30 May 2013

On Discovery, and Making Manufacturing

The Ontario Centres of Excellence hosted the annual OCE Discovery conference earlier this week, featuring those involved in the Ontario innovation ecosystem. GBC Research was there showcasing our own centres of excellence: the Food Innovation Research Studio (FIRSt), the Green Building Centre, and our Advanced Prototyping Labs. An opening keynote by Peter Diamandis, founder of the X Prize, was instructive as much for his points on what he calls "exponential technology" and "crowd sourcing genius" as for the fact that the underlying message was that it is the private sector, not the public, that needs to lead innovation. Public-Private R&D partnerships matter (c.f. P3RD), but it is the private sector that must drive commercialization. This is the essential idea of customer focused innovation. Diamandis talked about how "humans are a linear thinking" but that "technology is exponential," and "The difference between these is either disruptive stress or disruptive opportunity." This differential between stress and opportunity is a pharmakon: a remedy for what ails us, or a further poison to our well of productivity.

Which brings me to making things.

An article in today's Report on Business features a lesson from Germany's manufacturing, and what Canada can learn from this is to re-imagine and rebuild our capacity to make things. Germany shows that making things still pays outlines key points in improving productivity, including partnerships between academic and industry and a sound manufacturing foundation. I've written before about the capacity for making and manufacturing, and the college and polytechnic capacity for building and making makers is a distinguishing feature of our approach to innovation literacy. We will be featuring our Advanced Prototyping Lab capacity at an upcoming industry networking event. Join us to Meet your Maker.

Meet your Maker industry networking event flyer

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