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Words of Wisdom: Canadian Innovators Share Their Best Advice

Words of Wisdom: Canadian Innovators Share Their Best Advice

While almost everyone is capable of innovating, few pursue the path less travelled, and even fewer successfully transform their raw ideas into valued products, services or processes. It’s one thing to have an inventive thought, but the innovation journey lies beyond the idea. The leap from inception to reality can be long and hard, but persevering through it all and seeing your idea come to life makes the innovative path a worthy one.

At Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation, we are committed to strengthening Canada’s innovation ecosystem by encouraging aspiring innovators, and rewarding those with the stamina to succeed. In our last blog, we explored what innovation means and why it is important to Canadians. Today, we’re excited to share valuable insights and advice from our 2018 Manning Innovation Award nominees on how to push forward with your idea and steer through the innovative process.

Our 2018 nominees are all too familiar with the challenges that come with pursuing the path to innovation, and while each of them come from unique industries, backgrounds and regions, they share in common their innovative spirits, unshakeable belief, and commitment to success.

We asked: “If you could give one piece of advice to an aspiring innovator, what would it be?” Here’s what they had to say:

Embrace rejection and be prepared to work, hard.

“The advice I have is to be prepared for rejection and believe in what you do. There are no shortcuts, and hard work is required.”

— Lynn Mueller, CEO & Chairman Sharc Energy Systems

Lynn Mueller is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Sharc Energy Systems, the world leader in the field of thermal heat recovery from the 330 billion litres of wastewater that flows through the drains of the world every day. Sharc has grown from a start-up Canadian company to the largest international company in the industry with offices and projects on three continents. Sharc provides heating, cooling and hot water requirements for apartments, businesses and homes cost-effectively and, while doing so, reduces the GHG footprint significantly. There are hundreds of billions of dollars worth of energy discarded every day, and Sharc is there to recover it.

Narrow in on a single problem you’re trying to solve and solve that problem first.

“Focus. Problems sometimes appear huge. Whittle down the problem to a single issue as much as possible, solve that issue first, and then expand again. The key to delivering on your solution is to set regular, achievable goals and check them off, one by one. However, if you have too many priorities, too many goals, too many distractions it becomes very challenging. So - Focus.”

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

Dr. Matthew Bromwich is an Associate Professor of Otolaryngology and Audiology at the University of Ottawa with staff privileges at the Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario. He also happens to be the Founder of SHOEBOX. Together with audiologists, engineers and IT professionals, Dr. Bromwich re-imagined hearing testing as an iPad based interactive tool for health care. This e-health enabled, point-of-care platform includes an award-winning interactive audiometer in a form factor smaller than a shoebox for the purposes of performing clinical grade, manual and automated hearing tests. SHOEBOX brings hearing healthcare to places it was never before available.

Plug into the innovation ecosystem.

“Don't be afraid to connect with the community around you. Go to networking events, meet as many people as possible, and always pay it forward helping where you can. If you don't have a readily accessible community, then build one! You never know who may end up being your next customer, investor or co-founder.”

— Pieter Boekhoff, CEO of Nobal Technologies

Pieter Boekhoff is the Founder of Nobal Technologies, a technology company bent on changing the way people interact with their world. Nobal's primary focus is the development, distribution and sale of their flagship product, The iMirror™. Boekhoff believes in reimagining and reinventing the retail experience. He has started this by re-engineering and enhancing the fitting room experience using world’s most advanced interactive mirror.

Never give up.

“Never give up - keep stickhandling through all the difficulties. Committees don't change the world, bold individuals do.”

— Conrad William Lewis, Founder at eSight Corporation

Inspired by those who live with blindness, Conrad William Lewis and his team of world-class Visioneers poured years of hard work into eSight, intelligent glasses that let those living with legal blindness or low vision see. eSight is worn like a normal pair of glasses. It houses a high-speed, high-definition camera that captures everything you are looking at, and then displays it on two near-to-eye displays. Advanced, medically-validated algorithms optimize and enhance the footage so that your eyes can truly see it, and in real-time. eSight's ability to tilt up and down allows you to always have access to your native peripheral vision, enabling true mobility.

We’re so proud of each of our 2018 nominees, some of whom you’ve heard from today. Winners will be announced later this fall, before being celebrated at the prestigious 2018 Manning Innovation Awards Dinner happening in Toronto on October 24, 2018.

Align your brand with innovation. Be part of Canada’s premier celebration of Canadian innovators at the 37th Manning Innovation Awards.

Let us work with you to co-create an innovative sponsorship package that maximizes your impact, visibility, and recognition as a leader in the innovation ecosystem at our 2018 Manning Innovation Awards. For all sponsorship inquiries, please contact Rachel Gammell by phone 403.930.4334 or email rachel.gammell@manningawards.ca.

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