FPInnovations conference sparks new ways of thinking
By Cindy Macdonald
The first edition of the FPInnovates conference highlighted the importance of innovation in the workforce and the impact of new technologies.
The one-and-a-half-day event put on by the FPInnovations research institute ran on Nov. 25 and 26 in Montreal. It attracted 200 delegates from across the country.
Among those who addressed the conference was futurist and global trends and innovation expert Jim Carroll who inspired and challenged the audience to think passionately about the qualities of world class innovators, and talked about the importance of thinking big and taking chances: some people see a trend or a threat, but world-class innovators see an opportunity.
“This unique, engaging, and thought-provoking event has encouraged participants to think outside the box and to view the innovation process as a solution to the challenges they are facing,” says Pierre Lapointe, president and CEO, FPInnovations. “Feedback from the audience has been overwhelmingly positive and we are very pleased that FPInnovates has inspired and kindled new ways of thinking about the future of the forest sector.”
The audience heard from experts in different fields, including a venture capital investor, Wils Theagene, who spoke about financing an innovation and understanding the investor, and Arvind Jain, an authority on international finance and banking who discussed the impact on the forest products industry of contemporary global economic challenges and understanding how the economy works. Another speaker was Eric Termuende, named one of the top 100 emerging innovators under 35 globally, who highlighted innovation in the workforce. He commented that the next generation thrives on innovation, change, and disruptive ideas. The audience also heard the government perspective from Glenn Mason, Assistant Deputy Minister of Natural Resources Canada and the Scandinavian perspective from FPInnovations’ Entrepreneur in Residence Lars Sandberg.
A panel of forest industry executives discussed important issues ranging from the future of the forest industry, adopting and adapting global paradigms, new applications of wood-fibre-based materials and products, climate change, government policies and building a resilient culture. Panelists included Kevin Edgson, president and CEO of EACOM Timber Corp.; David Lindsay, president and CEO of the Forest Products Association of Canada; Yvon Pelletier, president of Fortress Paper; Daniel Archambault, executive vice-president of Kruger; and Mark Feldinger, vice-president of Canfor.
The conference also featured case studies and 50 posters highlighting the latest progress, successes, and technological advances by FPInnovations, university stakeholders, and other innovators.