Innovation for all

Today’s blog is a letter to the editor I sent to the Toronto Star.

David Crane’s excellent piece in last Friday’s Toronto Star “Liberals need an economic vision” is truly visionary. Two points of the article really stand out for me because they are verification of beliefs that I have held for many years.

First this quote, “…manufacturing must become more knowledge intensive, with greater investment in research and development, as well as training and skills upgrading, design and marketing.”

Nothing could be closer to the truth. Canadian companies need to delete their current short-term practice of not investing in design and begin to act like global players. What is key is that manufacturers can be innovative merely by implementing an alternative approach to how they develop products. With modest investment, a producer can improve their chances of sustainable success in the new post-recession economy by using design. Companies must shed the old approach of getting “a guy in the back” or a CAD jockey to be their product developer and use professionals for these endeavours. They must also employ better and more sophisticated strategies in the branding and marketing of their products.

Secondly, David Crane sees the immense potential of looking to Canada’s different cultural communities for their energy and talent. Our nation has been gifted with a truly diverse society. Immigrants are a treasure trove of new ideas and approaches to problem solving. Also, their link to their ancestral homeland gives access to foreign markets and additional bases of knowledge. My own connection to Italy allowed me to learn the methodologies of Italian automotive and industrial design which were critical to starting a successful design consultancy here in Canada.

Thank you, Mr.Crane, for recognizing the value of Canada’s multicultural mosaic and for linking the word innovation with the word design.

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