An ‘innovation’ mindset welcomes change, continuous improvement, and exploration into uncharted areas of discovery. By adapting a forward thinking approach and utilizing tools and frameworks such as design thinking and agile methodologies, organizations can create an ‘innovative’ mindset that drives stronger growth. A survey by Accenture reported that in 2020, innovation leaders increased the revenue growth gap by 47% over the rest of the market, with a predicted gap of 115% by 2023.
Research by Boston Consulting Group demonstrated that the pandemic has highlighted the critical importance of innovation and at the same time identified a readiness gap. While 75% of executives surveyed placed innovation as a top-three priority, a 10% increase from before the pandemic, only 20% of companies are ready to scale innovation. Creating a culture of innovation does not stop solely at management levels, it requires the inclusion and collaboration of all employees, as well as a diversity of perspectives, backgrounds and skill sets.
Yet the new work environment brought on by the pandemic has created challenges for cross-collaboration and over 60% of managers feel that they haven’t effectively learned how to empower remote teams. So how do organizations foster creativity and innovation, and how do employees and job seekers embrace and participate in an innovative culture?
We encourage you to check out the organizations listed above and watch the recording of the session to form your own opinion on what stands out for you.
About the panelists:
Here is our summary of key takeaways from the session:
1. What comes to mind when you think about ‘building future ready communities’?
2. What is the most memorable “success story” or “lesson learned” you’ve experienced when you think about how your organization/group has contributed to ‘building future ready communities’?
3. (Audience Question) What advice would you give to organizations in terms of creating and fostering a culture of innovation in a manufacturing facility (or other older economy business)?
4. In your view, what do you see as the primary role that each of us has to play in building future ready communities?
5. What would be your biggest piece of advice to talent in Canada trying to start and/or advance their careers and navigate the future of work? (Audience Question) Is professional development required for growth, or is it better to invest in professional experience?
7. What are some resources, books, Ted Talks, or podcasts, that have been instrumental in shaping your view on the future of work?
A theme that resonated strongly with our panelists was the importance of keeping an open mind and not limiting ourselves to one or two conventional ideas or solutions. Life-long learning is an essential part of innovation; be curious and ask the simple as well as the hard questions, do your research, and leverage your network by connecting with mentors, peers, industry leaders, and professional associations.
Employers need to build a supportive ecosystem that fosters an innovative mindset. Consistent and clear communication with employees plays a big role in building trust and creating internal champions who will help develop a culture of creativity.
Guiding discussion questions:
About the Panelists
Tim Perron, Atlantic Regional Coordinator, Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC)
Tim is based in Halifax and works closely with businesses, not-for-profit organizations, post-secondary Institutions, government, industry groups and associations across Atlantic Canada to raise awareness of ICTC’s capacity building programs to help grow the Digital Economy in the region.
Sashie Steenstra, Manager iAdvance, Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC)
Based in Calgary, Sashie spearheads the growth of ICTC’s iAdvance programming. iAdvance is an initiative designed by ICTC as an end-to-end workforce development solution to enable evidence-based pathways to employment. A program Sashie is supporting in Calgary is EDGE UP (Energy to Digital Growth Education and Upskilling Project) to support displaced mid-career Oil and Gas professionals to take short-duration training and pivot into tech roles.
Information and Communications Technology Council (ICTC)
ICTC is a not-for-profit national centre of expertise for the digital economy. They are the trusted source for evidence-based policy advice, forward looking research, and creative capacity building programs, with a team of over 90 qualified professionals across Canada.
ICTC’s mission is to strengthen Canada’s digital advantage in a global economy. Their vision is to foster globally competitive Canadian industries and a prosperous society empowered by innovative digital solution. ICTC is committed to providing an atmosphere free from barriers that promotes equity and diversity. ICTC also supports a workplace environment and a corporate culture that is built on TRUST values that encourage equal employment and career prospects for all employees.
Luisa Da Silva (she/her), Executive Director, Iron & Earth
Luisa Da Silva, B.Sc, P.Geo, MBA began her career in the fossil fuel industry of northern Alberta, and has over 20 years experience in the energy, mining, education, and not-for-profit sectors. After a successful career as a professional geoscientist, Luisa moved to the United Kingdom to work in digital transformations and to pursue an Executive Master’s of Business Administration. She has been influenced by her experiences in mining and exploration both in Canada and abroad. Luisa worked with one of Canada’s top environmental charities before joining Iron & Earth as their now Executive Director. In her spare time, Luisa is an outdoor enthusiast and spends as much time in nature as possible; transitioning to green solutions has been a lifelong journey. Along the way, Luisa learned that she is enthusiastic about educating others and enabling them to transition to fulfilling careers.
Iron & Earth
Iron & Earth formed around the lunchroom tables of the Canadian oilsands during an oil price crash which resulted in over 100,000 oilpatch employees losing their jobs between 2015 and 2017. They realized that trade skills were transferable to the renewable energy industry and recognized the urgency of diversifying into these technologies. So, in Spring 2016 they launched Iron & Earth to create a better future for themselves, their coworkers, and the planet. Since then they have built a base of over 1000 fossil fuel industry worker members and have carried out a wide range of innovative initiatives.
Iron & Earth is a worker-led organization whose mission is to empower fossil fuel industry and Indigenous workers to build and implement climate solutions. Their overarching intention is to help create an environmentally and socially prosperous planet. Their vision is that the fossil fuel industry and Indigenous workers will play a leading role in building the policy and infrastructure required to reach global climate targets. Their top-level goal is to help ensure a prosperous transition towards global carbon neutrality by 2050.
Shawn McCarty, Manager, Key Partnerships, Windmill Microlending
Shawn McCarty has the privilege of working with skilled newcomers across Canada to build a thriving career success network of educators, service providers, and employers. As Manager, Key Partnerships for Canada’s largest non-profit lender for newcomers, Shawn closely follows the forces and trends impacting immigrant career success across all major professions.
Windmill Microlending is a registered charity serving newcomers since 2005. They offer microloans to help skilled immigrants and refugees continue their careers in Canada. Funded by the public and private sector, Windmill is Canada’s largest and most successful microlending program for immigrants and refugees.
Windmill Microlending empowers skilled immigrants to achieve economic prosperity by providing microloans and support. They support immigrants and refugees who come to Canada with education, skills and experience but struggle to resume their careers here. Their clients may be under-employed in “survival jobs” because they cannot afford the cost of Canadian credentials or licensing. Windmill helps clients to obtain the Canadian licensing or training required to work in their field, or to secure a position which matches their level of education, skills, and experience.