This op-ed was published in The Daily Gleaner on November 11, 2016.
By Dino Trevisani, president, IBM Canada
He spoke at the Halifax Public Library on Monday, November 7 on the topic of “Made-in-Canada Innovation” as part of Universities Canada’s Mindshare speaker series.
Skilled, educated young people are a valuable resource in Canada and, in Atlantic Canada, keeping talented youth in the region is one of the greatest challenges and best opportunities for long-term economic growth.
Young people would prefer to remain here if only they could find good jobs – so we need to give them attractive opportunities. Based on our experience, I know it can be done. Working in collaboration, academia, government and business have the power to tackle outmigration, particularly among our educated youth.
Canadian universities produce a highly talented workforce, world-leading research and groundbreaking innovation.
All levels of government have at their core a mandate focused on job-creation, economic growth and long-term prosperity, and funding to support it.
And the bridge for success is industry. Multinational companies like IBM can provide the technology and expertise, training and mentorship, access to industry researchers and the global market view that can help to put these skilled young people to work.
Imagine what can be achieved when all of these elements are combined and aligned on a common agenda.
At IBM, we share a vision with our university and government partners to create highly skilled jobs and to equip new graduates with the abilities required to drive innovation in Atlantic Canada and across the country.
Thousands of IBM employees – including many new university graduates – are helping organizations in both the private and public sectors use innovative technology to transform their businesses and realize their full potential.
In 2011, IBM acquired Q1 Labs, a company whose security intelligence platform was developed in partnership with the University of New Brunswick. The acquisition served as a catalyst to form our successful global security division, including our research development and customer support centre in Fredericton, which provides assistance to more than 5,000 customers around the globe.
Since then, we’ve continued to grow this business. New Brunswick now serves as a cybersecurity hub in Canada, significantly supporting our global efforts because of the outstanding talent in the province and the support we’ve received from our academic and government partners.
In May, the University of New Brunswick was chosen as one of only eight universities in North America (and only one of three in Canada) to help IBM’s Watson system process and analyze massive amounts of cybersecurity data.
Together, we’re giving students the hands-on experience to help companies and organizations find solutions to real-world problems.
This is just one example of IBM’s major collaboration with all levels of government and educational institutions in the region, and right across the country.
We are planting these seeds of economic development to help transition New Brunswick as well as Nova Scotia into knowledge-worker economies that can tackle huge challenges, like the monumental growth of data and cybercrime, for the benefit of all Canadians and organizations worldwide.
It makes me so proud to see Canadian-made innovation here in Atlantic Canada that can be exported around the world.
But for these initiatives to succeed, it is essential to have committed partners all working towards the same agenda.
As a business leader, I know innovation is the key to success. To create opportunities, you need to work in a space where you can take your business to the next level. Provincial governments here in Atlantic Canada are making that happen. None of our recent successes would be possible without a strong and willing partner in the form of government.
With our partners, we are committed to the economic growth and prosperity of Atlantic Canada. We’re committed to these kinds of strategic partnerships that nurture research and development and build a strong foundation for high value jobs.
This investment and innovation is helping local companies compete in Canada and globally. It also inspires entrepreneurs and other companies to set up locally because we’ve proven with our partners that it can be done.
Collaboration builds a strong knowledge-based economy and made-in-Canada innovation. This is what can happen when silos fall, and when we approach innovation from a standpoint of working together. We’ve already devised the formula for success. We just have to keep harnessing the passion to scale it.
As IBM’s founder, Thomas J. Watson, once said, “Whenever an individual or a business decides that success has been attained, progress stops.”
We can’t let that happen.
IBM is committed to continuing to drive economic development and growth in Atlantic Canada and we know our academia and government partners feel the same.
What we need now are more businesses to come on board – giving our graduates the opportunities to live and work where they want to. Together, we can unlock the potential of our youth and put them in the driver’s seat when it comes to building a brighter future for Atlantic Canada.
About Universities Canada
Universities Canada is the voice of Canada’s universities at home and abroad, advancing higher education, research and innovation for the benefit of all Canadians.
Assistant Director, Communications