Where are we going to be 10 years from now?

That’s the question Larry Smith, Adjunct Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Waterloo, put to the audience during his keynote speech to wrap up the Intrapreneurship Conference Waterloo Region at Communitech today.

The Intrapreneurship Conference – the first held in Canada – featured workshops, presentations and meetings to explore the ways big companies can adopt entrepreneurial mindsets to evolve faster, work smarter and stay competitive.

The conference, which drew about 130 participants, brought together industry experts from around the world, including Lajuanda Asemota, director of diversity and inclusion at Singularity University in Silicon Valley, and Iain Montgomery, engagement manager and innovation consultant at Market Gravity, based in London, UK.

Smith’s question was meant to provoke participants to imagine the ways the market economy, business trends and best practices will evolve in an era of ever-accelerating change. To him, “innovation is the only answer,” and although not a new concept, it’s an important one.

Hans Balmaekers, director and co-shaper of Intrapreneurship Conferences globally, agreed with Smith’s sentiments.

“This is not new at all. However, the context is different from the last 100 years. With technology, the speed of change is increasing and will continue to increase,” Balmaekers said. “Because the environment is changing more rapidly, maybe the concept of intrapreneurship is more relevant than ever. The movement that we have to change how we organize our innovation, how we organize our work as individuals, that movement will not stop and will increase in impact.”

That’s the mindset attendees took away from the conference.

“I was reminded that change is always constant,” said event attendee Sherryl Tarnaske. “If you’re not experiencing change, you’re not innovating.”

For Craig Haney, Director of Corporate Innovation at Communitech, the reminder is exactly why he brought the conference to Waterloo Region.

“I think we challenged the status quo. I think we challenged the idea that big organizations can innovate,” Haney said. “It’s hard, it’s difficult and it needs to be purposeful. If we’re not purposeful and intentional about our innovation efforts, it’ll continue to fail.”

Photo: Larry Smith, Adjunct Associate Professor of Economics at the University of Waterloo, gave a thought-provoking speech to wind up the Intrapreneurship Conference at Communitech on Tuesday.

About The Author

Samantha Clark
Media Relations Associate

As a Media Relations Associate at the Communitech Hub in Kitchener, Ontario, Sam is passionate about the Waterloo Region community, entrepreneurship and technology. She is a graduate of Conestoga College with a bachelor’s degree in public relations.