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.

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