet to imagine. The Government could consider tax or financial incentives for companies that offer in-office training to students and current employees. This extends past co-op and internship opportunities, which are important but only address new employees and not the current workforce that also needs constant training to keep up to date and innovate forward. Education in companies is expensive and takes employees away from projects. There is a cost to companies to invest in the education of their workforce and the government should consider ways to encourage more employers to invest in educating their talent. For these reasons, we recommend the above and that the Government:

    1. Create a comprehensive national computing and digital skills strategy for Canada that includes a coordinated effort to immediately address the digital skills gap in Canada. The strategy should be holistic, reflecting industry and educational needs in Canada, and developed by a multi-stakeholder task force comprising industry leaders, policy makers and educators who establish clear objectives and milestones to put Canadians’ digital skills back on track with international competitors.
    2. Develop policies and programs that support and incent industry stakeholders to be active participants in digital skills education and curricula development for Canadians in K-12, post-secondary and in the workforce.
    3. Establish a strong working partnership with the provinces to support the introduction of computing and digital skills into elementary and secondary school curricula across Canada. The federal government can provide the resources and support required to define national objectives in relation to computer science and digital skills in a manner that ensures inclusivity, diversity and ultimately creates more opportunities for all to participate more fully in Canada’s digital economy - including teaching staff, local and provincial policy makers and students in levels K-12.
Credit: The Entertainment Software Association of Canada

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Israel and Canada's Innovation Agenda

Question:How can Canada become the best country in attracting and developing talent?
on 10/05/2016 1475692583
Tags: startup  innovation 
Along with best practices on attracting talent, we are pleased to share models for cluster development, start-up support and brand development.   Th .... Read more

Along with best practices on attracting talent, we are pleased to share models for cluster development, start-up support and brand development.  

Thank you for the opportunity to contribute. 

Credit: Centre for Israel and Jewish Affairs

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Tax incentives for individual innovators

Question:How can Canada become the best country in attracting and developing talent?
on 10/27/2016 1477539031
From the airplane and the liquid-propellant rocket, to modern computers, software and social media, many of the technologies that have shaped and cont .... Read more

From the airplane and the liquid-propellant rocket, to modern computers, software and social media, many of the technologies that have shaped and continue to shape our modern world have been the result of individuals, amateurs, and small groups of enthusiasts, often working in their spare time with extremely limited resources, rather than as part of a company.  

Not only does the work of such individuals sometimes lead to significant new technologies and viable companies, it also provides them an unmatched opportunity to develop their own creativity, skills and expertise in a hands-on way that can be of immense benefit in helping them to succeed and contribute to Canada’s economy. 

That success may come directly as a result of an idea they are working on, but it can equally come indirectly, as a result of the experience they have gained and the skills they have developed.  Such self-motivated innovation and experimentation can thus be both a means of developing talent and a means of encouraging innovative work that could lead to new products or companies.  

Yet they tend to face significant obstacles and there tends to be very little support available to them to pursue such work.  If those individuals are only able to pursue their work in their spare time, they may not have the means of incorporating a company and gaining access to the incentives that are available to businesses.

One way the government could lend its support to such self-motivated innovators would be through tax incentives, for example allowing any investments they make related to their innovative activities to be tax-deductible against their primary income, if they do not happen to have their own profitable business to claim it against.  If the costs they incur, for example purchasing a tool or piece of equipment, buying parts to build a prototype or proof-of-concept, taking a relevant course or joining a “hackerspace”, could be used as a deduction against their primary income, this would serve as one practical incentive to encourage and aid them in the pursuit of their work, and would help promote the idea that individuals who take the initiative to engage in their own innovative work and hands-on skills development are actively supporting Canada’s innovative economy and should be encouraged to do so.  

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Attracting talent to Canada

Question:How can Canada become the best country in attracting and developing talent?
on 11/04/2016 1478290826
To attract talent to Canada we must first create  world leading companies with brands  like the "Nortels" & "Blackberry " of the past and probably .... Read more

To attract talent to Canada we must first create  world leading companies with brands  like the "Nortels" & "Blackberry " of the past and probably QNX in the future. This will arrest  brain drain from Canada and attract students ,researchers , Industrialists & professionals from  all over the world , which means we also need to focus on making our universities attract talent(both students researchers and teaching staff) with the correct curriculum, areas of research .

