Innovation key to Canada’s future success

Innovation matters more than ever.

My keynote speech at this year’s Cisco Plus event on May 16 at the Toronto Congress Centre by Pearson airport will focus on this topic and I dare say it may be among the most important presentations I’ll give this year.

Business and political leadership across Canada has finally placed the need for innovation at or near the top of priority lists. All increasingly recognize that innovation and improving the productivity of Canadian businesses is vital to our current and future success as a nation.

I’ve been telling audiences everywhere that the global economy is going through a dramatic transition. And times of transition are the greatest opportunities for business and countries to improve their positions…or lose serious ground. Canada MUST choose the former path, through greater business productivity and efficiency, which, in turn would spur much more dynamic and meaningful innovation.

So Canada needs to act on improving our nation’s ability to achieve innovation. We’ve gone the wrong direction – barely growing productivity by an average of less than one per cent for most of the years since 2000. And this has cost us dearly. Let me explain.

If Canada’s productivity had, during the past 20 years, simply kept pace with the U.S., every Canadian would have an additional $7,500 in disposable income. Corporate profits would be 40% higher. Our federal government would have generated 31% more in revenue.

The good news is our country’s federal political leadership recognizes the need to take action. For example, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced in the spring during the Global Economic Summit in Davos, Switzerland that innovation and productivity is a top priority for our national agenda.

I’ll have a lot to say about the challenges of spurring innovation and productivity – and what we as Canadian business leaders and IT professionals can and must do in order to set our country on the right track – at Cisco Plus next month. I’ll also talk about the future of how Canadians want and need to work. How empowering employees with the right tools and technologies will make them more productive, innovative and ultimately help Canadian business become more successful.

More than ever, we need to make it happen.

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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