Immigration and Innovation

CPC Business Development

By Stephanie Clark.

Immigrants Drive Innovation. Such was the headline in The Globe and Mail’s “Report on Business” on October 15th. The article, written by Tavia Grant, cites statistics from the Conference Board of Canada. For example:

  • 35% of Canada Research Chairs are foreign-born, even though immigrants make up only one-fifth of the population;
  • More than 25% of patents in Canada have foreign co-inventors;
  • Xerox Canada embraced immigrant workers, and boasts staff from 35 countries. Its innovation rate reached 130 patentable ideas annually.

And innovation is seen as the next big thing in the global economy. A Gallup Management Journal article, written by Jason Krieger, makes a good case for innovation (or behavioural economics) as the third major business model, following supply and demand economics and process improvement as the first and second.

What does this mean to career practitioners? We would be wise to embrace new immigrants as our clients, and to learn how to effectively communicate innovation. A few modifications to process, a bit of added training or self-study, and we build business by adding a lucrative growing market segment and embracing a new business focus. For example:

  • Add Skype as an interview option. This free service may overcome the barrier of communicating with a client whose English is flavoured with an accent;
  • Study, brainstorm, or find training on what innovation means. Identify ways to source it in workplace context, words to communicate it, how to gather metrics to prove it.

These are exciting times! Make sure you get in on the action.

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