Entrepreneurial and creative society
As Minister Bains recently said, “Canada needs a bold, coordinated strategy on innovation that delivers results for all Canadians.” It is vital that in 2016, our approach to innovation is both an inclusive and coordinated one. A strategy that benefits only certain regions, industries, or disciplines will be insufficient for innovation leadership.
Without careful planning, the shift towards an increasingly tech-driven, globalized economy may exacerbate existing social disparities. An inclusive approach to innovation will make the most of the skills, qualifications, and ideas held across Canada’s diverse population, and in particular women, Indigenous peoples, and new Canadians.
Canada’s strategy must also promote new partnerships across sectors and borders, while avoiding duplication of efforts. Enhanced collaboration and greater integration among players in Canada’s innovation ecosystem must be a priority if public funds are to be invested as strategically and effectively as possible.
Mitacs supports these objectives by working with provincial, national and international partners across disciplines and sectors to improve Canadian productivity and growth. Our expansive network allows Mitacs’ innovation internships to be integrated into complimentary initiatives, avoiding duplication and presenting a simplified point of access for participants. Specifically, Mitacs has worked to support this coordination through partnerships with organizations like CIHR, SSHRC, NSERC, Genome Canada, NRC-IRAP and many more federally supported entities promoting Canadian innovation.
Finally, an inclusive and coordinated approach must recognize the continued importance of basic research. Mitacs encourages the federal government to support Canada’s granting councils, and to promote basic research at colleges, polytechnics and universities across Canada. Often, basic research leads to new discoveries, and support for untargeted research is important to our innovative future.
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