The Innovation Issue

From the Editor

Lisa Van Dusen

Welcome to our annual Policy Magazine-Rideau Hall Foundation Innovation Issue. For the third year in a row, we’ve had the pleasure of producing this issue with the exemplary team of professionals at the RHF, including Director of Innovation Barbara Gibbon, Innovation Manager Mila Pavlovic and Innovation Manager Amy Mifflin-Sills. This is the one issue on the Policy editorial calendar that, in what has become a spring ritual, I dislodge L. Ian MacDonald from his editor’s chair and take over.

The Rideau Hall Foundation is just one element of the considerable legacy of former Governor General David Johnston but it is an important one. An independent, apolitical charitable organization established to mobilize ideas, people, and resources across the country to spotlight and reward innovation, the RHF works closely with the Office of the Governor General and its national network of partners to foster Canadian ingenuity.

This year, our issue opens with David Johnston’s own piece, Innovation Equations, in which the former Governor General, with typical generosity, shares the innovation intelligence he’s gathered over decades as principal of McGill University, president of University of Waterloo, Governor General and chair of the RHF. In The Innovation Imperative, federal Innovation Minister Navdeep Bains outlines how the government of Canada has responded to the challenge of competing in a new global context of perpetual innovation. And, to fill us in on how Canadians feel about the question, Gibbon reports on the results of the RHF’s inaugural Culture of Innovation Index, produced in partnership with Edelman Canada, in Canada’s First Innovation Barometer. 

In Step One: Mindset Shift, RHF President and CEO Theresa Marques and President and CEO of CanadaHelps Marina Glogovac warn that crowdfunding and other factors have created a funding crisis in the traditional philanthropic sector. Meanwhile, governments are innovating their regulatory approaches. Former Privy Council Clerk and BMO Financial Group Vice Chair Kevin Lynch teamed up with business historian Laurence B. Mussio on Big Tech: Monopoly’s Second Moment?

Every year, the Rideau Hall Foundation presents the Governor General’s Innovation Awards to outstanding Canadian individuals, teams and organizations who “contribute to our country’s success, who help shape our future and who inspire the next generation.” This year, the six GGIA recipients are profiled by Jacqueline Milczarek in Celebrating Canadian Innovators.

Some of the world’s most ingenious innovators live closer to the Great Rift Valley than the San Andreas Fault, and many of them are women. MATCH International Women’s Fund President Jess Tomlin’s piece—Mother of Innovation—is a must-read look at how women around the world are finding solutions to everyday problems. In The True North Mission: Slow Down and Fix Things, Communitech CEO Iain Klugman describes the principles behind True North 2019, the upcoming gathering in Waterloo organized to “tackle the important issues that exist at the intersection of humanity and technology and set tech back on its path of promise.” Paulina Cameron, CEO of the Forum for Women Entrepreneurs, explains what’s required to boost women from potential to success in It Takes a Network.

And, a young Canadian who embodies the true spirit of innovation, Maayan Ziv. Ziv, 28, transformed her own experience of living with muscular dystrophy into the award-winning app AccessNow, which maps venue accessibility around the world. Policy Social Media Editor Grace MacDonald interviewed Ziv for our closing Q&A. 

We open our Canada and the World section this issue with The Last Piece on Brexit?, in which former ambassador of Canada to Britain, Russia and the EU and now our senior foreign policy writer Jeremy Kinsman gamely dives into the UK’s rolling divorce disaster with his usual mix of unique insight and wry passion. Jumping from London to Kyiv, our Ukraine ace, Yaroslav Baran, filed the brilliant Unscripted: The Serious Stakes for Ukraine’s New Leader, his take on comedian-turned-president Volodymyr Zelenskiy. Pulling up to 30,000 feet on the future of democracy generally, chair of public policy at Massey College Tom Axworthy makes The Case for Canada Advancing Democracy. And, bringing the finale with his usual aplomb, our columnist Don Newman with How Climate Change Could Impact Post-Election Power in Ottawa. For those of you wondering at Newman’s prescience, a reminder that he did lay out the anatomy of Donald Trump’s stunning 2016 upset in these pages two months before it happened. 

Enjoy the issue.