Friday, September 17, 2021

Enabling Innovation from Idea to Impact

Here is an excellent article on innovation by Dan Breznitz and Daniel Trefler (paywall alert). In it, they correctly state the clear difference between invention and innovation. Canada is good at the former but lags at the latter. Where Canada lags is in what I've earlier called the transit of Intellectual Property (IP) - how to we manage the process to go from idea to invoice. This is about enabling innovation through public+private R&D partnerships. It is about being intentional about supporting the development of ideas through applied research and experimental development, two key areas of research, the latter of which is very often is overlooked.

The Ontario IP Action Plan is putting place needed resources to help disambiguate the distinction between invention and innovation, and to ensure that we have an economy of IP and innovation literate population skilled in all aspects of the continuum of R&D. This is a core plank in the system.

I have elsewhere outlined some work on Capacity and Contribution for Intentional Innovation, where we articulate the connections and the continuum from idea to invoice. A logic model depicting how we might start to think about how partners can enable intentional innovation is below. This is one way to start thinking about how we can scaffold research performers in the public and private sectors to play to their strengths and support inventions to achieve impact.

Here is an example of this in action, using the eCampuOntario platform mission model to put in place engagement models, and support partnerships for transformative effect:

Last year we piloted a model with the City of Toronto that connected City research needs with Toronto area colleges and universities. We worked with our research funding partners at Mitacs, OCI, NRC-IRAP, Magnet and SOSCIP to fast track the process. This successful model for municipal innovation is now a permanent feature of the City, as announced by Mayor Tory last November. The success of this was entirely because of the joint effort of a dedicated group of professionals who came together to make this happen.

And we're not done yet. Watch this space for more to come on platforms that enable innovation, from idea to impact

Research-Innovation: Capacity & Contribution Logic Model