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!