Incremental innovation: essential to solving Canada's productivity problem #HNHII

Thursday, May 26, 2011 General News
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Business leaders agree that encouraging incremental innovation will help Canada go from a "D" to an "A" in innovation

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MONTREAL, May 25, 2011 /PRNewswire/ - Today, in Toronto,

the Honourable Glen Murray, Ontario's Minister of Research and Innovation, CEOs from various industries, academics, and others came together to discuss the importance of incremental innovation and its impact on the Canadian economy, all concerned that Canada can no longer afford to get a "D" in innovation.

Everybody loves the idea of a blockbuster or revolutionary breakthrough - some radical technology that changes the world but we cannot overlook the fundamental importance of incremental innovation. Incremental innovation is an improvement in the cost or functionality of an existing product. Incremental innovation also helps make radical innovation matter over time. For example:

  • Smart phones have evolved almost imperceptibly, but today's versions are radically different from the originals.
  • Intradermal vaccines use less medicine and a much shorter needle, creating a more patient-friendly experience.
  • Airplane fuel efficiency. Over the past 50 years, fuel efficiency has improved at a rate of about 1-2% per year.

"While Canada has the skills and resources to achieve greater incremental innovations, we need to further explore how industry, academia and government can work together to proactively encourage their development, and ultimately help stimulate our economy and create jobs," expressed the Honourable Glen Murray.

"The key to productivity and prosperity in the modern economy is relentless innovation throughout the entire economy, not just invention in the high-tech sector," said Roger Martin, Dean of the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto. "For Canada to succeed and prosper it needs to embrace incremental innovation as the way to deliver ever-increasing value to customers both in Canada and around the world," added Martin.

"Our discussions really brought home the fact that while incremental innovations vary across industries, they are fundamental to all successful business models," said Hugh O'Neill, President and Chief Executive Officer of sanofi-aventis Canada. "Countries like the U.S. and the UK are raising industry standards or using their government's significant purchasing power to drive innovation. We should draw on the experience of other nations to make sure our policies support both radical and incremental innovations," concluded O'Neill.

The How Next Happens: Building our Economy Through Incremental Innovation Symposium was held on May 25, at the Sutton Place Hotel in Toronto and marked the publication of a white paper of the same name, authored by SECOR, an international strategic management consulting firm. The Symposium drew a crowd of over 140 business leaders, government officials, academics and more. Speakers and panellists included:

  • The Honourable Glen Murray, Ontario Minister of Research and Innovation
  • William Mantel, Assistant Deputy Minister of Research and Innovation
  • The Honourable Perrin Beatty, President and CEO, Canadian Chamber of Commerce
  • Marcel Côté, Founding Partner, SECOR Consulting
  • Walter Di Bartolomeo, Vice President, Engineering, Pratt & Whitney Canada
  • Mark Lievonen, President, Sanofi Pasteur Limited
  • Paul Lucas, President and CEO, GlaxoSmithKline, Co-chair, Coalition for Action on Innovation in Canada
  • Kevin Lynch, Vice-Chair, BMO Financial Group
  • Roger Martin, Dean, Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
  • Peter Nicholson, Founding President, Council of Canadian Academies
  • Hugh O'Neill, President and CEO, sanofi-aventis Canada

About SECOR SECOR is Canada's leading independent strategy and organizational consulting firm. For the last 35 years, SECOR has helped senior executives to develop and implement their organizational strategies. SECOR has offices in Montréal, New York, Paris, Québec, Toronto and Vancouver.

About Sanofi-Aventis Sanofi-aventis, a leading global pharmaceutical company, discovers, develops and distributes therapeutic solutions to improve the lives of everyone.

Sanofi-aventis is represented in Canada by the pharmaceutical company sanofi-aventis Canada Inc., based in Laval, Quebec, and by the vaccines company Sanofi Pasteur Limited, based in Toronto, Ontario. Together they employ more than 2,000 people across the country. With combined R&D investments of $159.2 million in 2010, they are leaders in Canada's biopharmaceutical sector, a critical knowledge-based industry that generates jobs, business and opportunity throughout the country.

/NOTE TO EDITORS: Media Assets accompanying this story are available as follows:





SOURCE Sanofi-Aventis


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