Centre for Business Innovation (CBI)
The Conference Board of Canada has established the Centre for Business Innovation (CBI) as a five-year initiative to help bring about major improvements in firm-level business innovation in Canada.
Financing Innovation by Established Businesses in Canada
January 2013, Michael Grant
This report focuses on innovation finance, from the perspectives of investors and established, innovative businesses. It discusses the tools and metrics innovators need to use to attract investors.
Who Dimmed the Lights? Canada’s Declining Global Competitiveness Ranking, September 2012, Douglas Watt
This briefing provides and overview of the World Economic Forum’s global competitiveness rankings. It examines Canada’s current competitiveness, and highlights several obstacles that continue to prevent Canada from becoming a more competitive and productive country.
Read a transcript of a live chat organized by the Financial Post on June 4, 2012. Bruce Good, Executive Director of the CBI, was one of three panellists who participated in Instilling Innovation—Who should be closing Canada’s innovation gap?
Mission of the Centre
The CBI’s mission is to:
- learn why Canada is not a leader in business innovation;
- create insights for firms and capital markets that will improve firm-level innovation;
- generate evidence and track our performance; and
- formulate public policies that will successfully stimulate business innovation.
Positive results will help Canada become a world leader in this area, thereby boosting its competitiveness.
The Centre will bring together a group of business, government, and academic leaders to provide guidance; review the findings of the Centre’s in-depth, comprehensive, and objective research; build a shared understanding of the problems and solutions; and advise on disseminating results to firms for uptake and implementation. The core membership of this blue-ribbon advisory group will be the financial supporters of the CBI.
The Centre will seek to learn from other countries’ experiences and apply them to Canada. Some peer countries have outperformed Canada in terms of business innovation, and some sectors are more innovative in countries other than Canada. Learning from the world leaders will be valuable in proposing solutions for our country.
Measurement and Benchmarking
The Coalition for Action on Innovation in Canada, in its recent report, An Action Plan for Prosperity, called for Canada to “… become a nation of innovators.” The report presented a 10-point plan to stimulate innovation in Canada to achieve that goal.
To promote effective action, the Coalition recommended establishing an agency, or mandating an existing organization, to collect and analyze benchmarking and other data that would measure innovation performance and track results. This agency would “… have the capacity to conduct or commission cross-country, sector-by-sector benchmarking of Canadian business to global best practices.”
The Conference Board’s Centre for Business Innovation intends to embrace that measurement and benchmarking mandate and fulfill this role as a core part of its program.
Guiding Principles for the Centre
A Focus on Business Innovation
We see business innovation as one of the greatest issues affecting our country. It is a mega-issue because it involves all sectors of the economy and all regions of Canada. Its direct and indirect impacts influence all aspects of our economic well-being.
A Holistic Vision
The Centre’s focus will be on business innovation in the largest sense. This holistic approach will provide the Centre with an opportunity to generate a comprehensive set of diagnostics and solutions that address innovation at every stage of business activity. This all-encompassing approach to innovation will afford the Centre a highly sophisticated and integrated view that we believe is essential to overcome the obstacles that have so far inhibited business innovation.
A Short- to Long-Term Perspective
The CBI will examine issues from a 1- to 20-year perspective to identify short-term actions in response to immediate challenges, while also addressing structural issues.
An Action-Oriented Approach
The Centre will be action-oriented. It will identify steps toward achievable change that will boost Canada’s business innovation performance. Centre research will be geared to providing concrete suggestions for businesses, governments, regulators, academia, and not-for-profit organizations to respond to opportunities or challenges identified by the research. The Centre’s research will be grounded in the current reality of increasing global competition, the need for greater productivity to compete in foreign markets and address international competition in Canada, the pressure of rapidly evolving information and communications technologies, and rising consumer expectations for new and improved products and services.
Inclusive, Rigorous, and Strongly Independent Research
The Centre will draw on the best information and resources available in Canada and internationally to help inform its research. Members will be heavily involved in identifying research priorities. We will also seek inputs from individuals and organizations that are not Centre members. The research conclusions will be strongly independent and based on the Conference Board’s interpretation of the evidence.
A Partnership-Based Approach
The Centre for Business Innovation will seek appropriate partnerships with individuals, researchers, and institutions that can contribute to achieving the Centre’s goals and mandate. Collaboration with international organizations, such as the OECD and the World Economic Forum, are planned or under way. In addition, the Centre will pursue collaborations with important Canadian initiatives, such as the Toronto Region Research Alliance’s Innovative Cities Initiative and the Coalition for Action on Innovation in Canada. Links to leading university researchers in faculties of management, business, and engineering—across Canada and internationally—will also be established.