Innovation in Canada
Rumour has it that over the last few years, Canada has been lagging behind in innovation. The Conference Board of Canada’s Innovation Domain Report card from 2015 grades Canada at a C, and 9th out of 16 peer countries, so we certainly have room for improvement. But with substantial government subsidies for R&D and training, why are Canadian companies reluctant to invest in research and design?
One of the factors is conflating invention with innovation, or radical innovation with incremental innovation. Our public innovation policy is largely focused on driving invention, which includes breakthrough technologies, new products or services, and is often creator-driven. Innovation is a user-driven process that iterates from existing inventions and adds value by adopting, using and adapting new information or technologies to improve the economic, health or social well-being of a person, group, community, region or country. It is this kind of innovation that needs to be better recognized.
“Innovation drives an economy’s ability to create more economic value from an hour of work, thereby increasing economic output per capita. The resulting productivity growth creates potential for rising wages and incomes, and thus for a higher standard of living.”
Other issues contributing to our stagnation in innovation includes our economic policy not having updated its intellectual property policies to advance Canadian companies in their fields, and inadequately protecting Canadian IPs.
Our government funded Scientific Research and Experimental Development Tax Incentive Program (SR&ED), while supposed to incentivize innovation, has several flaws that are counterproductive to its intent. These problems include too many of the funds going into executive compensation, promoting offshoring, and penalizing sustainable growth.
At Pathways, we have chosen to invest 2 months of work time for our programmers to learn VR coding for eLearning. We believe we have developed Canada’s first 360° video VR training simulation in conjunction with St. John’s Ambulance, to train their employees in general emergency procedures in a realistic virtual environment.
For more on our developments in 360° video and VR, check out our other articles on the subject – Future Outlook for 360° Video in eLearning, Our First 360° Video Training Experience, and Working with 360° Video.