Navigating the Innovation Gap: Investing in Innovation

May 18, 2017 Sara Audisho

Leaders likely play a large role in spurring the kind of innovation Canadians want and are capable of.

However, bridging the gap doesn’t end there.

Ask Dr. Feridun Hamdullahpur, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Waterloo, Canada’s most renowned innovation hub. He says that we actually have all of the tools and handypeople, but no projects. There’s even funding available, but still no dice.

What’s standing in the way?

He says more university-based innovation, access to capital and basic research. On top of that though, Hamdullahpur urges us to stop thinking of innovation as the “marginal improvement of a handful of financial measurements,” and think about innovation as “society’s capacity for revitalization and growth.”

We think you should read it in his own words, but the gist of it is as follows:

We’re underusing universities as hubs for innovation. Think about the wealth of brilliant minds in the campus atmosphere, where they are most free to experiment.

We’re not giving entrepreneurs enough access to capital. This is why our brainiacs go south of the border. So much more potential.

We’re not supporting enough research. Hamdullahpur says the public has a dangerous misunderstanding about the value of research. And, his words, not mine (but I see where he's coming from): “We need to snap out of it.”

There’s still time to turn this brain drain around. Get chatting about the value of research, and get bothering your public officials. Let’s invest in our nerds.

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