Photo: University of Waterloo grad and Golden State Warriors owner Chamath Palihapitiya and broadcast journalist Amanda Lang close out the 2016 Waterloo Innovation Summit.

It’s not about the technology or the business acumen: the success of our economy is grounded in people.

The people you hire. The people you serve. The people who want their lives to be respected and simplified. People, people, people.

That was the point hammered home at the second day of the Waterloo Innovation Summit, co-hosted by the University of Waterloo and Communitech, as hundreds of entrepreneurs, academics and policy-makers gathered in Kitchener’s Tannery building heard from a former deputy prime minister, from the man who helped Nike “Just Do It,” and from startup founders struggling to find the right staff.

The day was kick-started by John Manley, President and CEO of the Business Council of Canada and a former Deputy Prime Minister of Canada, with his version of a Rick Mercer rant.

The target: depressing school scores in the maths and sciences.

Manley told the standing-room-only crowd that, “We’ve just got to get our act together on skills development in maths and sciences, get up to an international plateau that makes us competitive, and secondly, give our young adults the opportunity through work-integrated learning experiences to provide the kind of talent that Canadian firms are going to need to succeed and grow into the 21st century.”

To read the rest of this article, visit the Waterloo Innovation Summit blog.

In photos: Waterloo Innovation Summit 2016

About The Author

Bill Bean

Bill Bean is an award-winning journalist with 40 years experience who has been writing about innovation in Waterloo Region for three years, and who has a weakness for grandchildren, bicycles and chocolate.