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Day 4 of Innovation Week and Some Fantastic Quotes!

There wasn’t an empty seat at the Innovation Hall at the Bruneau Centre at Memorial on Thursday evening as Brendan Paddick and John Risley took the stage.  In case you missed it, here are some inspiring quotes that came out of the evening along with some tips from these two entrepreneurial giants:

Inspiring quotes:

“Data gathering capability is enormous but few people have found a way to monetize on it.”J. Risley

“Permission to fail was part of our corporate DNA.” B. Paddick

“We didn’t celebrate success or look down on failure, we celebrated trying it!” B. Paddick

“Failure is an enormous life experience that cannot be replicated. J. Risley

“Look for someone who starts something and finishes what they set out to do.” B. Paddick

Lessons learned (and a few more quotes we loved):

Success is learning from your failure; if you crash into a wall, get back up, look at it and find a way around it. – J. Risley

Complaining about government is not helpful; if you see a problem, do something about it. – J. Risley

We (Atlantic Canada) understand that we need to collaborate and we are doing that (pertaining to ocean technology and clusters)! J. Risley

Capital goes where it is welcome but stays where it is loved; support your entrepreneurs! B. Paddick

On Innovation

“The pace of change is going to accelerate and give rise to opportunities and a more competitive landscape; speed to market is super important.” J. Risley

“We need to champion and support entrepreneurs once they arrive because that is when they need it most.” B. Paddick

Day 2 Recap of Innovation Week Events in St. John’s

It’s difficult to get out to every single event that’s happening during Innovation Week. In case you missed some of the events, here’s the recap for Tuesday, May 9!

Invest Atlantic

The Genesis Centre hosted a kickoff event for the Invest Atlantic Conference 2017.  The event was held at the Bier Market and more than 40 people participated in a panel discussion about collaboration, innovation and globalization.  The panelists were Bob Williamson, founder, Invest Atlantic; Craig Rowe, CEO, ClearRisk; Michelle Simms, CEO, Genesis; and Jeff Harriman, Capital Markets Specialist, New Brunswick Securities Commission.

Invest Atlantic will take place at the Sheraton Hotel in St. John’s from September 19-20, 2017 so mark the date in your calendar.  The conference will be chaired by Paul Antle, CEO of Pluto Investments with the theme of ‘Get Collaborative. Get Innovative. Go Global.’  As Atlantic Canada’s largest networking event for more than 300 start-ups, entrepreneurs and investors, Invest Atlantic is THE place to help you connect and grow your business.

We’re bringing some of North America’s most noted investors together with the region’s newest and fastest growing companies for two days of focused discussions on everything from raising capital and collaboration, to partnerships and succession planning.

We had a great kick-off event during Innovation Week and we want to keep the conversation going right up to the fall when Invest Atlantic takes place here. See you there!

Innovation is a Buzzword – Innovation Audits

Ryan Murphy is a Newfoundlander with a freshly minted Master’s degree from OCAD University in Toronto. He held a workshop at Common Ground about the meaning of the word ‘innovation’ and discussed the concept of an ‘innovation audit.’ Here are a few takeaways from Ryan’s session:

  • We think about innovation in technology and entrepreneurship, but innovation happens in all formats, scales, and contexts. An innovation is any deliberate change that improves the creation, delivery, or capture of value for someone.
  • Studying the innovation process gives us a framework to discover gaps and opportunities in how we innovate as individuals, organizations, and as a province. We can conduct an ‘innovation audit’ using the process to identify these key points of intervention.

Find out more about innovation auditing at

  • Most approaches to innovation focus on the enhancing the innovation environment, but we need to build our innovation skills. Ryan’s research unearthed 12 key learning domains and linked them to how innovation happens, helping educators, managers, and policymakers develop innovation capacity through skill development. These skill domains can be explored at Check them out.
  • Our focus on technology and entrepreneurship innovation may cause us to miss important opportunities in other industries.
  • Ryan’s research also unearthed innovation orientations: the different approaches to innovation that emphasize certain outputs and tactics, but fundamentally follow the same process and use the same skills. The first three Ryan identified were Technology & Science, Entrepreneurship & Commercial, and Social & Sustainability. The audience discussed several others, including Health, Indigenous, Arts & Cultural, Policy, and Activism.

The workshop ended with a lively discussion about how the language we use can reinforce or limit our innovative capacity.

Another Amazing NATI Knowledge Summit

The NATI team did it again! They pulled off yet another high caliber, energizing and inspiring Knowledge Summit at the Sheraton in St. John’s. The speaker line-up and expert panel were amazing and the 160 attendees in the room finished the day with lots of ideas on how to inject innovation into their companies.