To reinvent the Silicon Valley of Califiornia USA in Canada  we need to provide a platform for Canadian born companies to scale and develop into Global companies. What Canada lacks  today  is expertise in Market research and  International Marketing and doing Global business, we require market  Channels to be created to create world class Canadian Brands.

Though we may have the Technical knowledge and talent to innovate we lack the talent in  scaling product to capture world wide markets and get recognition. , if we can develop a sustaining model of University, Research organizations, groups  working with Innovators and Entreprenurs to start up companies that then get scaled to international companies we may stand a change to kick start that cycle.

One must learn the lessons of how innovations that started in garages scaled to be world leading brands like Apple, Microsoft, Google...There has to be the promise of unlimited opportunity for companies to scale and this will trigger a chain of migration of Talent to Canada.

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Use our Water Resources Smarter with Renewable Innovations - Run-of-the-river Flow - Make our own

Question:How can Canada become the best country in attracting and developing talent?
on 06/23/2016 1466664932
There is a trend in Europe to engage in Community energy.  Over 50% of our future students live in rural areas.  We need to build a culture for our .... Read more

There is a trend in Europe to engage in Community energy.  Over 50% of our future students live in rural areas.  We need to build a culture for our rural communities. Applied Science potential in our Atlantic provinces is rural and having students move to urban centres is causing concerns for the future of communities in Canada.  Canada need to keep energy in the communities and most Atlantic Canada communities are near fast moving bodies of water resources. With run-of-the-river flow systems these smaller communities can look after their energy poverty areas and build new water-based products.  In Atlantic Canada we have a lot of water-based manufactureres - we now need to look at making our own. https://youtu.be/mQKaqimUzCw

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Winning in the New Economy: Seven Steps Toward a Canadian Digital Innovation Strategy

Question:How can Canada become the best country in attracting and developing talent?
on 06/25/2016 1466860257
Summary of Discussion Paper:   Canada has done a good job investing and nurturing the social and cultural conditions (the Canadian multicultural .... Read more

Summary of Discussion Paper:

 

Canada has done a good job investing and

nurturing the social and cultural conditions

(the Canadian multicultural brand) that make

it an attractive “place” to live and work. We

need to further leverage this advantage to retain

and attract talent - key to our ability to drive

and grow our digital economy, especially in

Information Communication and Technology

and other creative-class sectors.

 

We have the talent and multicultural base to

develop global content for billions of people and,

as such, create a multitude of revenue streams

from technology, platforms and content. We

need government and industry to align behind

a unified, national digital innovation strategy to

support Canada’s digital transformation. Such a

strategy must recognize the need to do much

more to support entrepreneurs, innovators, creators

and risk takers.

Achieving this ambitious but necessary goal will require

wide-scope collaboration among government, the

private sector and academia.

This discussion paper is intended to continue the

broad conversation as we move toward a national,

digital innovation strategy. My comments and perspective

are constrained to areas of interest and knowledge

as a professional who has been immersed in the

digital world from a strategic planning, marketing,

technology and content perspective for more than

20 years. In short, I propose seven achievable steps

that the federal government, in collaboration with

others, can take now to realize our collective digital

innovation goals.

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Social Innovation of Collaborative Commons - to Complement Rapid Technological Innovation

Question:What more can be done to cement Canada's place as a leader in social entrepreneurship?
on 07/10/2016 1468165446
Rapid technological advances are both enabling and driving a shift toward Collaborative Commons (CC) as a socio-economic paradigm of the future (see B .... Read more

Rapid technological advances are both enabling and driving a shift toward Collaborative Commons (CC) as a socio-economic paradigm of the future (see Background below). 

Social innovation, parallel to technological innovation, is needed to

  • Maximize the opportunities and benefits for ALL Canadians from CC
  • Minimize the inevitable disruption to lives during  transition to CC
  • Enable graceful transitional or sustained interplay with existing socio-economic models (as needed)
  • Discover the limits and avoid any pitfalls of CC
  • Engender trust among participants in CC
  • Develop a minimally intrusive Canadian regulatory framework to facilitate the above

To that end, the following is recommended:

