28 January 2011

Generation Y and the innovation economy

George Brown College President Anne Sado was joined at the Toronto Board of Trade yesterday by OCE CEO Tom Corr and Wind Mobile CEO Anthony Lacavera, to discuss the results of a recent study on Generation Y and the knowledge economy. The study, commissioned by George Brown College and conducted by Leger Marketing, offers interesting insights into a mismatch of expectations between Gen Y students and employers. There is much to be learned about aligning these expectations. Education is key to the diffusion of innovation. A key focus for us is on the development of what we call innovation literacy: communication skills, teamwork and the ability to develop ideas. And speaking of ideas, here's a short video on Where good ideas come from. It's worth a watch.

26 January 2011

On innovation, education, and building

Yesterday US President Obama gave the State of the Nation address, focusing on the need to out-innovate, out-educate and out-build the world. The speech is worth a read if you didn't catch it. What strikes me most is the tone of cooperation and conciliation, and the similarities with the changes we are navigating in the innovation system in Canada, and our need to focus on complementarity. Working together toward common social and economic productivity issues is clearly the way to future prosperity. Partisan fighting over who got what is a shadow of the past. Imaging ourselves into the future is perhaps more difficult to do, but certainly more worthwhile.

18 January 2011

Patents, innovation

Here's some good news on the R&D front in terms of patents. One problem with this article is its equating of patents with innovation. Not all innovations are patented, or even patentable. A quick review of how the OECD defines innovation (product innovation; process innovation; marketing innovation and organisational innovation) shows that this is more in keeping with a people-centred approach to innovation.

17 January 2011

Credit Transfer in Ontario

George Brown College today hosts MTCU Minister John Molloy who will make an announcement of credit transfer in Ontario. An article in today's (or yesterday's if online) Globe provides some details and context about credit transfer and educational articulation. This is an absolutely necessary step for modernizing the post-secondary education system. The article notes BC, Alberta and Quebec as having strong, centralized credit transfer systems. The point of these modern education systems is that they enable the province to compete as a larger jurisdiction, enabling learners to progress through education and into the job market much more easily, thereby focusing on social and economic productivity over and above any single actor in the system. Educational complementarity thus executed will foster a better set of outputs for the economy generally, mirroring the "any point of entry" innovation system that, while inchoate, is streamlining business innovation for Ontario firms.

Here are some links to news items about the announcement:

Province makes it easier to move from college to university – or back.
Greg Evans started to study film at Ryerson University, but had a change of heart and switched to social work at George Brown College in second year. ...
New credit-transfer system for Ontario students
Anne Sado, president of George Brown College and a spokeswoman for Colleges Ontario, says she is eager for the program's implementation, but notes that ...

Colleges applaud credit transfer system
Canada NewsWire
"We look forward to this system becoming operational as soon as possible," said Anne Sado, president of George Brown College and member of the credit ...
Province aims to make transfering easier
Metro Canada - Ottawa
Anne Sado, president of George Brown College, said she is eager for the program's implementation, but notes that willing partners will be needed to make it ...

10 January 2011

Three themes for Innovation in 2011

This is an update from my last post of 2010  from the GBC Innovates! newsletter.

The past year has been an exceptionally good one for applied research: for polytechnics, and for colleges engaged in instigating industry innovation. There can be no debate that we need to increase productivity and our national capacity to innovate. Polytechnics and colleges involved in applied research will play a vital role in achieving this—and we’ve made strong gains in the past year. Increased government sponsorship is helping us to help industry and community partners innovate.

As George Brown College embarks on our Strategy 2020, it is worth noting that the three themes guiding our development are well enabled by applied research and innovation:
  1. Partnerships – working with our partners on innovation activities gives our students good exposure to industry trends, and helps us attract investment in the college, both directly and indirectly, benefiting our students. 
  2. Innovation in teaching and learning – applied research is one form of innovation activity that we can help support. Students can engage with partners on problem solving as part of their course work, gaining credit, valuable experience, and developing innovation literacy: research, development, problem solving, leadership and entrepreneurial skills, along with the ability to recognize innovation in work contexts. 
  3. Field placements –we will enable our students to gain work and learning experience in real work contexts, often through working on applied research projects. 
Our goal is to foster a culture of innovation at George Brown College and support ongoing teaching and learning experimentation, thereby promoting scholarship and innovation broadly.

For the year ahead, GBC Research has three themes:
  • The diffusion of innovation: our ability to be responsive to the innovation and productivity challenges is contingent on complementarity and cooperation. We work with our industry and community partners, and other educational institutions, to promote an innovation mindset throughout all areas that we teach and influence. 
  • People-centred innovation: a grounded way to promote participatory innovation - our way of engaging students, faculty and our partners in mutually rewarding innovation activities that support student learning and partner problem-solving objectives. This fosters innovation literacy in our graduates while being focused on the downstream results of our work. People-centred innovation acknowledges that innovation is a social activity. 
  • Using our imagination: Our faculty, staff and students are limited only by our imagination when thinking of how to get involved in applied research and innovation activities across the college. Many of you are doing innovative things in your courses on a daily basis. We need to celebrate what we do, and imagine ourselves into doing new things to support student learning and the 2020 Strategy objectives. 
Join me in celebrating our successes – many of which are on our website (georgebrown.ca/research). And use your imagination! We invite you to conceive and share new and innovative ways we can work together to support excellence in teaching and learning.

07 January 2011

Participatory Innovation

Here's a link to a good article by Todd Hirsch on the need for a more extensible funding model for education. It relates very well to an integrated, participatory approach to open innovation. And while we are on the topic of complementarity, here is a piece that further debunks the myth of the individual inventor that posits an additive approach to innovation. A participatory, people-centred innovation assumes a collaborative and collective approach to furthering common innovation needs. As noted in my last post, this is a strong theme for the coming year.