Duncan Stewart is Director of TMT Research for Deloitte Canada, a globally recognized expert on the forecasting of consumer and enterprise technology, media & telecommunications trends. Duncan’s “Predictions” presentation was a high-energy walkthrough of the hottest technologies that will be hitting the market – with some commentary on the technologies that won’t last into the future. Hint: Don’t get too attached to wearable technology for your head because it’s on the ‘it won’t last’ list. 5G networks, smart phones, IOT and AI were just some of the topics he covered. If you missed him at the Knowledge Summit and have an opportunity to hear him speak somewhere else, don’t miss it!

Next up was Jevon MacDonald and what a powerhouse of knowledge he was. Jevon is the CEO of Manifold and previously was the co-founder/CEO of which was acquired by He is co-founder of Volta Labs in Halifax and could write the manual on how to start a company and scale it. Jevon spoke of the importance of building tech companies in Atlantic Canada and making sure we have the technical talent to be able to fill the pipeline as the sector grows. Jevon was instrumental in getting coding into the curriculum in schools in Nova Scotia. After hearing Jevon speak, it only confirms that this is something we badly need in all of our schools in NL.  He’s an angel investor as well and spoke about how we need to change the mindset around looking at start-ups that have closed their doors as ‘failures.’ When investing, Jevon looks for founders who have experience with a previous company and sees it as a huge asset.

The only word to describe the panel discussion that followed on “Innovating in a Global Economy,” is ‘knock-out!’ Moderated by Ajay Pande, Chair of NATI’s Board of Directors, the panel consisted of Kendra MacDonald, Gerard Duggan, Emad Rizkalla and Catherine Courage. They shared their insights on why NL companies need to think globally when it comes to customers and many of them spoke about ways they create a culture of innovation in their own companies. Estonia and Israel came up, as two super innovative countries and the idea was discussed that NL companies need to think of themselves as being able to be the first to market with a particular innovation. We can be leaders in technology development.

Catherine Courage, VP of Product Design and Experience for Google Ads and Commerce with Google, delivered a very inspiring presentation on how to ignite innovation in a corporate culture. When you work at Google, possibly the most innovative company in the world, the sky’s the limit on their corporate innovation culture. Catherine’s insights were inspiring and at the same time, practical – and everyone in the room went away with ideas on how to infuse some Google-style innovation into their start-ups and organizations!

Up next was Lyle Wetsch, Associate Professor of Marketing at the Faculty of Business Administration at Memorial University. Lyle never disappoints. He’s a serious, leading-edge technology guru who has his finger on the pulse of the social media world. His presentation this year was “The 2017 Social Media World is Immersive and Engaging: Are you ready?” After hearing Lyle talk about the way that social media is changing the world and the incredible business applications that come with it, if you’re not ready, you better get ready.

Ken Singer, Managing Director of the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology at UC Berkeley, and Chair of the European Innovation Academy wrapped up the day with a thought-provoking (and very funny) talk about the technology work and where we go next. So many important themes and ideas were covered. Perhaps one of the important takeaways is the advantage NL has when it comes to tapping into local talent in order to grow our advanced technology sector. Often we think that because we are in a small place, that it’s a disadvantage. Not at all! If we can collaborate better and make sure our post-secondary institutions are graduating students with the right skills, we can build a thriving tech sector here.

Ken made a good point that the opposite is true with the Silicon Valley. It is such a large market with so many tech giants competing for talent, it is difficult for companies to recruit top graduates.

We need to increase our appetite for risk taking and risk being wrong. As Ken said, in the start-up world, it’s inherent to risk being wrong. We’ll leave you with a great quote from him, “A start-up is an act of rebellion.”

There are 2 more days left in Innovation Week! Be sure to check out the events at:

Innovation Week is Here!

Day 1 Recap

Innovation Week is off to a great start. Common Ground was packed with people keen to launch the week. NATI’s Ron Taylor acted as emcee and spoke of the value of the advanced technology sector at $1.6 billion dollars. Minister Christopher Mitchelmore spoke about the province’s Innovation Strategy and the importance of the advanced technology sector. Karen Skinner, Director General of Regional Operations for ACOA, Newfoundland and Labrador, brought greetings to the audience and spoke about how dynamic the technology sector is in Newfoundland and Labrador.

Up next was Memorial’s Centre for Social Enterprise: Sharing the Journey: The Many Faces of Social Innovation and Success with Dr. Julielynn Wong. She is Founder, Chairman, & CEO of Medical Makers and 3D4MD.  Dr. Wong brought her lived experiences as a social innovator to St. John’s to inspire and guide budding innovators. She is a Harvard-educated physician-scientist, innovator, and educator whose life’s mission is to take technology to the extreme benefit of the world. She is internationally recognized as a 3D printing, drone, and digital health pioneer who uses cutting-edge technology to deliver healthcare solutions across diverse environments, from outer space to remote communities with limited access to healthcare resources.