  • Increase funding for Collaborative Commons academic research in social sciences and economics with the above objectives.
  • Establish a social entrepreneurship fund to support creation of specifically micro Collaborative Commons, and functional elements of Collaborative Commons.  Evaluate results.
  • Hold national events and competitions in Collaborative Commons innovation.
  • Develop prototype regulations relating to Collaborative Commons and run regulatory pilots to discover what works, before enacting (or not) fully into law.
  • Engage Canadians about Collaborative Commons to gather maximum diversity of ideas and input and generally garner buy-in (or not).
  • Collaborate with like-minded democratic states for additional innovation diversity and synergistic global implementation of Collaborative Commons

Background and Why

Society (and economy) is on the cusp of a dramatic disruption due to exponential rise in technological capability.   Technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics borne out of radical escalation of compute power, coupled with advances in sensor and communication technologies, and the ubiquity of the Internet have spawned the Internet of Things (IoT).  IoT is resolutely driving us into the Fourth Industrial revolution dominated by cyber-physical systems.  This will not only sharply reduce the need for human labour, it will also increasingly chip away the volume of human intellect and oversight needed.

At the same time, the Web is enabling the sharing economy.  It’s taking hold due to the inherent pull of convenience and cost savings, personal economic necessity, and desire for environmental sustainability.  The latter is also driving the Circular Economy, where materials and energy embedded in end-of-life products are recirculated into new goods and energy.  Both the sharing and circular economies will reduce the total volume of manufactured goods and raw materials needed, again correspondingly reducing the total human labour, intellect and oversight needed.

The double whammy of efficiencies and the reduced need for goods from above will, for many, reduce or eliminate the means for equitable living and ability to retain agency in society and economy.  Under the existing socio-economic paradigms, this concern will only deepen with ongoing technological advancements, further hollowing out the middle class.  The answer is definitely NOT to stall or stop technology.  On the contrary, Canadian technological innovation must forge ahead at full steam to enable us to compete internationally and grow the total national wealth.  However, social innovation must be tapped to enable ALL Canadians to both contribute to and take from the common wealth, and have full societal agency.

Fortunately an emerging “COLLABORATIVE COMMONS” paradigm shows promise as a new socio-economic order – both organically enabled by the Internet of Things, as well as a reaction to its impacts and side effects.  Collaborative Commons (CC) is characterised by open source information, technology and energy; the blurring of consumer vs. producers into prosumers; access to products becoming the norm over product ownership; and rise of the gig economy over traditional employment.  Basically, it’s a society where citizens and organizations openly collaborate to both create common wealth and draw from it.

While ad-hoc CC instances in some sectors are already generating benefits for its constituents, there are still many unanswered questions and challenges going forward.  What are the trade-offs between different CC models and what model(s) work best?  How can trust, which is critical to collaboration, be engendered and supported among participants? What might be some negative side-effects of CC?  How does CC interplay with traditional market economies, what sectors are best suited for CC, and what are the transition timeframes and trade-offs? What regulatory supports are needed to enable, ease transition, and protect against undesired aspects of the CC?  A heavy dose of Social Innovation is needed now to address the unknowns so that civil society can come out whole on the other side of the transition into Collaborative Commons.

This and related topics are skillfully covered by economist Jeremy Rifkin in The Zero Marginal Cost Society, and related works such as The Sharing Economy by Arun Sundararajan, and Makers and Takers by Rana Foroohar.

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Innovation vs. Entrepreneurship

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 07/12/2016 1468327284
If we want to be a nation of Innovators then I think we need to also talk about the connection and differences between entrepreneurs and innovators.  .... Read more

If we want to be a nation of Innovators then I think we need to also talk about the connection and differences between entrepreneurs and innovators. 

I run a summer intensive entrepreneurship program for youth at Algonquin College called SUMMIT. As I've shared with them, all entrepreneurs are innovators but not all innovators are entrepreneurs. I describe entrepreneurship as a riding a roller coaster wrapped in chaos. You have to be the right kind of person to jump aboard that ride. But not everyone needs to jump on board. The entrepreneurs that start the businesses and are interested in that ride need a talent pool of innovators to hire and inspire them. Although, we need to support entrepreneurs we also need to breed innovators. 

The Conference Board of Canada has outlined a set of Innovation Skills that includes: creativity & problem solving, communication & collaboration, risk assessment and risk taking, and implementation skills. I think these are the skills that need to be infused in our education system and organizations at all levels.

