Not enough young people believe they can change the world on a global scale. The problem is a mindset problem, and one I believe is more dire than some might think. Too many young entrepreneurs think they're rock stars by launching another social network, or naming themselves the CEO of the world's 498th messaging app. Honestly, they're probably wasting their time.
Kitchener-Waterloo is already well established as a bastion of innovation. It's already actively adding places where people will want to live, work and play -- the three elements that define a cluster in a place of innovation. Toronto, on the other hand, has yet to truly establish a centralized, cohesive community where technological innovation can flourish.
Much is being made these days of the need for children to put down the tablets, remotes and other tech devices and get outside and play. Medical experts and media pundits are keying on health issues, such as childhood obesity and diabetes, as the key driver for increased play. And they are correct; but there are other important reasons: future jobs and economic growth.
Within our team we spend a lot of time talking about the concept of the 'willing innovator'. At a time where practically every industry needs software, it helps us think about the people we want to partner with -- those who align with our culture and view of the world. To us, this isn't necessarily about having been innovative in the past.
One story that Shapiro shared was of the challenges facing Houston Airport, where luggage would be available within eight minutes but passengers were at the luggage carousel within one minute and disgruntled about having to wait. The answer: airport staff created a longer path to collect luggage which took eight minutes, so luggage and passengers arrived at the same time.
I look forward to a day when there won't be a difference between business and social business, it will just be what we all do. And it is time for organizations to step up and take the necessary risks associated with adopting shared value. Not just because it is the right thing to do, but also because of the economic and competitive advantage we all stand to win.
Rarely, if ever, do we think of farms when we think of small business. But small businesses dot the vast country side as well. While more and more Canadians are living in cities, the farm and agri-food sectors remain economically important. Farms employ 2.1 million people, representing one in every eight Canadian job.
The financial press in Canada has been identifying our deficient economic productivity for several years now. In 2012, the Financial Post ran a column entitled "Canada's productivity gap is looking worse than ever. There may be opportunities to influence our growing debt problems in the country through programs comparable to those used to stimulate our economy's productivity. If tax credits and other incentive programs can be formulated to help stimulate our productivity gap, are there similar policies that could find ways to help those looking to start their own business, create jobs and directly impact the economy and productivity?
If you need to build connections from scratch, be fearless. Pick up the phone. Write the letter or email. At conferences and social events, approach people and be approachable. Be clear about your value proposition and needs. Ask how you may help them, and ask for support. What's the worst that can happen? They politely decline.
The use of some remarkable automated milking systems, which allow cows to choose themselves when to be milked and keep information about each cow's production, has gone up steadily in popularity since they were first introduced in Canada nearly 15 years ago. The growing prevalence of robotic milkers on farms across the country is a sign of encouraging times.
In Canada, we like to play it safe and for the most part, it's paid off. Tight regulations and the centralization of banking powers helped us weather the economic storm of 2008. But we're a different Canada now. Canada's potential is remarkable, we need to believe in that potential and invest in its development before looking elsewhere for inspiration. It's all right here.
Marc-André Gagnon, assistant professor at Carleton University, argues in a recent article that more than 80 per cent of new drugs entering the market are merely carbon copies of existing drugs -- commonly called "me-too" or "follow-on" drugs -- without any real therapeutic advance. Such criticisms, however, reveal a complete ignorance of the nature of the innovation process in the pharmaceutical industry.
I'm enthusiastic about the bright future that is ahead if we can continue to foster and encourage governments, business leaders and young students to look beyond the limits to make the impossible, possible. I find myself wondering what it will take to win in this Third Industrial Revolution, and I keep coming back to our youth, these students whose brilliant minds know no limits. Are we doing enough to encourage and inspire them? Are we finding the right venues to foster innovation and commercialization of the best ideas in Canada, or will we retain our role as an exporter of raw goods, rather than an information economy of the future?
While it took a few years after the financial crisis for financial services start-ups to get their business models refined to the point where they can come to market they are here now, and these alternative financial services technology companies are becoming viable and increasingly common sources of financing for entrepreneurs and small businesses.
I was introduced to Minecraft by my son, who was nine at the time. I would ask him to stop watching Minecraft videos, which he seemed addicted to. When he started playing, I asked him to get off the computer and get outside. All parents do this, but few of us take the time to truly understand what it is our kids are really doing on that computer. Well my son, now 10, has taught me a huge lesson.