Global Innovation, Incubation and Entrepreneurship
Our institution’s commitment to innovation, incubation and entrepreneurship (IIE) is central to the vision of Ryerson as a global urban innovation university. The university’s leadership in this area is well-recognized globally and will continue to contribute to Ryerson’s international reputation and profile building efforts, enhancing the university’s ability to forge new global connections and partnerships. The DMZ, the Zone Network and Ryerson Futures Inc. are expected to continue to draw global universities, industry and government representatives to the Ryerson campus on a regular basis, which we will leverage to open doors on in service of other internationalization priorities. To date, Ryerson has taken an open approach to sharing our models and knowledge with institutions in other parts of the world, and will continue to do so.
Of particular value are the operational footprints that have been established outside of Canada (namely DMZ’s space in NYC and Ryerson Futures Inc.’s operations in India and Vietnam). The physical presence of Ryerson – via its defining characteristic as leader in innovation – must be fully exploited in key jurisdictions in support of all global engagement objectives (e.g., student recruitment, partnership building, etc.)
Broadening the Impact
Ryerson’s innovation ecosystem has expanded, so too must the ecosystem’s international outreach. New models of engagement will be explored through which the zone network beyond the DMZ will find unique means by which to connect with similar programs at peer institutions and to enrich opportunities for global growth by the companies being incubated throughout the ecosystem. The Zones have unique capacities to take part in activities that will include consultation, design competitions and hackathons, among other activities. By connecting in this way with university incubators in other jurisdictions that may not yet be as advanced as the DMZ, Ryerson’s emerging global leadership in this sphere can be consolidated and expanded.
Ryerson Futures Inc. has already established a firm foothold in India and has more recently established a presence in Vietnam. Beyond the invaluable media coverage that results from the launch and ongoing successful programming of these entrepreneurial outposts, Ryerson must also be innovative in how these international assets are leveraged. Opportunities to support Ryerson’s internationalization strategy in terms of global learning opportunities, research connections and international student recruitment in these locations will be explored in the coming months.
Students in particular have expressed a deep interest in engaging globally through social innovation. Ryerson will respond to this demand by presenting opportunities for students to engage with entrepreneurship by listening to the problem to understand, and empowering those affected to solve it themselves. While the entrepreneurial perspective has emphasized finding a solution to a problem, at Ryerson we recognize that the contextual elements of problem-solving when looking at global issues are significantly more complex than they seem from the perspective of downtown Toronto. We will work with local partner organizations, student groups and subject experts to encourage our would-be social innovators to dive deeper, to intern with a problem, and to avoid rushing to a solution without deeply engaging with the many issues that have made the world’s most pressing problems so complex.