Innovation key to future

Dave Bartlett
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GE Canada CEO addresses oil and gas conference

The president and CEO of General Electric (GE) Canada says growth in the post-recession world has to be driven by the innovation of companies.

Elyse Allan addressed the Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Industries Association's (NOIA) annual conference as the keynote speaker at its closing luncheon Friday in St. John's.

Elyse Allan

The president and CEO of General Electric (GE) Canada says growth in the post-recession world has to be driven by the innovation of companies.

Elyse Allan addressed the Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Industries Association's (NOIA) annual conference as the keynote speaker at its closing luncheon Friday in St. John's.

She said during the economic downturn, GE made sure to keep all its investment dollars in research and development (R&D), instead of using that money for other things.

Allan's speech often referred back to one given earlier in the day by Bank of Canada governor Mark Carney, on the economic recovery of Canada and the world.

"In this world we've got so much volatility but also so much opportunity, as Canadians, to grow," she told The Telegram after her talk.

Allan said the way to grow is through innovation - by creating new products and services or changing existing ones to make them better.

"But we can't stay the same. We can't be stagnant. And Canada, unfortunately, has become stagnant," she said.

Earlier in the day, Carney also told delegates it's time for the private sector to step up to stimulate the economy, now that governments have pumped millions of taxpayers' dollars into stimulus programs. Allan said while government creates the "context" for innovation and creates a business friendly environment, it's now time companies invest in the future through R&D.

"Business really needs to drive growth and drive innovation. We can't be reliant on the government," she said.

"It's businesses turn to lead the way by managing in a creative way, by understanding the importance of innovation in driving growth, for their company, for their shareholders and for their employees."

dbartlett@thetelegram.com

Organizations: General Electric, Newfoundland and Labrador Oil and Gas Industries Association, Bank of Canada

Geographic location: Canada, St. John's

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