Public Policy Forum’s Event – Meet the New Faces of Canadian Innovation
Ottawa, Ontario, Wednesday, May 24, 2017
How wonderful to be here at this impressive centre with all of you.
Last night at Rideau Hall we celebrated the new faces of Canadian innovation, and I’m delighted that today we’ll all get to hear more from them and have a frank discussion.
I’m also pleased to have so many innovation leaders in the room to join that conversation, including Minister Bains.
One of our aims with the Governor General’s Innovation Awards is to foster a culture of creativity and entrepreneurship, and central to that effort is storytelling.
I believe it’s so important, in fact, that Tom Jenkins and I recently co-authored a book of stories about innovation in Canada over the years.
It’s called Ingenious, and that’s just what it contains: page after page of ingenious, and sometimes surprising, Canadian innovation.
For example, did you know the light bulb was a Canadian idea?!
That’s right—it was. Though it didn’t work out quite the way we might have wished.
Like the innovation stories we’ll hear from our award winners today, the story of the light bulb is very instructive—enlightening, you might say. We so often learn a great deal when we come together to share experiences and insights.
I should also note: the proceeds of Ingenious go to the Rideau Hall Foundation, which is ensuring the sustainability of the awards program to help us build that innovation culture.
On a related note, I’m pleased to see the Foundation take the lead in establishing the first-ever Canadian Innovation Week next year, with the support of Innovation, Science and Economic Development Canada and so many other organizations that will join in celebrating innovation every May.
This is great news. A Canadian Innovation Week will be another opportunity to encourage innovation and creative thinking across the country.
It will also help us build on the momentum we’ve had since the first presentation of the Governor General’s Innovation Awards last year.
The awards had a great impact on last year’s inaugural winners. They provided recipients with new opportunities and a heightened profile. They were able to share their experiences with other innovators and build their networks. The benefits of their work was highlighted and made clear to a large number of people.
This was exactly the result we hoped to achieve. And I’m pleased to say we’ve also had a strong response to our efforts to foster a stronger innovation culture and ecosystem.
In fact, we now have close to 50 nomination partners participating in the awards! This is wonderful, and the robust network we’re building can further support our goal of building a more innovative country. We’re building a virtuous circle of creativity.
I thank all of you for your support, and for helping us to tell this story in Canada.
But who better to tell this story than our top innovators who are here with us today?
These individuals, the recipients of the 2017 Governor General’s Innovation Awards, are working in a range of disciplines, but they’re all united in their relentless quest to improve our lives and our ways of doing things.
They’re the real deal, so let’s hear from them, and let’s hear from all of you who are leading the way in this important effort.
I look forward to learning from you all.