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Activities of the Centre

The Centre will focus on five areas that cover the full range of global, business, and public policy environmental factors; and firm-specific factors that drive business innovation performance.

Area 1—Business Strategies for Firms

Area 1 covers firm-level business capacity, leadership, and culture that are essential for innovation. It will emphasize both services and goods-producing industries. It will include operational firm-level decision-making, production process improvement techniques, efficiency strategies, investment options, engagement in international business, risk assessment processes, supply chain interaction, foreign capital attraction, headquarters and head office functions, mergers and acquisitions, university and college partnerships for innovation, intellectual property development and protection, and developing internal corporate innovation culture. The impact of business size on the capacity of firms to innovate and the barriers to business growth will be explored. Quantitative analysis of firm-level data will be undertaken in diagnostics and in developing solutions for use by firms. The goal is to develop a stronger understanding of how firms make decisions on investing in innovation in order to raise awareness and stimulate more firms to innovate.

Area 2—Capital Markets

Area 2 deals with the role and behaviour of capital markets in funding firm-level business innovation. Innovation involves risk, and capital markets finance “risky” ventures by bringing innovators together with investors who want to fund the development and commercialization of new products, services, or technologies. Highly innovative firms need risk capital to resource their new initiatives. But the nature of capital markets will determine their ability and willingness to do so, as well as the cost. Deep and efficient capital markets effectively facilitate innovation by improving the access to risk capital and by lowering its cost. All major innovation clusters (e.g., Silicon Valley) are accompanied by appropriate capital markets. Quantitative analysis of the capital markets’ activity, related to business innovation, will be carried out. The role of debt and equity investment in financing innovation activity will be examined.

Area 3—People

This area examines all aspects of education, innovation skills development, and labour force training. It will include recruiting, retaining, and rewarding employees; innovation skills curriculum; skills assessment and testing; education programs to develop highly innovative graduates; and training for employees. Quantitative analysis of education-system and firm-level data about recruiting, training, rewarding, and promoting innovators will be undertaken in diagnostics and in developing solutions for use by firms.

Area 4—Public Policy

Area 4 studies public policy (by all levels of government) that funds, supports, encourages, inhibits, or otherwise affects firm-level innovation activity. It will include public policy and enabling taxation, laws and regulations, trade and investment policy, public procurement, and government programs to encourage and sustain firm-level innovation. This area will also address the interrelationship of innovation policy with policy in related areas such as environment, health, foreign direct investment, trade, and regional economic development. Quantitative analysis of the impacts of policies, laws, regulations, and governmental reviews and oversight (e.g., Investment Review Panel) on the innovation behaviour of firms will be undertaken.

Area 5—Performance Measurement and Macro Analysis

This area covers innovation performance measurement and the macro analysis of business sectors, regions, provinces, country, and overall market conditions (e.g., market size, level of competition, market access to capital, foreign trade and direct investment activity, and mergers and acquisitions activity). It will incorporate broad-ranging measures of innovation performance that include new metrics for measuring innovation at the firm level, sectoral and regional analyses of business innovation, benchmarking, scenario modelling, and innovation forecasts. Benchmarking of successful national models for supporting business innovation, such as the German model, will be conducted to identify global best performances.

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