Market-driven innovation is the key to B.C.’s economic growth
by Carl Anderson, President & CEO of the BC Innovation Council
When people think of tech and innovation, they often think the internet and mobile apps. In doing so, they’re only half right. An innovation can be many different things, big or small – a new approach, process, idea or product. The crucial point is that it must be a significant improvement or make something easier, simpler, faster, better. And the types of innovations being produced in B.C. have changed dramatically over the past 100 years. Case in point: more than a century ago, according to reporting from journalist Sunny Dhillon, newspaper publisher Joseph Coyle heard a hotel manager and a delivery boy arguing. The hotelier was upset that the eggs he ordered were frequently broken in their baskets upon arrival. Coyle set out to solve this problem. What did he do? He invented the egg carton. That’s right – the egg carton we know and are still using today was developed in Smithers.
What makes Coyle’s invention special is that it responded to a market need, and it was also, in a sense, cross-sector, supporting agriculture and transportation. It was also a problem that people and businesses faced all over the world.
Coyle followed a blueprint that the most successful tech-enabled businesses in B.C. should follow today: solve a real local challenge that can be a gateway to global customers. It’s a recipe that will not only help our tech firms; it’s an approach that will also drive continued growth in B.C.’s traditional industries and our regional communities. This type of solutions-focused, market-driven innovation is key to fueling B.C.’s economy.
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