State of the Nation 2008

Innovation in Canada takes place in many sectors and stages of the value chain

Forestry

Forestry
Canada's forest industry is working to increase the value of its resource by building flexibility into planning and manufacturing. Through one of their many R&D programs FPInnovations helps companies weigh the benefits of adopting advanced planning systems and flexible manufacturing techniques to improve efficiency and increase production of more profitable specialty grade products.

Energy – Oil and Gas Sector

Energy — Oil and Gas Sector
Proving and piloting technologies on a real world scale is an important step before major investments are made in commercial facilities. In the oil and gas industry this step in the technology development value chain is characterized by a small number of high cost projects. Canada has such projects under way on unconventional natural gas development for coal bed methane and shale gas, and for the capture and storage of carbon emissions.


Transportation - Hydrogen and Fuel Cells

Transportation — Hydrogen and Fuel Cells
British Columbia's Hydrogen Highway vision is to accelerate the commercialization of hydrogen and fuel cell technologies. The Hydrogen Highway features five operational fuelling stations and numerous hydrogen and fuel cell products including cars, pickup trucks, shuttle buses, forklifts and mobile hydrogen stations. BC Transit's demonstration fleet of 20 hydrogen fuel cell buses will provide regular transit service in Whistler, a site of the 2010 Olympic Winter Games. Hydrogen fuel cell buses produce no smog-creating emissions and no greenhouse gas emissions, and they can be twice as efficient as internal combustion engines.


Financial Services

Financial Services
Service sector innovations can result in broad economic impacts and help individuals. New financial services may facilitate transactions and capital allocation, leading to widespread gains in productivity. The invention of mutual funds gave consumers an investment vehicle to diversify investment portfolios with a relatively small investment. Scotiabank has developed a new savings program that lets people automatically round up every purchase made using a Scotiabank debit card to the next multiple of $1 or $5. The roundup amount chosen is automatically transferred to a savings account helping customers achieve their savings goals.


Media

Media
The Internet and electronic media have been catalysts for innovation in the newspaper industry. The availability of free online news has contributed to a decline in readership for printed newspapers, squeezing sales revenues and the emergence of free online bulletin boards has been cutting demand for classified ad space, another important source of revenue. To address these competitive pressures, many newspapers have established significant online presences reinventing themselves through innovative business models. Canadian newspapers are experimenting with combinations of free online content, subscriptions, writer's blogs, and discussion fora in which readers can voice their opinions on recent articles.


Entertainment

Entertainment
Montréal-based circus entertainment company Cirque du Soleil is now an international company with annual revenue exceeding US$700 million and more than 4000 employees including 1000 artists from over 40 countries. Cirque's International Headquarters (IHQ) is a world-class creative laboratory. Still mainly dedicated to creating live shows and presenting them in venues ranging from big tops to arenas, Cirque du Soleil will have 19 different shows performing around the world in 2009. Cirque is committed to integrating excellence in the performing arts with state-of-the-art international technology. Geodezik, a Montréal-based multimedia design and production company, used the award-winning Pandora's Box Media and Showcontrol system to provide video system and content design for the Cirque's first permanent show in Asia, ZAIA. ZAIA tells the story of a young girl's journey through interstellar space, blending light and 3-D visual elements into each scene.


Design and Marketing

Design and Marketing
Design is a new and underestimated aspect of innovation. The success or failure of new products, based on technological innovation, may depend on their design. Design can address existing needs for example, ergonomic keyboards, or be for purely aesthetic purposes. Graphic design and marketing services derive much of their value from the novelty of the service being provided, and so are innovation-driven industries.