Canada’s Businesses Need to Unleash Collaboration

Many Canadian businesses are inhibiting Canadians themselves when it comes to being productive and innovative.

People in this nation are among the most active and savvy of social media users in the world right now, and the research suggests the generations who’ve recently joined, or are about to enter, the workforce are keen to collaborate. Yet, most employers in Canada – particularly those in smaller businesses – aren’t providing the right tools and collaborative platforms.

Collaboration and communication are vital to business success since the research also shows that the most significant sources of innovation come from customers, partners and employees. But we’re living in a business environment that generally doesn’t provide the means for dispersed people and communities to share ideas and communicate.

Coupled with that is the fact that Canada as a country ranks among the lowest of OECD nations in terms of things like labour productivity, innovation and the ability to make the most of information technology in a business setting. 

I spoke about all of this during a luncheon speech at the Toronto Board of Trade. Admittedly, it’s something of a crusade I’ve embarked upon for the last three years. I’ve talked to hundreds of people across the country during that time about Canada’s generally poor labour productivity growth, which is well under 1% annually during the period from 2000 to 2009. I’ve made the startling point that Canada would need to boost productivity by four times annually for the next 15 years just to catch up with the current U.S. levels.

I’ve also explained the vital importance of productivity to Canada’s future – that it’s necessary to sustain 1% productivity growth annually for 72 years just to double the current standard of living. Our ability to compete as a country is threatened by poor productivity and that seriously inhibits efficiency and Canada’s ability to be innovative…and prosperous.

I’m absolutely passionate and resolute in telling senior government and business that Canadian leadership must step up. We need to create in Canada a smarter workplace that allows people to be flexible, creative, innovative and much more productive. We need flexible working environments that let employees work where they happen to be, whenever they happen to be there. We need to let Canadians do what they already do exceptionally well – collaborate.

Both the Globe and Mail and ITWorldCanada.com covered off the remarks of my speech on Dececember 13, so I won’t repeat the entire script. You can find my PowerPoint presentation below.

Headway is being made. I believe political and business leadership have grasped the message, but we need to say and do much more. Every journey begins with the first step, which in this case is building awareness. So let’s start talking about how business needs to unleash rather than inhibit collaboration. Canada’s future depends on it.

About Nitin Kawale

Nitin Kawale is President of Cisco Canada, responsible for all aspects of its operations including sales, marketing, finance, distribution, and services. Cisco Canada employs more than 1400 people and is the third-largest operation for Cisco worldwide. The Canadian operation is also a proving ground for many of the company’s most advanced and innovative technologies. Kawale has been an integral part of Cisco since 1995 and has served in a number of key local and international roles. Kawale is a prominently featured keynote speaker and panelist at many leading IT industry and business events. He serves on the board of directors for the Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital in Toronto and is a member of the Canadian Council of Chief Executives. In 2011, Kawale was named Corporate Executive of the Year by the Indo-Canada Chamber of Commerce, and in 2012 he was named to the Ontario Jobs and Prosperity Council, created by Premier Dalton McGuinty to promote innovation, productivity, and business development throughout the province. Kawale holds a bachelor of applied sciences degree in engineering science from the University of Toronto. Nitin Kawale, président de Cisco Canada, est responsable de tous les aspects des activités locales, dont celles liées à la vente, la mercatique, la finance, la distribution et le service. Cisco Canada emploie plus de 1 400 personnes. La compagnie canadienne est la troisième entreprise Cisco en importance à l'échelle mondiale. L'entreprise canadienne sert aussi de terrain d'essai pour un grand nombre des technologies les plus avancées et novatrices de la société. M. Kawale, qui fait partie intégrante de Cisco depuis 1995 a joué plusieurs rôles clés tant locaux qu'internationaux. M. Kawale est conférencier et panéliste d'honneur dans le cadre de nombreux événements de premier plan en rapport avec l'industrie des TI et les affaires. M. Kawale siège en tant que président du conseil d'administration de la fondation du Holland Bloorview Kids Rehabilitation Hospital de Toronto. Il est aussi membre du Conseil canadien des chefs d’entreprise. En 2011, M. Kawale a été nommé chef d'entreprise de l'année par la chambre de commerce indo-canadienne et en 2012, il a commencé à siéger au Ontario Jobs and Prosperity Council, qu'a créé Dalton McGuinty, premier ministre de l'Ontario, afin de promouvoir l'innovation, la productivité et le développement des entreprises dans la province. M. Kawale détient un baccalauréat ès sciences appliquées en génie de la University of Toronto.
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