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George Brown College.

Collaboration for Innovation: An Introduction

Where it comes to industry, Canada finds itself at a crossroads. We are not the U.S., nor should we try to be. At the same time, the country's relatively small population poses challenges where it comes to resources. The solution? Collaboration.

With recent, successful industry-academic partnerships in BIM modelling, entrepreneurialism, and social innovation among its many success stories, George Brown College has proven itself a leader in the realm of interdisciplinary problem-solving and economic development. And, as independent research bodies will attest, this mindset is indeed the wave of Canada's economic future.

“By working with post-secondary institutions, businesses see greater opportunities to drive innovation, leverage valuable outcomes from R&D, and help influence new directions in R&D,” says Wayne Cuervo, director of innovation at Cisco Canada. “Valuable research, analysis, and new technology is often derived from student and professor research. This kind of research can often provide new routes to solving customer problems or new processes that can be incorporated into existing solutions.”

Cuervo continues to explain that when post-secondary students do deep analytical work and research, they often provide valuable insight that businesses can use to leverage new markets or new paths to business outcomes and innovation.

“Often businesses are focused on addressing customer problems, and academia often highlight problems that become uncovered through their research, says Cuervo. “From academia, research can inform businesses where problems (opportunities) exist and business can then use this insight to develop innovation.  In a perfect world there can be elements of a symbiotic relationship with R&D.”

At this moment, Toronto in particular is poised to become a hub for enterprise and innovation. “The startup ecosystem in Canada has grown exponentially over the last few years, especially in key cities like Toronto and Montreal,” says Ziyan Hossain, director of product and marketing strategy for Qnext. And there's room to grow, too. “The visa requirements for entrepreneurs entering Canada are less stringent than the US actually, and offer more benefits,” Hossain remarks.

With leading post-secondary institutions like George Brown College paving the way for industry-academic partnerships, Canada's major economic hubs can maximize potential for the generation of ideas and commercialization of innovation. As we move through the 2010s and into the 2020s, we approach our enterprise landscape with 20/20 vision.

This feature and the Collaboration for Innovation package are made possible by George Brown College.