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Harness the tools the world has developed to leverage the resource strengths Canada has

Question:How can Canada become the best country in attracting and developing talent?
on 07/17/2016 1468778831
The National Industrial Symbiosis Program (NISP Canada) is an 11 year old organization out of the UK that is established as one of the best ways to ac .... Read more

The National Industrial Symbiosis Program (NISP Canada) is an 11 year old organization out of the UK that is established as one of the best ways to achieve all the things a country wants. They drive value, by eliminating waste and wastefulness, delivering jobs and revenue for businesses. Then they circle back, and add up the positive environmental impacts. Canada is the 23rd country to join, so the world will be watching! We can leverage the ISED program, with the Environment and Climate Change program, and the AAFC program, by connecting with the 5 ministry team aligned in BC for NISP. Please join them either July 20 or Aug 3 to learn more.

https://nispcanada.com/#post-480

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National Innovation Voucher Program - Students Gain Experience in Startups

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 07/20/2016 1469030961
Take great provincial examples like BCIC Innovator Skills Initiative and the Nova Scotia Productivity and Innovation Voucher Program and create a nati .... Read more

Take great provincial examples like BCIC Innovator Skills Initiative and the Nova Scotia Productivity and Innovation Voucher Program and create a national effort to supply students with applied knowledge and skills through working directly in startups/SMB environment. At the same time ,you will be building stronger linkages with businesses, universities, colleges and research organizations and exposure to entrepreneurship career stream.

Provinces that already have programs in place will maintain their inter-province competitive advantage and either expand scope and eligibility of students and firms. They could also have the option of providing voucher for ICT skills development of existing employees like the B.C Micro Business Training (MBT) Program.

Federal government can have the oversight to ensure all provinces all equipped at a high standard and the provinces can choose to expand scope of program or eligibility to differentiate themselves in the clusters they have deemed a priority.

Links to examples below:

http://bcic.ca/programs_initiatives/current/bcic-innovator-skills-initiative/

https://innovacorp.ca/acceleration-initiatives/productivity-and-innovation-voucher-program

https://www.linkedin.com/company/micro-business-training-pilot-program

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National Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 07/28/2016 1469705082
Tags: innovation  skills  youth 
Canada as a nation requires a workforce that is capable of generating innovative solutions to problems through collaboration, communication, critical .... Read more

Canada as a nation requires a workforce that is capable of generating innovative solutions to problems through collaboration, communication, critical thinking, and creativity. There has been over a decade of research, books, papers, and videos about how the education system does not prepare our youth for the future and there are suggestions for areas of focus, but what we need now is an action-oriented implementation program. The desire for change and the ability to implement a strategy exists.  The most efficient approach to achieve this goal is to tap into the human resources that exist and to use these resources to provide learning experiences that foster essential skills. 

The path to developing the “right skills” rests heavily in Science, Technology and Innovation education.  There is a comprehensive coast-to-coast network of informal learning in Canada through Science Centres and organizations such as Let’s Talk Science, ACTUA, and Youth Science Canada. Independently they do amazing work; collectively, with a strong support system, they could change the country! Currently, no national coordinating body exists for the extensive informal network; a network that is able to come from outside the provincial education systems and act as a vehicle for change inside the systems. Almost all the G7 countries have such a body.

To begin, we need to create a National Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation that supports in-school and out-of-school informal and innovative learning practices. The foundation can provide a coordinated effort through which a fundamental transformation of Education will occur. The proposed budget for the foundation could be based on the number of school aged children in our schools at a level of $2/child. The investment would be made available to all informal STEM education organizations that reach Canadian youth. Collaboration with each Province would ensure that the program addresses their priority areas. It will be important for the “national coordinating body” to develop clear objectives linked with the development of 21st century skills.

Equipping our youth with the right skills will require a concerted effort by all levels of government, organizations, schools, and individuals. Creating the National Foundation for Science, Technology and Innovation would be a big step in achieving these objectives.

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Make sure we have a presence when the global leaders get together!

Question:How can Canada become the best country in attracting and developing talent?
on 08/08/2016 1470691587
At the end of August in San Francisco, the Inaugural  Global Grand Challenge Awards will be given. https://exponential.singularityu.org/summit/ggc/ .... Read more

At the end of August in San Francisco, the Inaugural  Global Grand Challenge Awards will be given. https://exponential.singularityu.org/summit/ggc/

This will be three days of world innovation leaders gathered for the Singularity University Global Summit. If we want to attract talent, we have to make sure they can see us! Catalyst Agri-Innovations Society is a finalist in the environmental category, and will be presenting their "Technology Meets Permaculture" program. I hope there will be some other official Canadian representation there! 

