December 14th, 2020

The business of innovation – bridging the gap between ideas and results

The Barrett CTI building from across the parking lot. The building is grey with orange and glass accents

Applied research has always been transformational. While the scale of the projects vary, the importance of this approach to innovation has been underscored amid a global pandemic that has caused mass disruption to our economy.

Applied research projects lower barriers for small- and medium–sized enterprises (SMEs) to adopt new technology and invest in research and development. Organizations also benefit from expertise and access to state-of-the-art facilities, equipment and technical resources.

As I said recently in an Op-Ed featured in the Canadian Business Journal, Humber serves as an innovation intermediary for organizations of all sizes and from all industrial and social sectors.

We work with SMEs on technology adoption to improve their outcomes; help learners develop the skills they need to thrive and adapt; and, connect students and businesses to creatively solve on-the-ground challenges and nurture new ideas.

Research Infosource is a research, consulting, and publishing firm specializing in the areas of policy, research, business intelligence and analysis on science, technology, innovation, and the Canadian research and development ecosystem.

Each year, they publish Canada's Innovation Leaders which includes a ranking and analysis of Canada's leading research colleges that are enhancing Canada's global competitiveness in the knowledge economy.

In their latest rankings that[EM1]  were released today, Humber College made great strides amongst our Canadian college counterparts. 

Humber was ranked:

  • 1st in Canada for Research Partnerships
  • 3rd in Canada for Industry Research Income
  • 6th in national ranking

This is in no small part a result of our network of Centres of Innovation (COIs). The COIs encourage interdisciplinary collaboration to solve complex, real-world challenges. The network focuses on five areas of proven strength and industry sector growth: technology, creative business, health and wellness, entrepreneurship and social innovation.

We have been working to expand and develop our network over the last few years and build on the unique nature of our COI network approach. This work has yielded great results, not just for our partners, students and faculty, but in our steady climb in these rankings. 

Humber is focused on providing such opportunities to students and helping partner organizations gain market share and advance their strategic priorities - whether it is creating a breath-controlled video game controller for people with ALS or exploring how mindfulness can reduce the mental health challenges in College students. 

With this in mind, Humber recently became the exclusive Canadian educational provider of Innovation 360, a data-driven methodology and a suite of tools for innovation management. Companies that leverage Innovation 360's methodology and tools to align their capabilities to their strategy can expect a 20-25% increase in annual growth and up to 30% faster product and service development.

As we look ahead to 2021, we will continue to actively reach out and engage with Canadian SMEs as part of our ongoing efforts to respond to COVID-19 and stimulate economic recovery

The opportunity to participate in an applied research project alongside industry or community leaders can be game changing for students and help keep partner organizations in the business of innovation.