Mitacs and the Brookfield Institute release first Skills for Innovation report

Vancouver, B.C. – Mitacs, in collaboration with the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship, the Innovation Policy Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, and Shift Insights, today released the first report in the Skills for Innovation series, entitled Sharpening Canada’s Skills Advantage.

The report, drafted by innovation experts Creig Lamb and Daniel Munro, takes a deep dive into Canada’s biggest innovation advantage: our talent. Drawing on surveys of organizations and interns involved in Mitacs’s Elevate and Accelerate programs, the report looks at the general and specialized skills that Canada needs to innovate.

Despite a highly educated population and a labour force of skilled and motivated people, Canada’s innovation performance continues to lag behind its global peers. This report seeks to better understand the specific skills that Canadian talent needs to develop in order to address this gap and complete the full suite of activities and tasks that comprise the continuum of innovation. These can be broadly divided into two categories: general skills, required across all types of innovation; and specialized skills, that some but not all people on innovation teams must have to succeed.

General skills are things like curiosity and creativity; basic data and digital skills such as statistical literacy and the ability to navigate online research; scientific principles and methods such as the ability to develop a hypothesis; and certain social and emotional skills like collaboration, listening, and communication.

More specialized skills are things like advanced data and digital skills such as programming, computer science, and statistical analysis; management skills; and design skills, including prototyping, testing, and solutions design.

This and future reports in the Skills for Innovation Series will generate insights to help educators, businesses, students, workers, and others build better strategies for developing recruiting and harnessing talent for innovation success.

Join us on Zoom, September 21 from 12:00 p.m.-1:30 p.m. ET to learn more about this report from Mitacs leaders and a panel of subject experts. Register here.


Dr. John Hepburn, CEO, Mitacs

“Mitacs occupies a unique place in Canada’s innovation ecosystem which allows us to gain valuable insight into Canada’s greatest innovation advantage – our talent – and the challenges that we face in the innovation space when compared to our peers. We are excited to launch this report, the first in a series that will look at what we can do to ensure that Canada’s immense talent is being used to its advantage when it comes to addressing the innovation gap.”

About Mitacs:

  • Mitacs is a not-for-profit organization that fosters growth and innovation in Canada by solving business challenges with research solutions from the best academic institutions in the world.
  • Mitacs is funded by the Government of Canada, the Government of Alberta, the Government of British Columbia, Research Manitoba, the Government of New Brunswick, the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Government of Nova Scotia, the Government of Ontario, Innovation PEI, the Government of Quebec, the Government of Saskatchewan, and the Government of Yukon.