The new blueprint for commercializing innovation

  • Irene Sterian  |
  • 2015-07-17

There is probably no better time to be an innovator. In the past, small organizations with great ideas often lacked the infrastructure and expertise to manage global supply chains and turn emerging technologies into commercial products. Those barriers are quickly eroding. Organizations of all sizes can leverage the power of technology and the strength of a collaborative ecosystem to increase the speed of growth.

Big manufacturers and established organizations don’t always have the upper hand in building new products and technologies within their four walls. As we have witnessed over the last several years, start-ups and small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have proven that they have the agility to develop technologies that disrupt the market and the ability to turn their ideas into commercial products.

To help companies of any size be successful in a highly competitive global market, a manufacturing ecosystem is needed to drive product enablement that fosters cross-industry collaboration and connects businesses with research institutes and academia to accelerate commercialization. Ecosystems can bridge the gap between applied research and product development – opening up opportunities for the education and training of students and workers at all levels, while at the same time  offering companies, including start-ups and SMEs, access to capabilities and equipment to design, test and pilot new products and manufacturing processes.

Celestica’s unique vantage point in the supply chain enables us to create technology ecosystems with customers, suppliers, government and academia that unlock innovation. 

A collaborative approach to innovation has proven successful in many areas of the electronics industry. A current example is the Refined Manufacturing Acceleration Process (ReMAP), of which Celestica is the lead industry partner. This network is made possible through the Government of Canada’s Business-led Networks of Centres of Excellence program. Through ReMAP, a wide range of industry leaders are partnering with researchers and academics to form an ecosystem that will accelerate the time-to-market from an innovative idea or emerging technology through to product commercialization.

In a world of software start-ups, the manufacturing of hardware products differentiates ReMAP. This network is focused on leveraging innovative ideas to solve industry problems and to accelerate delivery of competitive products to the global market. Although ReMAP just celebrated its one-year anniversary, the network has already demonstrated the success of using a partnership approach to innovation to solve industry challenges.

For example, the current solar energy infrastructure is evolving into adaptive, intelligent networks. Powering these networks requires unique smart energy products that can meet the industry’s rapidly evolving requirements. Through ReMAP, Solantro Semiconductor Corp. and Celestica are working together to develop smart electronics for smart energy. The project is focused on adding connectivity and smart features to solar modules.

Another example is found within the field of optics and photonics, which benefit patients undergoing neurosurgery. Through ReMAP, 7D Surgical, Ryerson University, Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre and Celestica are working together to find a way to accelerate the advancement of optical technologies for image-guided surgery in delicate surgical spinal procedures. Image-guided surgical procedures using optical technologies combined with traditional medical imaging such as CT scans and MRIs enables new surgical techniques, reduces operating time and improves patient safety.

Through the power of an ecosystem, industries along with research organizations and academic institutions can commercialize innovative technology products that solve a wide range of industry problems faster than ever before.

This new “blueprint” for innovation can be leveraged by other industries beyond materials, optics and photonics, and renewable energy to solve major challenges. Sharing resources and knowledge across industries can help companies to lower costs, improve processes and build innovative, commercial products that contribute to the prosperity of the entire economy.

Irene Sterian
Director Technology Development and Innovation, Celestica
cross-appointed as Executive Director, ReMAP