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Access to Talent

Question:How can Canada become the best country in attracting and developing talent?
on 08/10/2016 1470860628
The talent pool is seen as neither wide nor deep. While talent is less of an issue with MNEs, experienced and networked talent is seen as lacking in .... Read more

The talent pool is seen as neither wide nor deep.

While talent is less of an issue with MNEs, experienced and networked talent is seen as lacking in Canada and a number of CEOs talked about the value to an MNE of people who have worked in a number of countries, have exposure to new and different ways of thinking and doing things (Reference is from OBIO’s latest report “How Canada Should be Engaging in a $9 Trillion Dollar Health Economy” www.obio.ca)

SMEs reported more challenges with finding and retaining the human resources they need. Barriers that were mentioned include Canadian immigration policies, competition from jurisdictions with better financing, less risky companies, lack of incentives and security for employees to join and stay in the industry and lack of support for companies to create jobs and build an experienced workforce.

The report recommends, talent attraction and retention policies or programs to eliminate barriers to immigration and provide direct funding or tax relief for companies to competitively develop experienced personnel.

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Chercher les jeunes talents

Question:What more can be done to cement Canada's place as a leader in social entrepreneurship?
on 08/11/2016 1470924571
Pour faire du Canada un pays plus novateur et axé sur l'entrepreneurait il faut rejoindre les jeunes talents et prendre avantage de leur côté créa .... Read more

Pour faire du Canada un pays plus novateur et axé sur l'entrepreneurait il faut rejoindre les jeunes talents et prendre avantage de leur côté créatifs, de faire des appels d'offre pour pouvoir voir leurs projets et être à l'affut de leurs besoins actuels. Ces jeunes qui n'ont pas été moulés par la société ont plus de chance d'avoir des projets novateurs et « out of the box » qui pourrait faire avancer le Canada comme chef de file de l'entrepreneuriat.

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Four Ideas to Grow Innovative Talent

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 08/12/2016 1471029760
Canada needs a talent strategy for growth. Within our publicly-funded post-secondary institutions, we need to focus federal supports to produce &ldquo .... Read more

Canada needs a talent strategy for growth. Within our publicly-funded post-secondary institutions, we need to focus federal supports to produce “made-in-Canada” talent: the highly qualified and skilled workers that Canadian businesses and organizations seek.  Without better labour market forecasting, Canada cannot build an inclusive talent pool for the 21st century workplace.  We present four ideas below:

  1. Direct Statistics Canada to create, deliver and disseminate high-quality, current, relevant and comparable labour market information.

This information will benefit learners and employers and encourage informed choices about careers and jobs by providing data on skills-in-demand, employment outcomes by education type, demand for work-integrated learning, apprenticeship completion rates

2. Create a Youth Entrepreneur Seed Fund to support students enrolled in post-secondary institutions to acquire vital entrepreneurial skills.

Polytechnics and colleges offer many services, courses and centres to help young entrepreneurs. Current federal support for young entrepreneurs exists as repayable loans only; we propose a grant program for students working under the guidance of an instructor or mentor.

3. Create an innovation-focused internship program connecting polytechnic and college undergraduate students with firms and non-profit organizations.

This work-integrated learning initiative will build applied research and innovation skills, as well as enhance graduate employment outcomes, while also addressing employer need for workers with innovation skills.

4. Expand existing research talent programs at the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) to increase participation by polytechnic and college students.

Evidence shows that real-world research is conducted by collaborative teams, across the credential spectrum. Yet, programs designed to mentor the next generation of researchers are primarily open to graduate and post-doctoral researchers because of a narrow interpretation of terms and conditions. These programs should include the talent produced by polytechnics and colleges.

A polytechnic education builds resilient and resourceful workers for the 21st century economy.  These talented learners should be included in any government action for equipping youth with entrepreneurial and creative skills.

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Provide a mechanism to facilitate the transition of college graduates into the new innovation economy

Question:How can Canada become the best country in attracting and developing talent?
on 08/15/2016 1471283788
Students often work on industry- and community-driven projects while balancing other academic demands. While students graduate with a strong appreciat .... Read more

Students often work on industry- and community-driven projects while balancing other academic demands. While students graduate with a strong appreciation of what is needed to solve problems effectively, their skills could benefit from fine-tuning and mentorship. At the same time, new graduates enter the work place where companies have embraced "lean" ideals and expect that these graduates will have an immediate impact with minimal or no training. In some cases, this results in a gap between employer expectations and employee abilities. The question then is how do we address this gap? 

