The Ottawa-based Canadian Advanced Technology Alliance (CATA Alliance) is using social networks to launch a discussion about the country’s innovation gap and amass feedback from the general public as to how to address it.
Taking a broad holistic approach to Canada’s state of innovation will ensure the discussion reaches beyond CATA and the IT community, said John Reid, president and CEO of the CATA Alliance. That will ensure, said Reid, that the issue is “embraced as a vision and a leadership theme that would be debated and discussed across the nation.”
In addition to reaching out to elected officials and businesses, CATA Alliance is taking advantage of the popularity and viral nature of social networks like LinkedIn and Facebook upon which to maintain the discussion.
Engaging the broad public will also mean that a multitude of facets regarding innovation will get covered in the dialogue, said Reid.
For instance, CATA Alliance started this discussion on LinkedIn Answers: Does Canada have a structural deficit in innovation?
Peter Nicholson, past president of Ottawa-based Council of Canadian Academies, is in favour of CATA Alliance’s social networking approach to building momentum around the innovation discussion. “One way to get that attention of the political decision-makers is to have a public movement and to make this a mainstream issue,” said Nicholson.
The topic of innovation for a long time has been excessively focused on research and development, rendering the public perception that innovation is “just people in lab coats with test tubes,” said Nicholson. Moreover, economic policy-makers, when speaking of innovation, tend to focus on productivity which isn’t a concept that gets a lot of public traction, he said.