News Release

REF NO.: 114

SUBJECT: Memorial University releases Advancing Innovation in Newfoundland and Labrador report; set to present at inaugural Innovation Week conference

DATE: May 1, 2014

A Memorial University research team has completed a final report focused on advancing and fostering innovation in Newfoundland and Labrador.
The report is based on findings collected from regional workshops, a research review and a provincial summit meeting.
 Challenges, Opportunities and Strategies for Advancing Innovation in Newfoundland and Labrador works to answer the question: “What can industry, communities, governments, Memorial University and College of the North Atlantic do to advance innovation in Newfoundland and Labrador?” 
The answer, according to the Advancing Innovation in Newfoundland and Labrador research team, is multi-pronged, and it must start with broadening the understanding of the concept of innovation.
“There’s a misconception that innovation only involves technology and developing a new invention or piece of equipment, and it is much more than just that,” said Dr. Rob Greenwood, executive director of the Harris Centre at Memorial and one of the lead researchers for the report. “Innovation is about new approaches to all aspects of business activity and bringing existing innovative approaches to new areas or regions.” 
                Using a broad-based definition of innovation, the report outlines that business, community, government (all levels) and post-secondary institutions – the “quadruple helix” – all have a role to play in advancing innovation in the province. In addition, these groups need to provide a broad suite of mechanisms to support
“Innovation is a social process requiring a long-term, collaborative strategy that includes businesses, community organizations, all levels of government and post-secondary institutions. Working together, we will have a greater impact,” said Dr. Heather Hall, postdoctoral fellow and part of the research team. “However, province-wide innovation policies are not enough. Any innovation strategy has to recognize the importance of regional context.”
The research suggests that a comprehensive and collaborative place-based strategic plan is needed to bring all groups together to foster and advance innovation throughout the province. Furthermore, the plan should:
           Create an innovation awareness campaign
           Create a quadruple helix innovation strategy
           Position Newfoundland and Labrador as a leader in innovation education
           Promote and supporting business networks
           Encourage more commercialization in Newfoundland and Labrador
 “Communities across Newfoundland and Labrador are facing unprecedented change in our economy and demographics,” said Dr. Greenwood. “To survive amidst all this shifting and uncertainty, we need to look to new products, new processes, new ways of organizing ourselves – that’s innovation. And the only way to foster that is to start collaborating on a broader scale.”
Dr. Greenwood and Dr. Hall will present the report and the findings of the Advancing Innovation in Newfoundland and Labrador research team at Innovation Outlook on Thursday, May 8. The day-long conference taking place at the Bruneau Centre for Research and Innovation on the St. John’s campus will feature speakers highlighting the importance of innovation as an economic driver and a key component of economic diversification for Newfoundland and Labrador technologies and businesses. In addition, local innovators and research teams will be on-site to meet with attendees and showcase their innovations. The conference is part of the inaugural provincial Innovation Week from May 5-9; the full schedule of events for the week can be found at www.innovationweek.ca/schedule.
The Advancing Innovation in Newfoundland and Labrador project team consists of Dr. Greenwood, executive director of the Harris Centre and Public Engagement; Dr. Hall, postdoctoral fellow, Department of Geography; Dr. Kelly Vodden, associate professor (research), Environmental Policy Institute, Grenfell Campus; Dr. Jacquelyn Walsh, assistant professor, Business, Grenfell Campus; Kyle White, undergraduate research assistant, Department of Geography; and Ken Carter, PhD candidate, Department of Geography.
The report, Challenges, Opportunities and Strategies for Advancing Innovation in Newfoundland and Labrador, is available at www.mun.ca/harriscentre.

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