What is Innovation?
Innovation is the process of transforming knowledge into new products, processes and services which, in turn, generate new economic benefits. For this process to succeed, a complete system must be available that supports the movement of a new idea from initial concept, through research and development, to a ready-for-market product. A highly developed innovation system, or "cluster", is focused on a specific area of strength and includes:
- Universities, research facilities, industry, government labs, and other "knowledge infrastructure" that develop new technologies and a skilled workforce,
- Early stage venture capital financing to help bring technologies to markets,
- Industry associations and other organizations that link the players in the innovation system,
- Firms capable of developing and adopting new technologies, and that are connected to local and global markets, and
- A business environment that fosters innovation.
What's the WD Connection?
Learn more about how WD is enhancing western innovation by reading Working with the West or our magazine, Access West
Western Economic Diversification Canada (WD) supports the creation and growth of knowledge-based clusters in new economy sectors that contribute to an increase in knowledge-driven and value-added economic activities. In partnership with other levels of government and other partners, we make strategic investments to:
- Support technology commercialization and adoption initiatives,
- Enhance technology skills development,
- Support applied research and development,
- Strengthen knowledge infrastructure,
- Increase community innovation,
- Create linkages among members of the innovation system.
WD is supporting the growth of technology clusters in several key sectors, including:
- Life Sciences – biotechnology, genomics, proteomics and health technologies,
- Information and Communications Technology – new media, wireless technology, telehealth and geomatics,
- Other Technologies – synchrotron, environmental technologies, composite materials and micro/nanotechnology.
What funding is available?
WD supports a number of mechanisms that are helping to strengthen the Western Canadian innovation system:
- Western Diversification Program (WDP) is the main program through which WD invests in projects that support our strategic outcomes related to innovation, business development, community economic development and policy, advocacy and coordination.
- Western Innovation Initiative (WINN) is a $100 million five-year federal Initiative that offers repayable contributions for small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) with operations in Western Canada to move their new and innovative technologies from the later stages of research and development to the marketplace.