The Evolving Nature of Corporate Innovation

  • Hari Hariharan  |
  • 2017-05-23
Hari Techonomy

I recently joined Accenture, Pitney Bowes and Indiegogo on stage at Techonomy NYC to discuss the importance of innovation as corporate lifeblood. From startups, scaleups to established enterprises, creating a culture of constant innovation is a necessity to remain viable and competitive. 

All companies – both large and small – are focused on being the first to market. I won’t argue that time-to-market is not crucial, but bringing a product to market with the highest quality and reliability must not be overlooked. With this in mind, many companies are rethinking innovation and looking beyond their four walls for new perspectives and unique ideas.

In my experience, I find the way a company drives innovation is rarely a linear journey, and I’d like to share a unique strategy that has worked for Celestica over the past three years. 

In 2014, Celestica established ReMAP, a technology accelerator that brings together all stakeholders of the product enablement value chain for faster commercialization. ReMAP now spans 40 organizations including start-ups, scale-ups, SMEs, research institutions and established enterprises to help solve common challenges and to accelerate new technologies to market. 

This model for corporate innovation has been incredibly successful. In the last three years ReMAP has launched 17 new products and services, developed 80 prototypes, issued 17 patents and advanced 46 companies. Additionally, through ReMAP’s 38 labs and advanced manufacturing lines from across Canada, our team has made great strides in renewable energy, aerospace and defense, and healthcare. 

We are making renewable energy smarter. Through ReMAP, one company has launched a product that is making solar installations safer for first responders by providing an emergency shut off device. The product is in the market and is currently being used by one of Celestica’s smart energy customers.

We are focused on high-reliability in aerospace technology. In response to the European Union’s Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive, the ReMAP team has been working to develop innovative low-temperature alloys. These new materials are not only environmentally friendly, but they also meet the regulatory requirements and specifications for high reliability applications.  An early result of this research has resulted in new patent application, enabled by several aerospace industry partners with Celestica.

In a unique, large-scale collaboration between 7D Surgical, Celestica, Ryerson University and Sunnybrook Research Institute, ReMAP formed a collaboration to support the next generation of image-guidance systems.  This system enables a much faster surgical workflow with improved patient outcomes. Ultimately brought to market by 7D Surgical, the Machine-vision Image Guidance System recently received FDA and Health Canada MDL clearance – a huge achievement in such a short period. 

ReMAP is a great example of thinking outside the traditional four walls of a company to develop truly game-changing innovations. By putting the challenge in front of a range of innovative thinkers – who each brought their own unique perspective and skillset – each company's customers ultimately benefitted. When it comes to technology development, it's this type of approach that will set smart companies apart and allow them to break through tradition barriers to innovation.