02 July 2009

Report on Canada's innovation gap

A very good article in yesterday's Report on Business details Canada's innovation gap and our worsening productivity, specifically focusing on the role of R&D spending by firms in Canada. Konrad Yakabuski outlines our woeful productivity performance as measured against Business Expenditures in Research and Development (BERD). It's a good read. The comparison to Finland is a good lesson for all of us involved in the R&D continuum in this country. Focusing on how we can move past being mere "hewers of wood and drawers of water" - beyond simple commodity exports - is a key lesson that reinforces the value-add design can bring to applied research and innovation activities.

Yakabuski refers to the Council of Canadian Academies' recent Report on state of management and business research in Canada: Expert panel calls for more contact between researchers and managers. This report outlines the disconnect between our research institutions and the application of research outputs into practice. The realignment of the HERD|BERD imbalance requires the setting of national research priorities and a focus on applied research and technology transfer - where applicable - across all research areas.

Innovation is not invention; it is the new application of an existing technology, or the application of a new technology to new contexts. Complementarity means supporting research from discovery to application and design, where Canadian firms, universities and colleges work together for common innovation goals. Idealistic, perhaps, but necessary nonetheless.

No comments: