Understanding Innovation in Canadian Industry


436 pages
Contains Bibliography, Index
ISBN 1-55339-031-8
DDC 338'.064'0971




Edited by Fred Gault
Reviewed by Alex Curran

Alex Curran is a former member of both the National Advisory Board on
Science and Technology and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research
Council. He was chair of the Telecommunications Sectoral Advisory
Committee on Free Trade and the first recipien


This book is the result of detailed analysis of responses to a 1999
survey of innovation as practised by some 7,000 firms operating in
Canada. The firms surveyed came from the manufacturing and natural
resource extraction sectors and hence the term “innovation” is broad
enough to include both product and process applications.

Understanding Innovation in Canadian Industry can be appreciated on at
least three levels. The obvious level is that of a report of the
statistical analysis of a complex and widely disbursed activity. Clearly
revealed are the issues of size and cost required to support such a
major study. Revealed also are the skills needed within the conducting
group to structure the survey for maximum utility at minimum direct and
disruptive cost. And most clearly revealed are the modelling, analytic,
and econometric skills required within the conducting group to recognize
information that is available and define its reliability.

At a second level, the book is a guide to management in the conduct of
business. Innovation is almost universally seen as desirable in the
characteristics of a company. Yet there are costs associated with
innovation as a strategy that must be recovered with a positive return.
Few business managers and executives will have the knowledge or the
interest to trace the statistical inferences pursued by the authors.
Fortunately, that isn’t necessary because included in the text are
plain language chapters that can provide guidance as to strategies,
working environment, and external contacts that can reduce the overall
risk of innovation.

Finally, at a third level, the book is a reference for those in
government service who seek to define programs to encourage industrial
growth in Canada. The factors that affect the use of innovation as a
strategy emerge from the statistical analysis. From them appraisals can
be made as to the cost effectiveness of policies designed to encourage
the use of innovation as a profitable route to increased sales and

This book deserves a place in the libraries of all business schools in
Canada, and all personal libraries of faculty engaged in research on
business strategies.


“Understanding Innovation in Canadian Industry,” Canadian Book Review Annual Online, accessed July 13, 2024, https://cbra.library.utoronto.ca/items/show/15755.