A blueprint for innovation: lessons learned at the OCE Discovery 11 conference

Photo of Premier Dalton McGuintyOn Tuesday, the Discovery 11 conference, produced by the Ontario Centres of Excellence (OCE), kicked-off in Toronto with a packed audience of 2,500 entrepreneurs, government representatives, academia and visionaries.

Premier Dalton McGuinty opened up the event by speaking about Ontario’s new Social Innovation Wiki – an online destination where citizens, non-for-profit organizations, businesses and public agencies can collaborate and develop a policy framework for social innovation in the province.

As Ontario’s first ever Minister of Research & Innovation, McGuinty told the audience that he “has never lost his sense of wonder for scientific discovery.” He emphasized the need for collaboration to drive innovation forward and said that “the race to innovate doesn’t have a finish line” and “if you want to go far, go together.”

Seven simple truths about building billion dollar businesses

Keynote speaker David Thompson, Founder and Chairman of The Blueprint Growth Institute then imparted his expertise and advice on how to build a $1 billion business.

He shared seven simple truths about how companies like Microsoft and Google have systematically been able to achieve such rapid, high growth:

  1. Create and sustain a breakthrough value proposition
  2. Re-define your market
  3. Go after marquee customers who will fuel exponential revenue growth
  4. Leverage alliances to break into new markets
  5. Be cash flow positive early
  6. Seek management in pairs (inside-outside leadership)
  7. Build a balanced board that is comprised of essential experts

Ontario Projection: Advances in 3D

2011 is the first year that the OCE has hosted an entire stream dedicated to “Advances in 3D.” I sat in on the “3D Consumer Experience – Platforms Evolution” panel discussion and was blown away by the breadth and scope of the 3D technologies being developed in Ontario and how they can help drive new industry breakthroughs.

3D panel discussion slideJames Stewart from Toronto-based Geneva Film Co. showcased an example of a technology that his company is building to help the medical field. With 3D scanning and mapping technologies, surgeons will one day be able to pinpoint the shape and texture of their patients’ diseases (i.e. cancerous tumours, etc.) while on the operating table.

The panel debated over when all media would be available in 3D. Apparently, glasses-free 3D will happen on mobile tablets and phones before television because it is a 1:1 experience for the user with the device. It’s seemingly more difficult to do this for a bigger audience that is sitting further away from a screen. That’s because the glasses-free camera needs to capture multiple views from each individual’s eyes.

The panel told the audience that the next evolution will be screen-free 3D. However, since glasses-free TVs are already extremely expensive, it might be a little while until we’re able to purchase these technologies at a reasonable price.

Discovery 11 recently won an award for the “Best Tradeshow in Canada 2010.”