P18: Who are the innovators in Canada and what do we know about the individuals who drive innovation?

Friday, November 22, 2013 - 10:30am to 12:00pm

Innovation is the principal driver of wealth creation and social development in society. R&D is a subset of innovation, defined by its uniqueness in terms of developing knowledge new to the world. Innovation by institutions, including R&D, particularly in business, is widely studied, but little is known about the innovators themselves. Similarly entrepreneurship is a studied as a factor in successful businesses, but its link to innovation is rarely discussed, and the role of entrepreneurship by employees (intrapreneurship) is almost never mentioned. Innovation is not something confined to the private sector – governments, universities, health care institutions are all centres of innovation – even if these innovations often cannot be measured in financial terms.
The individual researcher or innovator, who is the agent of innovation, can be thought of as an entrepreneur since they are bringing a new concept or way of doing something to the “market”, the pool of existing knowledge. The more we understand the innovator/entrepreneur the better we can develop policies to enhance innovation in Canada. Thus we really need to understand why people become innovators (and thus entrepreneurs) whether in business or in other sectors.
The session will take the form of a moderated panel, with the chair asking each of the participants to respond to the themes below. Some of the participants (arranged in advance) will make the opening statements, and then the other participants will comment on them. Each question will be commented on by all five panelists. The themes will include:
a) This is a conference about S&T policy. How do scientists and technologists relate to innovation and entrepreneurship?
b) What are the characteristics of the S&T individuals who are innovators in the private sector? What sort of enterprises do they start?
c) What are the characteristics of innovators in government or in the not-for-profit sector?
d) What are the characteristics of the individuals who innovate in large organizations (intrapreneurs)?
e) Why do individuals become entrepreneurs and/or innovators?
f) What can we do to encourage individuals to become innovators and/or entrepreneurs?
The panel will be focusing on innovation and R&D in the private sector, including the role of “intrapreneurs” – the innovators and researchers who work in and for large corporations. Most researchers in a large organization must submit their research proposals and programs for assessment within the organization, if only for budgetary purposes. Thus they must be entrepreneurial in fashioning their proposals, working within the internal market of their organization. What is the role of the innovation ecosystem (both public and private) and the development of the human capital required for innovation and entrepreneurship?
This panel will identify and discuss an aspect of innovation which is rarely addressed in Canadian S&T and innovation policy. The panel will draw from across the spectrum of knowledge-development stakeholders to provide a wide-ranging view that will resonant with the equally wide spectrum of conference participants. It will discuss an innovative approach to science and innovation policy, and hopefully encourage further collaboration among sectors.


International Development Research Centre (IDRC)

Loredana Marchetti is an international development professional with 30 years of experience across all continents monitoring field projects and supporting applied research and knowledge-related work. She presently works at the Ottawa-based International Development Research Centre, where she manages a project portfolio fostering collaboration among government agencies, academic communities, non-governmental organizations, businesses, and professional associations within Canada and linking with partner institutions in developing countries. Among others, she oversees the Canadian component of the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor, supports research on co-operatives models with the Canadian Cooperatives Association in East Africa, and research on public policy to strengthen innovation in social economy.
Loredana holds an MBA and a Ph.D. in development economics from the University of Geneva with a dissertation on Entrepreneurship in Transition Economies.

Doctoral Student

Cynthia A Sheehan is a doctoral student studying entrepreneur well-being at UQTR in Trois-Rivières, Quebec. She is also a permanent lecturer at FSA ULaval in Quebec City where she teaches entrepreneurship and management courses in both English and French. Entrepreneur at heart, she managed her own translation company for five years before devoting her time to teaching. She recently edited the collective work: Entreprendre, la passion de créer et d’agir published by Pearson-ERPI. Cynthia believes in community involvement, which is why she helped organize the first TEDxQuebec event, is a board member of the non-profit organization Courir pour la vie, and regularly contributes to Life in Quebec Magazine. You can follow Cynthia on Twitter @SheehanCyn.

