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Innovation Blog

What is innovation — and why should Canadians care?


Innovation: ( noun ) a new idea, device, or method; the act or process of introducing new ideas, devices or methods. Source: Merriam Webster Dictionary

Today, the word innovation is ubiquitous, with countless meanings and uses. At the Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation, we reward and celebrate innovators who generate new ideas to develop a product, service or process. Their innovations demonstrate intellectual achievement, are unique, impactful, and bring benefit to the human experience here and around the world. Innovation redefines what is possible. What does innovation mean to you? 

Hear from Canada’s leading innovators:

In an attempt to capture the breadth of what innovation means to those who are working within Canada’s innovation ecosystem, we asked our 2018 Manning Awards nominees to share what innovation means to them and why it is important. Here’s a sampling of answers shared by our nominees.

“People often think of innovation as 'having a great idea.' Innovation starts with an idea, but it’s actually the entire process of materializing the idea that generates impact. To me, the core of innovation is iteration; putting something in the world, measuring its impact and improving on it.”

— Shawn Young, Co-founder and CEO of Classcraft


“Innovation, for me, is a way of thinking that leads to the most effective way to better a situation, a process or people’s lives. It usually requires ‘out of the box’ thinking on the one hand and real practicality on the other. I believe that innovation is important on both the micro and macro level. It is what gives us hope that things will get better when otherwise progress may look unlikely and we may feel caught in an unyielding system.”

— Dr. Avinoam Nativ, developed the NeuroGym Concept and Technology


“Innovation is literally the process of taking ideas from inception to reality. Without it, you simply have ideas and can never have an impact on the world. Innovation drives change in the world. Ideally, innovation comes from a place of solving problems and making improvements.

— Matthew Bromwich, Founder, Chief Medical Officer of SHOEBOX Audiometry


“In my mind, innovation is simply about doing things better. So from that perspective, we’re all capable of innovation. Having said that, game changing innovations involve taking significant risks. The more transformative the innovation, the greater the risks involved. Innovation is essential to improve the lives of Canadians and people all around the world, and to succeed in increasingly competitive global markets. The future of Canadian prosperity depends on our ability to create valuable innovations that we can offer to the world.”

— Dr. Kamran Khan Founder of BioDiaspora / BlueDot


“Innovation is a natural and intrinsic part of the human evolution process. Innovation is how the society’s desire to evolve is expressed. Innovation represents an inseparable part of the human nature; people cannot grow up without the desire to reinvent the way they live. Without innovation, this is no evolution; that’s even more true when you are talking about civilization. Innovation is an essential ingredient of life.”

— Stéphane Bédard Founder and CEO of Keeogo Dermoskeleton


Innovation in Canada – How do we measure up?

The Conference Board of Canada recently released its annual innovation report card, and Canada’s C rating and 12th place ranking have many concerned about the country’s performance and global competitiveness.

We’re committed to raising that ranking through our work. To succeed as an innovation nation, we need to shine a light on the Canadian innovators of today, who are shaping tomorrow. By discovering, encouraging and rewarding Canadian innovators, we can strengthen Canada’s innovation culture, elevate the pride of our nation, and inspire and mobilize the next generation of innovators.

To learn how you can help support Canada’s innovation ecosystem, please contact rachel.gammell@manningawards.ca.

As Dr. Kamran Khan stated, “we’re all capable of innovation.” The future of Canada depends on it.

Do you have a definition of innovation? We’d love to hear from you.

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