Exploring growth and synergy at IASP North American Conference in Hamilton

31 May 2024
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IASP Hamilton featured panels that delved into the critical aspects of fostering innovation in clustered environments.

The IASP North American Division Conference, held from 29 May to 31 May at McMaster Innovation Park in Hamilton, Canada, brought together leaders from throughout the North American region to discuss the evolving landscape of innovation clusters. The event provided a platform for in-depth discussions on key topics such as business growth, talent retention, space activation, and economic development within science parks and innovation districts.

Navigating innovation dynamics and strategies

The conference was opened by IASP North American Division President Carol Stewart, and McMaster Innovation Park’s Debbie Martin and Jonathan Hunt, Interim CEO and Ecosystems Partnership Manager, respectively.

The conference featured a series of engaging panel discussions that delved into the critical aspects of fostering innovation in collaborative environments. Experts shared insights on the dynamics of business growth, emphasising the importance of synergy and collaboration within innovative communities.

Strategies for attracting and retaining top talent were also a key focus, highlighting the need for compelling work environments that nurture and sustain a skilled workforce. This included creating multigenerational community spaces in the workplace, implementing a flexible hybrid work model, and adopting strategies to attract former employees as potential boomerang hires to address Gen Z's evolving career expectations.

Discussions on space activation provided innovative approaches to transforming physical spaces into vibrant hubs of activity and interaction, essential for fostering an innovative ecosystem. Additionally, the economic impact of clustering was explored, with speakers presenting strategies to leverage these clusters for regional economic development, underscoring the importance of strategic planning and community engagement.

Looking ahead

Saint-Hyacinthe Technopole was announced as the host of the next IASP North American Division conference during the event. As an IASP member since 1994, Saint-Hyacinthe Technopole is dedicated to the economic development of the greater Saint-Hyacinthe region in Quebec, Canada, particularly in agri-food and animal health technologies. They will welcome our community on 28-30 May 2025, book the dates in your diaries!

The regional division gathering also marked the end of Carol Stewart’s term as IASP North American Division president, who is closing on high note before passing the leadership baton to Carl Viel. Carl starts his term after the conference.

Driving the global innovation conversation

"This conference has been a remarkable opportunity to showcase our commitment to innovation and collaboration”, Debbie Martin, Interim CEO of McMaster Innovation Park, said. "We deeply appreciate the chance to bring together so many leaders and visionaries in science and technology. Together, we are not only fostering growth in our communities but also driving forward the global conversation on innovation."

“The McMaster Innovation Park team was an outstanding host of the IASP North American Division members and guests from Canada, USA, Mexico, and the UK. The mix of industry, academia, and science park practitioners was the perfect mix to gain insights, best practices, and lessons learned for success. I look forward to continuing the conversations in Saint-Hyacinthe in 2025," said Carol Stewart.

Special thanks to the team at McMaster Innovation Park for their exceptional hosting of the conference. As the community looks forward to the next conference in Saint-Hyacinthe, the insights gained, and connections made in Hamilton represent another forward step in the progress of the region's technology and research parks.

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