Innovation Week highlights need for innovation across all sectors

Innovation Week 2017

When people think of innovation, their minds often gravitate to the Information, Communications and Technology (ITC) sector. But, the organizers behind Innovation Week 2017 want more people and businesses to look at innovating to get ahead and be successful.

From May 4-12th, the Province of New Brunswick is highlighting innovation across all sectors and is partnering with a number of organizations across the province including Brilliant Labs, BioNB, Connexionworks, Enterprise Saint John, Ignite Fredericton, 3plus Corporation, NBIF, Planet Hatch, Social Enterprise Hub, Université de Moncton and Venn Innovation.

“With this year’s Innovation week, we really wanted to celebrate and demonstrate the broad impact of innovation across the province. It’s not just economic innovation, it’s not just people in lab coats coming up with cool science ideas. It’s social innovation, it’s innovation in education and health. We have creative, innovative people across all segments of our society,” says Susan Holt, Chief of Business Relationships for the Province of New Brunswick.

Events are varied with everything from a Youth Entrepreneurship Regional Pitch Competition to how innovative thinking can end generational poverty. Other events will show businesses how they can use innovative ways to tell their story and market it to drive interest to their brand. Almost all of the events are free, but people are asked to register.

The KIRA Awards was a paid event but it’s volunteer based and the money goes back into covering the cost of the celebration.  The Knowledge and Innovation Recognition Awards (KIRA) began 19 years ago.

“KIRA fills a gap around recognition and the ability to promote and stand up in a crowd and say, we are doing some significant things,” says Larry Shaw, CEO of Knowledge Park-Ignite Fredericton and host of the event.

This year’s event, held at the Fredericton Convention Centre on May 4th  was particularly special to Saint John start-up, EhEye. The artificial intelligence company that specializes in video analytics was among 20 other finalists who showcased their businesses at an Innovation Luncheon session. EhEye later won the “Most Innovative Start-Up” and “Innovation through Technology” Awards.

Enterprise Saint John’s Mark Breen is helping to coordinate innovation events for Saint John from May 8-11th. Some sessions like “How to Stop Boring your Friends & Neighbors on Facebook”, have been so popular more space had to be added.

“It’s a fun session on how to create and release interesting, engaging content on social media. But, our sessions have something for everyone; social innovation to tackle poverty, new technology to help small businesses increase their productivity, and teaching a process of applied creativity for people to solve complex problems,” says Breen, who also runs the Catalyst Innovation Program for Enterprise Saint John.”

It’s time to keep innovating New Brunswick!  If you want to learn more about Innovation Week 2017 events in Saint John, go here.

For more information on events around our province, go here.

Originally Published in the Saint John Telegraph Journal, May 9, 2017