Innovation Doesn’t Have to Be a Jet Pack: Innovating in Baby Steps is Much More Realistic

Earlier this week Salesforce hosted 5,000 of their users and fans at a mini Dreamforce road show in Canada’s largest city.

The day included a power-packed panel moderated by Salesforces’s Peter Coffee that included some Internet heavyweights—well at least the Canadian head honchos.

The panel consisted of Google Canada Managing Director Chris O’Neill, Facebook Canada Managing Director Jordan Banks, Accenture’s Beth Boettcher, and Salesforce’s own Daniel Debow (a cofounder of Canadian Rypple which was acquired by Salesforce in 2011).

Titled “Innovation in Canada: Putting Canadian Businesses Online,” the panel centered around the idea of innovation in Canada. Debow was poignant in breaking down the notion that innovation has to be big, suggesting that it’s okay for entrepreneurs to innovate by doing things only slightly better than things were done before.

“Does [innovation] always have to be about flying jet packs and self-driving cars?” Debow asked rhetorically. “It can be very small scale innovation inside regular companies just thinking about different ways to sell their products to innovate and create better value for customers.”

He pointed out that if the bar for theoretical innovation is set too high, it’s going to hinder the actual production and progress of real, practical innovation. “Sometimes we make it such a high hill, that innovation has to be the next massive thing,” he explained, adding that true innovation can in fact be taken with “small, tiny, baby steps.”

The panel also discussed how Canada can leverage its amazing degree of multiculturism to become a global magnet for talent:

“You get people coming to Canada to make better lives for themselves and that’s really fundamentally one of the reasons why they’re here and with that comes this incredible work ethic that you don’t necessarily find elsewhere,” said Facebook’s Banks. Canada has “great quality of life, very liveable cities, world class institutions and higher education institutions doing great research in mobile and doing fantastic things in beginning stages of quantum computing,” opined Google’s O’Neil. Add to that Canada’s proximity to the largest consumer market and he believes we should be celebrating Canada and its opportunity to be a world leader.