Innovation in action is often portrayed with enterprises built on novel technologies like artificial intelligence or quantum computing, but there is much more to this concept than the admittedly broad world of IT. Over this past year, Research Money learned a great deal about what has been termed the “Blue Economy”, commercial undertakings based on innovations with roots in various aspects of the marine environment. Canada has a lot of that environment to work with, which is why we asked the question about what this Blue Economy might look like in the future. We also noted how much of what is known about Canada’s marine settings is part of the traditional knowledge of indigenous peoples, who can be expected to participate in the growth of this new sector.
Another innovation-driven sector is biomanufacturing, which may not move at the same pace as the world of electronic gadgetry, but could ultimately usher much more fundamental changes into our lives. Research Money’s 2022 conference dealt with the important question of who would lead the firms responsible for such changes, as well as the even more basic matter of how these leaders will be trained. As for how impressive such innovation would be, Research Money correspondent Leah Geller highlighted an entirely new approach to cancer, which could set the stage for breakthroughs across the entire spectrum of human disease.
Finally, one of Canada’s greatest ongoing areas of economic strength is agri-food production. Although most of us, with little direct experience or knowledge of this industry beyond what we find in grocery store aisles, would not see Canadian agriculture as a hotbed of innovation, it is just that. What happens on farms can be the first step toward addressing climate change, according to the Agri-Food Innovation Council. Similarly, many of us might not suspect that Canada is nothing less than a global superpower when it comes to plant-based food products, an area that is ripe for innovation-based expansion into global markets. Nevertheless, food remains a challenging, complex frontier for innovation, as a national conference revealed near the end of the year.