A comprehensive study of Canadian industry commercialization practices and the effectiveness of various support programs will be undertaken shortly by Canada’s largest high-tech business organization, supported by partners in the Industry, the Public Sector and the Academia.
The Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA) is working with the University of Waterloo (UofW) and the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT), with funding support from the Business Development Bank of Canada (BDC), the Export Development Canada (EDC), the Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation (MRI) and the Sustainable Chemistry Alliance (SCA) and in partnership with the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), the Office of Small and Medium Enterprises of Public Works Canada (PWGSC- OSME), the Canadian Chamber of Commerce (CCC), the Conference Board of Canada (CBoC), ACCT Canada, Springboard West (SBW), the Centre of Excellence in Energy Efficiency (C3E), the Canadian Manufacturers & Exporters (CME), BioTec Canada and the Rx&D (Pharma) associations.
While there is no doubt that Canada is doing well in matters of academic research, concern has arisen that the translation of this research into ‘bankable commerce’ is lagging. The performance of Canadian firms in commercializing innovation is a more important economic factor than quantity of innovation, if a large percent of innovations are left sterile in the labs or do not make their ways into tangible economic benefits, according to study director Dr. Sorin Cohn, who stated that “there is a perception that Canada is not doing so well when it comes to commercializing its products, services and processes into the global marketplace. Canada is a nation of SMEs, with over 99.8% of the more than 1 million companies in Canada having fewer than 500 employees, and the SMEs need better ways and means to enhance their positions in the global marketplace.”
CATA and its partners are urging enterprises and organizations to take an active part in this survey in order to acquire a meaningful understanding of what works and what does not for Canadian companies in matters of commercialization. The results will help Canadian executives — in Industry as well as in Government — to benchmark their organizations’ success in commercialization of innovation and to develop better practices and programs for ensuring competitiveness on the global scale.
“This is unique research into how companies bring products and services to market in the face of global competition,” said Paul Day, VP of the Information Communications Technology sector at Export Development Canada. “We hope to use the findings to understand how we can better serve the needs of innovative Canadian companies as they pursue International Trade.”
The study is starting with a survey of thousands of small, medium and large size enterprises throughout Canada. The survey addresses questions pertaining to product, service and process innovations that have been commercialized in the past 5 years, the strategies and cooperating arrangements pursued to achieve effective commercialization, the factors for success, the problems and obstacles encountered , the Federal, provincial or municipal programs that were used and were most effective in aiding commercialization, the financial aspects of commercialization, the relevant intellectual property issues and the roles played by lead customers and/or “anchor” companies in achieving successful commercialization of innovations.