28 March 2008

CONII Health Sciences Node Symposium a Success

The CONII Health Sciences Node Symposium was held today at Seneca College, attended by some two dozen representatives from the 10 member colleges of CONII. The purpose of the event was to establish the CONII Health Sciences Node community of practice and to begin the work of organizing and orchestrating collaboration among the 10 CONII members. The day was a very successful group think on the nature of innovation in this sector.

Brian Barber, Director of Technology Development and Commercialization at the UHN, gave a keynote address to initiate proceedings. Brian advocated building bridges between the academic and economic communities in order to proactively foster the necessary return on investment in research. He recognized the cultural divide that exists between the research and commercialization communities, and that those of us engaged in the innovation sector are involved in a culture shift writ large.

Colleges fit into the research continuum by offering services and environments suitable for testing prototypes and concepts. We can also offer unique capabilities in helping to change the way health care is practiced. There is a role here for "disruptive innovation" Brian reminded us - to play an active role in bringing about change. It's clear that our current health care system is presently unsustainable as is (it consumed 46% of the last Ontario budget, and it's growing each year). The role of researchers (applied or otherwise) is to take a proactive - rather than a reactive - role in making meaningful change a reality for health and human services. With the changing health care environment (think ubiquitous technology designed to monitor/aid health) we have a significant opportunity to participate in shaping the future of health care. It won't be easy - the group today spent some time reviewing challenges. But the opportunity is there. It's up to us to collaborate - to work together and make this happen.

Collaboration is difficult and messy, particularly so when stakeholders are all pursuing the same funding opportunities. CONII provides precedence here that we can build on. There is a delicate balance needed between protecting our own interests versus building capacity system-wide (a topic I wrote about some time ago). These are early days in the innovation marketplace, and we all have a place and role to play in ensuring Canada can achieve its prosperity goals.

Some time ago I wrote about ROI2: Return on Investment; Return on Innovation. This can be amended as ROI3: we need a return on investment and innovation, but also interest. If the return on innovation is the gravitational pull of ideas, then the return on interest is the ability to spark interest, to provoke thought, and to stimulate ideas. Contingent knowledge assumes we evolve these ideas. Let's make an environment conducive to this evolution.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

That`s a good idea.
Healthy life