Innovation is Not Limited to R&D

Blog, Commentary, Information Technology, Les Routledge

One problem I have with the current Ottawa discussion about the need to stimulate innovation is the automatic assumption that innovation can be measured in R&D investment.

Innovation can happen in all elements of a business operation including marketing, sales, distribution, manufacturing process, human resources, financing techniques, and many more.  For example, if a company can figure out how to reduce its cost of capital by 5% and increase the productivity of its workers by 5% through improved processes, is that not as important as some new gizmo when it comes to competing in the world market?

By framing the innovation challenge as one linked to investment in technical research & development, I believe that Jenkins missed the mark in his report.  The challenge is how can Canadian companies and organizations deliver superior value to their clients.  That challenge is only partially met by looking at new technologies.  A lot of time, new management techniques or production/operational processes are more important.