Experts from within and outside of academia expound on what role universities can play to further the innovation
The buzzword “innovation” might perk you up – or make your eyes roll. Regardless of how the term sits with you, innovation is clearly on the federal government’s agenda and of big interest to universities as they try to keep pace with rapid changes in society and the economy, while staying responsive to government funding priorities and continuing to meet the needs of their students, faculty and the wider community. With the federal government grappling with weak economic growth and working on crafting a new “ innovation agenda,” (PDF) we asked six experts inside and outside the academy what role they think universities should play in fostering greater innovation in Canada. Their innovation definitions differ in their wording, but are variations on the theme that innovation is not about inventions, per se, but about the novel use of inventions and technologies that lead to transformative new or improved services, products and processes. Universities already make substantial
contributions through their teaching, learning and research functions, and have at least some role to play in the innovation ecosystem, they agree, but how far that should go and in which ways yielded intriguing ideas from each of them.