Innovation Happens Through Collaboration

The need for improving Canada’s labour productivity and innovation is a topic that I’ve presented and discussed with audiences right across the country. In my mind, the importance of these things for Canada simply can’t be overstated – or talked about enough.

So I’ve admittedly been something of an evangelist on these subjects for many years now and I continually make the point with business and political leaders that Canada must do everything it can to improve innovation and productivity for the sake of our future as a prosperous nation. We all can play a part in improving Canada’s less than stellar rankings in these areas.

Business Innovation Summit

My most recent talk on the subject happened on May 28 during the Business Innovation Summit in Toronto, where I outlined many of the great works that Cisco is doing to change Canada’s innovation trajectory and improve our nation’s capabilities. You’ll find that presentation “here.” 

Among other things, I outlined what Cisco is doing across Canada. It includes: establishing research chairs at 10 Canadian universities, the creation of an upcoming Internet of Everything innovation hub at our new Toronto head office next year, our intent to bring up to 1,700 high-tech jobs to Ontario over the next six years, and our corporate social responsibility programs that include Connect North that’s using state-of-the –art HD video technology to educate youth in the far north.

What I added in this most recent conversation was some simple advice for every organization out there to likewise make an impact on innovation. That is…tapping into the best sources – your customers, partners and employees. It’s where the real innovation gold lies. Among the best sources for improving and accelerating creative knowhow are the perspectives and feedback from the feet on the street of your organization and the people who know your business best. I believe every company needs to deliver the capabilities and technology that allow people to do in their professional lives what they’re constantly doing so effectively in their personal lives. That is, collaborate.

Collaboration happens through connectivity, wherever and whenever we happen to be. Connecting is for many of us the first and last things we do each day. It inspires Canadians and we relish the experience. Collaboration is the key to a continual free flow and exchange of great ideas that can improve our businesses. It’s the creative energy that helps companies build new things and change processes and ways of doing things for the better. That’s when innovation happens. The conversation needs to continually happen and the great ideas that emerge need to be acted upon.

My challenge to the Business Summit audience was simple enough. I asked: Can you tap into the best sources of innovation at your company – your customers, partners and especially your employees? Does your connectivity support mobility – anytime and anywhere collaboration?

And I reminded them that today is all about work-life blending – not balancing. Business needs to support the way people live & work today and every organization MUST drive innovation by empowering collaboration to improve productivity and ultimately Canada’s standard of living.

Not doing so risks your success and our standing as a nation.

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