David Johnston: Building a More Innovative Country

portrait of The Right Honourable David Johnston
The Right Honourable David Johnston Join us in a captivating discussion with The Right Honourable David Johnston, Canada’s 28th governor-general, on "Building a More Innovative Country." Renowned for his contributions to education and innovation, Mr. Johnston's distinguished career includes roles as a professor of law, President of the University of Waterloo, and Principal of McGill University. In this episode, we delve into his journey and explore his insights on driving national innovation. Discover Mr. Johnston’s perspectives on cultivating curiosity, empowering youth, and the crucial link between education and real-world application. This episode is a treasure trove of wisdom for anyone interested in shaping a more innovative and progressive Canada.

5 Tips for Building a More Innovative Country

  1. Expand Your Innovation Horizon: Look beyond technology. Encourage innovations in societal and social norm improvements. This broader perspective can lead to more inclusive and diverse advancements.
  2. Foster a Curiosity-Driven Culture: Cultivate an environment where questioning the status quo is encouraged. Transform the mindset from ‘why‘ to ‘why not‘ to ignite innovation and facilitate change.
  3. Invest in Youthful Curiosity: Recognize and nurture the innovative potential of younger generations. Support their curiosity and provide them with opportunities to develop as future leaders and innovators.
  4. Blend Theory with Practice in Education: Follow the University of Waterloo’s experiential learning example by merging academic theory with practical application. This blend is key to producing well-rounded entrepreneurs and innovators who can tackle real-world challenges.
  5. Leverage Global Insights for Local Impact: Emphasize the importance of international educational experiences. Drawing global perspectives into the local context can significantly enhance innovation, leading to more globally-informed and locally relevant solutions.

Show Notes

[00:00] Introduction with David Johnston
[00:29] What is Innovation?
[01:04] Canada’s Role in Global Innovation
[02:30] Canadian Innovators and Impact
[07:25] Historical Innovations in Canada
[07:56] Fostering a Culture of Innovation
[09:57] Innovation Index Discussion
[15:49] Educational Experiences Abroad
[16:20] University of Waterloo’s Co-op Model
[22:40] Entrepreneurial Culture in Kitchener-Waterloo
[32:08] International Experiences for Canadians
[35:52] Concluding Thoughts and Reflections

People Mentioned

  • David Johnston: Former Governor General of Canada
  • Tom Jenkins: Co-author with David Johnston in “Innovation Nation” and “Ingenius” 
  • Mike Lazaridis: Founder of BlackBerry, mentioned in the context of University of Waterloo alumni
  • John Baker: Founder of Desire2Learn (D2L), mentioned in the context of University of Waterloo alumni