Skills for Business Innovation Success: It’s People Who Innovate

The Conference Board of Canada, 129 pages, April 9, 2014
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Canada’s innovation track record is weak. This report looks at firm-level innovation through the lens of skills, attitudes, and behaviours, and makes recommendations for businesses, governments, post-secondary institutions and individuals.

Cette publication comprend un résumé en français.

Document Highlights

Innovation is important to Canada’s social and economic well-being. However, Canada’s innovation track record is weak. This report looks at firm-level innovation through the lens of skills, attitudes, and behaviours, and the contribution that people make to business innovation and commercialization success. The authors conducted an extensive literature review, analyzed data from the Centre for Business Innovation’s (CBI’s) Survey on Innovation Metrics and Management, carried out in-depth interviews, and gathered input from the Conference Board’s centres, councils, and executive networks. Based on that research, they recommend ways that businesses, governments, post-secondary institutions, and individuals can use the Conference Board’s Innovation Skills Profile 2.0 and Commercialization Skills Profile—which encapsulate the skills individuals need in order to contribute to an organization’s innovation performance—as frameworks for dialogue and action.

Table of Contents

Executive Summary


Chapter 1—Innovation, Competitiveness, and Prosperity

  • Objectives
  • Methodology
  • Innovation and Commercialization in Canada
  • Why Innovation Matters

Chapter 2—The Importance of Skills to Firm-Level Innovation

  • Making the Skills Connection: Innovation and Human Capital
  • Skills’ Contribution to Innovation Performance
  • Skills Gaps as Obstacles to Innovation
  • Are Skills Shortages Responsible for Canada’s Weak Innovation Performance?
  • Do Managerial Skills Matter?
  • Conclusion

Chapter 3—Skills for Innovation and Commercialization Success

  • Innovation and Commercialization Success
  • The Conference Board’s Innovation Skills Research
  • Today’s Innovation and Commercialization Skills Needs for Business Success
  • The Innovation and Commercialization Skills Profiles
  • The Collective Skills of Individuals and Teams
  • The Innovation Skills Profile 2.0 (ISP2.0)
  • The Commercialization Skills Profile (CSP)
  • Conclusion

Chapter 4—Everything In Its Right Place: Skills for Different Types of Innovation

  • Types of Innovation and Skills Variation
  • Innovation Phases and Skills Variation
  • “Games” of Innovation and Skills Variation
  • How Innovation Affects the Need for Skills and How Skills Affect the Nature of Innovation
  • Supporting Innovation Skills Through Workplace Design and Culture
  • Conclusion

Chapter 5—Developing Innovation and Commercialization Skills

  • Where and How Innovation and Commercialization Skills Are Developed
  • Business Support for Innovation and Commercialization Skills Development
  • Poor Workplace Learning Investments Hurt Business Innovation Performance
  • The General Innovation Skills Aptitude Test 2.0
  • Canada’s Post-Secondary Education System
  • Many of Canada’s PSE Graduates Are Today’s and Tomorrow’s Innovators and Entrepreneurs
  • Developing Innovation and Commercialization Skills in Canada’s PSE Institutions
  • Valuing Experiential and Applied Learning
  • Leveraging the Strengths and Untapped Potential of Canada’s Education System
  • Conclusion

Chapter 6—Opportunities for Action

  • Strategies for Businesses
  • Strategies for Governments
  • Strategies for PSE Institutions
  • Strategies for Individuals
  • Conclusion

Appendix A—Innovation Skills Profile 2.0

Appendix B—Commercialization Skills Profile

Appendix C—Bibliography

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