In her session, she talked about the need for solutions for big problems using low cost technology; thus the use of 3D printing. She brought samples of prosthetics, tools, and other health supports that were printed as a part of her Medical Makers company. She also emphasized the need for empathy in innovation – we need to place ourselves in the shoes of our customer or patient to truly understand what they need.

NEIA’s Clean Tech Innovation Connector event had an excellent turnout of attendees and speakers from both Memorial University (including Grenfell Campus and the Marine Institute), and the College of the North Atlantic. It was great to see some industry professionals who attended and spoke about challenges they face that can be solved through R&D and collaboration.

The Innovation Connector hosted 24 researchers presenting their innovative research across four different themes:


  • Cleantech in Ocean Industries
  • Cleantech in Waste and Water
  • Cleantech in Energy
  • And Clean tech in other industries


The researchers praised the relaxed and casual atmosphere, as they were given the opportunity to present their work to a tailored group of interested attendees. The event also included NL firms communicating their research needs. A great example of this was with Shell-Ex, a company on the leading edge of transforming fish by-products into commercial applications. They explained where they could use assistance from the research community in the development of new, innovative products.

The networking sessions saw great interaction and conversation between the researchers who presented and attendees who were there to collaborate. With a buffet style lunch in the “Connector Room,” guests were treated to both a great space for networking and a great lunch.

The event concluded with some demonstrations of products and research, and many stayed around to network and talk about future collaboration.

Memorable quote: “We are not working with waste; we call it a misplaced resource.”

This became an important concept, shown throughout a lot of presentations, because it highlighted the valuable resources a person or business may not be aware they are losing, when a resource is not being used to its full potential! Many of our researchers presented on using a resource to its full potential and minimizing its waste – which yields higher profit. This became of great interest to our attendees in the natural resource sector.

NEIA would like to thank their event partners:

  • Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC)
  • Research and Development Corporation (RDC)
  • Memorial University, including Grenfell Campus and the Marine Institute and the College of the North Atlantic

See you next year. And let’s keep the collaboration going!

20 Events Planned for Innovation Week

Innovation Week is next week!  19 different partner organizations have put together what may the best Innovation Week yet. New events have been added to the schedule and we can definitely say that the week offers something for everyone. Registration is open for all events at

Here’s the scoop on the latest events:

The news conference to kick off the week will be on Monday, May 8 at 10 a.m. at Common Ground.  Then stick around Common Ground for two events happening that day. The Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship and Start-up Canada will bring the ecosystem together for an “Entrepreneurial Ecosystem Workshop.”

Do you dream of creating technology that helps people in remote locations? Head over to MUN to meet Dr. Julielynn Wong, a Harvard-educated physician-scientist, innovator, and educator whose solutions are used in outer space! She will be bringing her experience as a social innovator to St. John’s to inspire and guide budding innovators.

Tuesday, May 9 keeps the conversation and collaboration going. There’s a workshop geared for MUN students by Richard Spence and Renee Tavares with Startup Canada. If you’re interested in creating a thriving entrepreneurial environment at Memorial, this workshop is for you!

How do we practice innovation? Can we learn it? Explore the answers to these questions over a light lunch at Common Ground with Ryan Murphy at Common Ground starting at Noon.

On Wednesday, May 10, NATI has a full day of inspiration and innovation planned. It’s NATI’s Knowledge Summit where some of the key players and decision makers in the province’s technology community gather to learn from experts and share ideas. There’s a stellar line-up of speakers this year. Newfoundlander Catherine Courage, VP with Google; Ken Singer, Managing Director of the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology at the University of California; Duncan Stewart with Deloitte Canada; and digital marketing expert Lyle Wetsch from Memorial University are all on the speaker slate.

Also at the Sheraton Hotel that day, the Manning Innovation Awards will introduce their Atlantic Canada nominees at 4 p.m. Kris McNeil, founder of Solace Power, is a nominee. Good luck Kris!

Back at MUN, Cambridge University’s Social Ventures: Learning from the UK Experience, will take place at 7 p.m. in the Suncor Energy Hall at the School of Music. Dr. Neil Stott and Professor Paul Tracey will give an interactive presentation about how to support social enterprise development based on their experience in rural areas in the U.K.