Our solution is a “Springboard Mentorship.”

This idea is based on funding and a mechanism that allows recent graduates to be engaged in solving industry or community problems while still having the ability to learn from an experienced professor over a short period of time – say six months to a year.

Further, these graduates could mentor junior students who are working their way through their programs by providing insight and guidance. This idea harnesses the passion and enthusiasm of college graduates to propel innovation.

 Funding for such a partnership could stem from a joint effort between industry, government agencies (such as the tri-councils) and colleges. Enthusiastic graduates could put their skills into action right away, without having to worry about course work, thus generating an immediate influx of new ideas, new designs and new ventures into the marketplace.

These graduates would benefit from the expertise and guidance of college faculty mentors who could help polish their mentees’ applied research skills. In exchange, graduates could reduce faculty workload by assisting students involved in faculty-run projects or externally driven work. By acting as mentors to junior students, graduates develop leadership and communication skills – the much needed and so-called “soft skills” while improving their practical knowledge and abilities.

The benefits of a Springboard Mentorship are multi-layered. Graduates would be more employable and better equipped to take the next step in their career, easing the transition into the workforce. It would reduce the employers risk of hiring new graduates, as they would see a solid body of real-world work experience, rather than hoping that there's talent behind the credential. Picture the innovation payoff of thousands of experienced and engaged college graduates, and the domino effect of their new ideas, designs and approaches alongside their boiling-over desire to join the workforce. Now picture what is lost if that same number are unable to find employment and experience, instead succumbing to an inevitable erosion of skills. There is so much attention being placed on creating something new — new funding for research, new incubators and new initiatives — yet no attention is being paid to developing the skills of the next generation of innovators. We encourage the innovation strategy to consider this option.

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Incentives for innovation should not be based on the size of a company but on youthful start-ups.

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 08/16/2016 1471368739
Tags: innovation  youth 
“Incentives for innovation should not be based on the size of a company but on youthful start-ups, it said. It is through start-ups that radical .... Read more

“Incentives for innovation should not be based on the size of a company but on youthful start-ups, it said. It is through start-ups that radical innovation and increased competitiveness is achieved, not through small businesses as such, and Canada has among the lowest start-up rates among the advanced economies.

David Crane, a Toronto-based writer on economic, political, and environment issues.

IMF, OECD say feds' innovation plans on wrong track, Hill Times, June 20 2016

 

 

Credit: David Crane, a Toronto-based writer on economic, political, and environment issues.

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Fostering Innovation Through Creativity

Question:How do we work together to equip youth with the right skills for the future economy?
on 08/16/2016 1471372233
Polytechnics across Canada and specifically at Sheridan support innovation through creativity, applied research, and our centres of excellence. At the .... Read more

Polytechnics across Canada and specifically at Sheridan support innovation through creativity, applied research, and our centres of excellence. At the heart of Sheridan’s support is our academic creativity programming, including Creative Problem Solving workshops, creativity breadth courses, and a Board Certificate in Creativity for our students in bachelor degree programs. Sheridan believes that creativity is the foundation of innovation, and has strived to embed creativity throughout our campuses and academic programs. Through Sheridan’s Creativity Institute, Sheridan is expanding into the community with creative problem solving workshops for local not-for-profits to find creative solutions to challenging problems. Over 1,900 students have taken courses in creativity at Sheridan, and at our most recent convocation, we awarded the first certificates for graduates who had completed the certificate program.

What separates Sheridan and other polytechnics across Canada is the ability and history of working with industry through our applied research projects, finding creative and innovative solutions to industry challenges using faculty and students who learn and work with them. Over 90 per cent of students at Sheridan have internship or field experience during their studies, while most senior students complete a term-long capstone project that can spark entrepreneurial opportunities not previously thought of. Sheridan is part of an innovation pipeline, creating the student who has the ability to have an idea and to then do something about it. Sheridan has created ties to existing entrepreneurial networks within the region and industry-specific innovation zones across Canada. More should be done to support the polytechnic applied research and capstone focus that allows for creativity to lead to innovation to lead to entrepreneurship.

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