The Innovate In York Manufacturing Conference was held on December 6th, 2011. With 250 delegates in attendance there was plenty of opportunity to network and learn from industry leaders.
The keynote speaker was Idris Mootee, the CEO of Idea Couture, a global strategic innovation firm with its headquarters located in Toronto, Canada. Mr. Mootee provided an interesting take on the global business climate and detailed various insights for the manufacturers present at this forum.
The year of global hyper-connectivity: The Arab spring demonstrated the power of social networks to mobilize large sections of a population. Companies that are not embracing this new wave of technology will be at a disadvantage in the future.
Expiring business model: Mr. Mootee cautioned the forum about numerous industries restructuring and how long held “truths” are no longer valid. One example discussed is how the largest, most powerful players are no longer assured continuing success. The primary issue with large and more mature players is their lack of ability to adapt to a continuously changing environment. Smaller firms are inherently able to capitalize on opportunities that require a rapid rethink of how they do business. These adjustments are required more often as uncertainties in the global economy make long term plans much harder to develop and adhere to.
An Industry Breaking Point was discussed by Mr. Mootee as an important concept for industry players to be aware of. An audience member raised the question about how to identify an industry breaking point. The answer provided by the Mr. Mootee was – an industry breaking point occurs when a commonly held company asset turns into a liability. The example used was aging information systems infrastructure as systems that use to be sufficient to run a corporation end up destroying value by high maintenance costs, prolonged downtime, and inadequate features for today’s evolved business climate. This is an example of when an asset becomes a future liability which results in a dilemma for organizations: new investment vs. continuing the status quo.
The last major take away from Mr. Mootee was his assertion that the future is about platforms and capabilities rather than products. He stressed the need to develop a whole ecosystem of innovation rather than a ridged product. The rise of platforms in software is evident with Google’s Android operating system, Salesforce’s Force.com, Facebook’s applications which have all gained steam over the past few years. Having a strong base and allowing others to build upon it has proven to be a very successful business model in the software industry, however in the manufacturing of physical goods industry, players need to consider how best to parallel this concept.
Doug Lindeblom is the Director of Economic Strategy for the regional municipality of York. Mr. Lindeblom has been working with various stakeholders in the manufacturing industry in conjunction with Brock Dickinson to develop the Innovate York: Guide for York Region Manufacturers. This guide will be coming out in January 2012 and will discuss manufacturing trends, existing partnerships, intellectual Property issues, funding opportunities, and more.
This year’s Innovate In York conference provided practical information that will help Sartrex continue to evolve into a premium design and manufacturing company.
Thank you to all the organizers!
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