Thursday, May 11 is another full day. Hop on the bus at 8:30 a.m. and go on an R&D tour of the some of the most innovative companies in the province. RDC has a great morning in store.  Grab some lunch and make your way to the Marine Institute at 1 p.m. for a demo of world-leading “smart” technology. You’ll see 3D Printed Crab Processing Robotics.

That evening, John Risley and Brendan Paddick will be taking the stage at the Bruneau Centre at MUN for Yarns and Networking at 7 p.m. This is a rare opportunity to meet these entrepreneurial giants.

On Friday, May 12, the St. John’s Board of Trade will host “Ideas with Impact” with Shelli Baltman at Deloitte’s beautiful office. That evening, the Social Innovation Challenge starts at 5 p.m. at the Johnson GeoCentre.

Saturday, May 13 caps off the week with three incredible events!

It’s ‘National Girls Learning Code’ Day. A coding workshop will take place at NOCLand Office for girls aged 8-13.  A Science Rendez-Vous is open to all ages atthe Science building at MUN.

And finally, the show we have all been waiting for. “UN/SETTLED” by TEDxYouth@StJohns starts at 6 p.m. at the D.F. Cook Recital Hall on campus.

Check out the complete schedule at

Get the Innovation Week App!

Built by the College of the North Atlantic, an app is available for Innovation Week to keep everyone up-to-date on all the news and events taking place. The free app is available on iOS and Android in the App Store as IWNL.




Countdown to Innovation Week 2017 Begins

Innovation Week is less than a month away from May 8-13 and we have a solid line-up of speakers and sessions to celebrate the entrepreneurial spirit in Newfoundland and Labrador. The fourth annual Innovation Week will bring businesses, investors, researchers and youth together to share ideas on how to grow the province’s key sectors. Whether you’re looking to pitch your idea or discover new ways of doing old things, you can connect with like-minded people in a creative, entrepreneurial forum.

More events are being added to the schedule at:

We’ll kick things off with a news conference to announce the official event line-up on Monday, May 8 at Common Ground.  On Monday afternoon, NEIA is organizing the province’s first ever Clean Tech Innovation Connector to connect the clean technology research that’s happening in multiple sectors in the province, with market opportunities. The recent federal budget made clean tech a priority, backing it up with more than $2.2-billion in clean-tech spending. This is a sector to be in! The connector event is a great way to for businesses and researchers to meet and build new partnerships.

Start-up Canada will be back this year helping us continue to build our entrepreneurial ecosystem. YMCA Enterprise, Futurpreneur, Genesis Centre, Propel ICT, Common Ground and the Memorial Centre for Entrepreneurship will all be involved in this event.

Ever wonder what goes on in some of the coolest, most innovative companies in St. John’s?! Now’s your opportunity to find out. On Tuesday, May 9, board the bus as the Research & Development Corporation (RDC) takes you on an exclusive “Innovation Tour” of the top innovators in St. John’s. Stay tuned for more details.

NATI has a full day of inspiration and innovation planned on Wednesday. It’s NATI’s Knowledge Summit where some of the key players and decision makers in the province’s technology community gather to learn from experts and share ideas. There’s a stellar line-up of speakers this year. Newfoundlander Catherine Courage, VP with Google; Ken Singer, Managing Director of the Sutardja Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology at the University of California; Duncan Stewart with Deloitte Canada; and digital marketing expert Lyle Wetsch from Memorial University are all on the speaker slate.

We want to give a shout-out to Grand Falls-Windsor and their event happening on Wednesday, May 10. Excite Corp. is hosting a session on one of the hottest sectors: healthcare technology.  Dr. Alice Landis-McGrath will be in town talking about how she is using cognitive technologies in cancer care in San Francisco.

Worms and lobsters. Yes, that’s right. On Thursday, May 11, John Risley of Clearwater Seafoods and Brendan Paddick, Chair of Nalcor, are teaming up for a fireside chat about how they got their start in business by selling worms and lobsters in Atlantic Canada. How did they go on to build a Caribbean telecommunications company that sold for an impressive $1.85 billion USD? Sounds intriguing!

On Friday, May 12, head down to Deloitte’s beautiful office on Springdale St. for the St. John’s Board of Trade event Ideas with Impact. Shelli Baltman is founder of The Idea Suite, a Toronto-based innovation agency. She will be hosting an interactive session on how to inject innovation into any company, regardless of size.

Feeling UN/SETTLED? Check out TEDxYouth@StJohns event on Saturday, May 13. Designed for youth aged 12-25, this year’s theme explores the constantly shifting and evolving world facing youth in the province. This event sold out last year, so get your tickets early.

May 13 is also National Girls Learning Code Day! What a great way to end Innovation Week.

Check out the complete schedule at