It’s time to buck the trend and put the spurs to ‘er – Canadians need to get serious about innovation, before we get trampled by our competitors and left in the dust. In Lumos’ new multi-blog series, “Spurring Innovation in Canada,” we dig deep and find ways to saddle up and kickstart innovation in our economy.

The headlines tell the story: “The Death of Innovation in Canada,” “Canada’s Sorry State of Innovation,” Canada has everything going for it — except for innovation,” the list goes on. The strong emergence of our country from the financial crisis in 2008 has recently been overshadowed by reports highlighting our lackluster performance in innovation. It has officially become the elephant in the room that can’t be ignored any longer.

While there is no official metric to measure a country’s rate of innovation, there are a few effective ways to assess it. The number of patents filed is one commonly used metric, and Canada holds just 1.36% of patents filed worldwide compared with 30% held in the U.S. The Conference Board of Canada gave Canada a ‘D’ grade for its innovation environment and ranks the country 14 out of 17 . Clearly the proverbial socks needs to be pulled up.

Business and government leaders across the country have stepped up to the microphone to offer their two cents on what it will take to spur innovation in our country. The Canadian Council of Chief Executives issued a report with ten high-level recommendations, while Industry Minister Tony Clement chimed in by saying, “The key is for Canada to differentiate and not to imitate.” Everyone is joining the conversation.

Naturally, everybody wants to try and understand how we got here. One survey of Canadian CEOs suggests there is a strong tendency toward risk-aversion among executives, as well as a culture of complacency. Since innovation, by definition, requires taking a risk, it is easy to see how innovation could be crimped in this kind of environment. To really get to the heart of the issue, however, requires digging a bit deeper.

Over the following month, we will take a Lumos look at innovation and come up with a few ideas to kick-start the process. In a series of six blogs, we will look at the issue from a bottom-up perspective and come up with some practical ways to get the everyday entrepreneur fired up. So let’s get started …

Check out Part I: Inspiration from Abroad , as we look at why second- and third-world countries provide great sources of inspiration for innovation, and how immigrants to Canada are helping us pull our socks up.

Part II: Why Failure is a Misnomer

Part III: Catalyzing Creativity and Breaking Down Silos

Part IV: Design Thinking and Business Model Innovation – A Dynamic Duo

Part V – Let the Market be your Guru

Part VI – Does Wesley Clover have it right?

Summary: Saddle Up and Go


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