When we first started working on this issue, I thought I knew what innovation was. It’s something new and exciting, right? Never before seen? A step forward in the pursuit of progress?
It turns out that’s not really true. Sure, it might be all of those things in one way or another, but innovation is less about invention — making something brand new — and more about combining technologies, new ways of thinking, different applications. Innovations often inspire changes in behaviour and how things are done. The difference is subtle
but important. With that updated definition in my head, it was a privilege to speak to the industry leaders who wrote the introductions for each of the sectors we’ve covered in this issue. I admit I was intimidated at first, given the impressive backgrounds of each professional, but as they began to send in their words about their life’s work, I became less intimidated and more awed by the passion and experience they bring to their jobs (not to mention their willingness to help us out given their very busy schedules!). It’s no wonder that they are well-versed in innovation, because their tireless enthusiasm jumps off the page. Innovation is at Spark Centre’s heart. Supporting tech and innovation companies in Durham Region, to help them develop and grow, is Spark’s reason for being. How fitting then, that as we researched past Canadian innovations and the more than 40 companies featured in this issue, it became abundantly clear that Canada has historically been, and continues to be, synonymous with creativity and ingenuity. We are responsible for so much growth and development both at home and abroad. But what struck me most is that so many of the innovations we feature in this magazine were created to solve real problems, to provide meaningful solutions across sectors. From the archival tidbits we included in our timeline of Canadian innovation, to the people we spoke to for the company profiles, I found myself thinking about how proud I am to be from this country of problem-solvers, of people who wanted to make a difference so much that they took risks and leaps of faith to make something, somewhere, easier, quicker or more effective. It just seems like such a Canadian thing to do. It would be interesting to repeat an issue like this in years to come, to see how these companies have evolved and to see what new developments have made their way to the world. There’s one thing I know for sure, though: Canadians, then and now, are experts at innovation, and if history is any indication, that simple fact will be true forever. See you next time,