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The Innovation Agenda – What Does it Mean to Your Company?

  • May 2, 2017
  • Written by Meridian Admin

 

· By 2025 more than 50 billion connected devices in a world of 8 billion people

· Today 3 billion people connected to the Internet; 5 billion by 2025

Globally, we are in an innovation race. Every country wants to attract the best brains, develop the newest world or industry-changing technology. The Canadian government has recognized we need a wide-ranging innovation strategy and has created something called the Innovation Agenda. Engagement Leaders have been consulting with Canadians resulting in more than 100,000 engagements resulting 1,752 ideas. The topic? How to encourage innovation.

But why is innovation important? The more effective we are at innovation as a country the higher our standard of living will be across all areas from employment, prosperity, health, and education, not to mention opportunities for future generations.

This is all happening at the same time our cost of living is rising, personal debt is increasing, we are experiencing slow economic growth and there is rising uncertainty about our trading relationship with our southern neighbor.

The government wants to mobilize Canadians for an inclusive innovation agenda which focuses on:

· Fostering a culture of innovation and entrepreneurship.

· Building skills to embrace global changes.

· Leveraging Canada’s diversity and attracting the best global talent.

· Supporting world-class research excellence from fundamental to applied science

· Creating super clusters for business innovation and global reach, from idea generation to value creation

· Developing start-ups and scaling innovative, high impact small, medium and large firms, to grow the next generation of job-creating global companies.

· Harnessing the digital economy across sectors to encourage digital adoption.

· Enhancing and aligning agile marketplace regulations and standards, and enabling market access so Canadian businesses can thrive globally.

Source: Industry Canada

Key Challenges

The Innovation Agenda focuses on the need for innovation at all levels if we are to compete in the global market. It recognizes four major challenges: slow growth; technology; globalization and climate change.

The global economy is slow with 2015 predictions for 2017 revised downward at the end of last year. In Canada we have an aging population; as boomers retire we don’t have sufficient working-age people to replace them and this will affect our growth.

Technology is changing fast and if we don’t keep up we are in danger of being left behind. Some of today’s jobs are disappearing as new types of work and companies emerge. Technology is a great leveler and empowers emerging countries.

As the world gets smaller, more competition will come from both developed and developing countries – technology knows no borders.

Energy consumption continues to rise globally and with it increased risk to the environment. Those countries leading the way in clean economic growth – those showing greater levels of innovation – will create more jobs, develop new markets and ensure their country’s long-term economic growth.

How Can Your Business Be More Innovative?

What actually is innovation? Is it always about technological advancement? Not necessarily, it’s about changing or adapting something to make it better and more beneficial to people. That “something” could already exist, or it could be a new “invention.” Some innovations are major and save lives such as penicillin or insulin (the latter is a Canadian discovery) others are more modest and make industry more efficient, such as a machine that folds paper more efficiently.

There is no reason why your small business, even a one-person business can’t be part of the Innovation Agenda. In fact, entrepreneurs are by nature innovative.

Here are six things you can do right now to start creating your own innovation agenda.

1. Review all your technology and software – how out of date are you? Upgrading can be a sound investment in the future and makes you more innovative.

2. Research new software and apps to see how they can help you improve your operations, products and services – think: mobile payments, order processing, anything that demonstrates innovation to your customers and makes their lives easier.

3. Everything is becoming mobile – people search for products and companies online, they purchase online, they check you out on line - how can you relate more to your customers through their cell phones and tablets? Your website should be responsive. If you don’t know what ‘responsive’ means, you need to be more innovative, right now!

4. React quicker – customers, clients, suppliers all want everything right now. Be innovative around how you interact with the people who make your business successful.

5. Become an avid researcher of your industry and/or market and the global economy. The world is moving at lightning pace, don’t get left behind – be a leader not a follower.

6. Bring your team together and brainstorm how you might reinvent what you sell, or the way you sell it, to better reflect today’s world.

If you want more information on the government’s Innovation Agenda, follow this link: https://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/062.nsf/eng/h_00051.html .

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