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Thoughts On Innovation – Scott Smith



Scott Smith

Senior Director, Intellectual Property and Innovation Policy at The Canadian Chamber of Commerce

What is your definition of “innovation”?

Innovation means capturing and executing on a clever idea for a product, service or process that solves a problem in such a novel and unique way that it grabs the attention of the marketplace as the preferred option. Too often, the word innovation is branded in a marketing exercise to draw attention to something that is not particularly clever and would not meet the test of novel and unique. All companies should strive to innovate.

Why is it important for companies to innovate and invest in modern technologies?

There is a clear correlation between innovation and profit growth. Companies need ideas to grow, and the companies that generate a plethora of ideas grow faster when there is a clear corporate commitment to cultivating ideas and executing on them. That is a culture of innovation. While investing in modern technologies is important for all companies, adopting new technologies is not an innovation per se. However, using technology in a novel way to execute on an idea? That is innovation. Good fortune comes to those who are prepared.

What advice can you give to Canadian businesses looking to make the most out of their investments in innovation?

The commitment to an innovative culture starts at the top and percolates through the company. Innovation is a process, not a windfall. The process begins by allocating the resources necessary to generate ideas, evaluate ideas, refine ideas and execute on the ideas that rise to the surface as winners. Finding the right people and giving them the tools, such as technology and training, to succeed and the right balance of rewards to incentivize the process will lead to profit growth.

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