National and Ontario Director, Entrepreneur Of The Year Program EY

Colleen a native of Montreal, joined EY in 1978 and became a partner in 1988. Colleen is an audit partner serving Canadian and U.S. public and private entrepreneurial clients across a number of industry sectors.

Colleen has a bachelor of commerce and a graduate diploma in accounting from Concordia University, and earned her CA designation in 1980. She was distinguished as an FCA in 2000.

At EY, Colleen is the Canadian National and Ontario Director of the EY Entrepreneur of the Year Program and executive sponsor of the EY Entrepreneurial Winning Women program.

Colleen was the first woman to be appointed as an Office managing partner at EY and was the first woman appointed to the Canadian partnership board.

She finds the time to give back to her community – she is a member of the board and chair of the Finance Committee of Wellspring, past director The Conference of Independent Schools of Ontario, past chair of St. Mildred’s-Lightbourn School, an all girls school in Oakville, and a founding director and treasurer of the Dancer Transition Resource Centre.

Colleen is actively engaged with the firm’s entrepreneurial alliance partners-The Next36, StartUp Canada, and the Creative Disruption Lab at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto.

Associate Director
Centre for Policy Research on Science and Technology (CPROST)

Adam Holbrook is the Associate Director of the Centre for Policy Research on Science and Technology (CPROST), and an adjunct professor in the School of Communication at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, BC. Prof. Holbrook was trained as a physicist and electrical engineer and is a registered professional engineer in the provinces of Ontario and BC.

After starting his career at Telesat Canada as a satellite control engineer, he joined the federal government of Canada as the Program Branch officer for S&T programs at the Treasury Board Secretariat. He later transferred to the Ministry of State for Science and Technology (MOSST), and remained involved in science and innovation policy activities for the federal government after MOSST was absorbed into Industry Canada. In 1995 he moved to Simon Fraser University to join CPROST.

He has published extensively in academic journals and has edited two books on clusters in regional economies and one book on small and medium sized enterprises in Canada. He carries out teaching and consulting activities on S&T and innovation policy, the competitiveness of specific clusters and the competitiveness of specific cities for all three levels of government in Canada and several international development agencies.

At CPROST his research activities centre on the analysis of science, technology and innovation activities in both the public and private sector. Recently he led a study for the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada aimed at identifying national and international leading practices for leveraging public investments in higher education research and development to stimulate innovation.

Assistant Professor
Haskayne School of Business

Dr. Chad Saunders is an Assistant Professor at the Haskayne School of Business in the area of Entrepreneurship & Innovation, where he is the Area Chair and holds cross-appointments with the Departments of Medicine and Community Health Sciences (CHS) at the Faculty of Medicine, where he is the eHealth Services and Strategy Lead with the Ward of the 21st Century (W21C.org).

Chad received both a BSc (Applied Mathematics, 1996) and MBA (Information Systems, 2000) from Memorial University of Newfoundland and a PhD (Management Information Systems, 2006) from the Haskayne School of Business.

Chad has developed and taught courses in entrepreneurship and innovation, technology management, strategy, information systems, project management, and research methods at Memorial University of Newfoundland, Athabasca University, University of San Francisco and at the University of Calgary.

Chad’s multidisciplinary research interests include projects in the areas of:

• Applying a design science lens on innovative services and infrastructure for researchers and their impact on the professional practices
• The role of entrepreneurial activities in driving disruptive innovations in sectors such as healthcare and energy.
• The entrepreneurial activities of academics interacting with industry and the nature of the multidisciplinary teams crossing traditional academic boundaries.
• Impact of policy for data sharing, especially as it relates to secondary use for the purpose of research and quality improvement in healthcare.
• The environmental impacts of IT and the implications of social entrepreneurship.

Chad has published in leading journals including Entrepreneurship Theory & Practice, Journal of Business Venturing, IEEE Transactions on Software Engineering, and the Ivey Business Journal. Chad’s work is funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC) of Canada, the Canadian Foundation for Innovation (CFI) and industry.

Prior to entering academia Chad worked with a business incubator for rapid growth enterprises and continues to be actively involved with the business community in consulting, training, and advisory capacities.