Fresh air, fresh ideas

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Since spring is around the corner, I thought it would be best to discuss new ideas – particularly those in entrepreneurship and innovation.

Traditionally, innovation was seen to be solely within the reach of large-scale firms who had the power, resources and means to pursue new advances in technology.[1] Firms such as Apple, Google, and Amazon can be viewed as such giants, leading in their field, constantly innovating to beat their competition.

On the other hand, there are also quite a few large cash cows in the market which look relatively stagnant in terms of growth. So what does this mean for the future of innovation?

Luckily, the conventional belief that only large firms have the capacity to innovate no longer stands.

A study by Acs and Audretsch found that “R&D increases more than proportionately along with firm size for the smaller firms, but that a fairly linear relationship exists for larger firms” (2005).

Simply put, growth is attributed to the fortitude of smaller firms and ambitious entrepreneurs who put in more effort to beat the commercial streams.

Going back to grassroots, innovation now goes hand-in-hand with entrepreneurship insofar as people like you and I have the will to create something new.

Just last year, I witnessed a potentially revolutionary idea which was underway here at UTM: vertical farming.  Two MScSM students decided to take a step further in the widely under-rated concept of vertical farming by putting up a 6-foot plastic tower at the Dept. of Management.[2]

Within this tower, they were able to grow various greens and produce using only light bulbs, water and nutrient solution.  That’s right – no soil.  With this in effect (and clearly on display as proof of their ideas), they were able to create their own start-up.

Not unlike these two forward-thinking students, there are thousands of other young companies and entrepreneurs across North America, all striving to change the nature of day-to-day functions.

Advances in Artificial Engineering, gene therapy, and quantum computers have the potential to carry interdisciplinary benefits that can channel into finance markets, space science and sustainability initiatives.

With more and more ideas pouring in each day, there are infinite possibilities to improve almost every segment of our lives. All we need to contribute is a blaze of an idea, a dash of motivation and a bucket of hard work.

To keep things interesting, I want to share with you a small video clip of Jack, who started his own business at the age of ten, proving that no matter how old or young you are, or how simple an idea is, innovation is at the forefront of our daily lives.[3]

On a final note, since U of T has always been a name in new-generation research, proving to society that we are more than capable of creating new developments, here is a link that showcases 10 amazing U of T start-ups that are sure to go a far way.

Aditi Shah
B.Com. 2017 grad

*Aditi will be writing and updating “the First 365” series for 2017-18. These posts will focus on Aditi’s experiences in the work place after graduation.

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