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I-CAN Innovation School Algae Case Study Presented by Grant McVicar I-CAN Advocate & Director, Saskatchewan Resea PowerPoint Presentation
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October 19, 2011 . I-CAN Innovation School Algae Case Study Presented by Grant McVicar I-CAN Advocate & Director, Saskatchewan Research Council. Project Genesis. The legend The idea:

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October 19, 2011 I-CAN Innovation SchoolAlgae Case StudyPresented byGrant McVicarI-CAN Advocate & Director, Saskatchewan Research Council
project genesis
Project Genesis
  • The legend
  • The idea:
      • To demonstrate that, as opposed to thinking of CO2 as a waste product, there are opportunities to find uses for this resource in the production of value-added goods.
sequester co 2 in algae harvest it and transform it into value added products
Sequester CO2 in Algae – harvest it, and transform it into value added products

100,000 litres

per hectare vs. 300 to 6000 l/ha for traditional oilseed crops

research areas
Research areas
  • Validation of micro-algal bio-fixation in northern climates
  • Development and optimization of mass algal culture growth systems and harvesting technologies
  • Engineering of processing, fractionation technologies for the production/extraction of renewable biofuels and other specialty components
  • Development of novel processing, transformation, and fractionation streams for the production of renewable specialty chemicals, fertilizers, and biopolymers
  • Potential for integration of system with wastewater treatment, and nutrient removal from effluents
disciplines needed
Disciplines Needed
  • Power plant management / flue gas handling
  • CO2 recovery, processing and concentration
  • Photo electrochemistry
  • Eco-physiology
  • Microbiology
  • Biochemistry
  • Population dynamics
  • Molecular biology
  • Algal mass cultivation systems management
  • Bioprocess design & Engineering
  • Optical engineering
  • Extraction
  • Quality assessment of biofuel
  • Wastewater systems management
  • Engineering, marketing, economic analysis, and business skills
  • Project management, organizational integration and knowledge dissemination
the i can team
The I-CAN Team
  • Genetics and Gene Selection (4 – CRIQ, ARC, ITC, SRC)
  • Microbiology & Toxicology (2- CRIQ, SRC)
  • Plant Physiology and Productivity (1 – SRC)
  • Engineering and Productivity (7 – SRC, ARC, CRIQ, ITC)
  • Business Development & Economics (2-ARC)
  • Project Management (ARC)
the client s
The Client’s

Public support



federal government (NRCAN).

Private sector

BC Hydro, ConocoPhillips Canada, Rio Tinto, Alcan, ALCOA, Shell, EPCOR, Suncor, Graymont Western Canada Inc., EnCana, Mosaic Potash, PetroCanada, New Brunswick Power, SaskPower

challenges intellectual property ip
Challenges: Intellectual Property (IP)
  • Issues:
    • Who owns IP developed in the project?
      • I-CAN, RTO’s, Clients?
    • Existing IP (just photobioreactors)
      • 8 companies – numerous patents (one had over a dozen)
    • Potential for new patents
      • yes – considerable potential
technical challenges
Technical Challenges
  • Can we grow algae in northern climates year round?
    • Cold weather – energy balance
    • Is their enough sunlight
  • Algal productivity?
    • Do we have local strains that meet our requirements?
    • Can we make them more productive?
    • Can we make them express wanted characteristics?
technical challenges cont d
Technical Challenges (cont’d)
  • Harvesting and separation of algae
    • Is their technology available or do we have to develop it?
  • How do we get the oil out economically?
    • Is their technology available or do we have to develop it?
  • What do we do with the remaining biomass?
    • Other products, waste disposal
organizational challenges
Organizational Challenges
  • Culture challenges between I-CAN members
  • Leadership relationships
      • Task teams
      • Changing responsibilities
      • Overall project management responsibility
  • Communication challenges
  • Priority challenges
challenge meeting client needs
Challenge: Meeting Client Needs
  • Large number of clients (17)
  • Mix of public and private clients
  • Mix of client needs
      • Public good
      • Corporate Social Responsibility
      • Potential future financial issues
      • Potential future regulatory issues
      • New potential product stream
      • New competition for their existing products
      • Ancillary benefits from technology
some key learnings
Some Key Learnings
  • From a purely technical perspective – the project proved that I-CAN as a whole is much greater than the sum of its parts – in short it can provide great technical solutions to our clients
  • We need to communicate better across the team. It started out great, but team members expressed lack of communication as an issue towards the end of Stage 1 and definitely in the developing the path forward to Stage 11
key learnings cont d
Key Learnings (cont’d)
  • We are really good at breaking down a problem into its constituent components, identifying key processes and technologies that need to be developed or improved, and developing technical solutions to deal with these areas.
  • We still have a long ways to go to go in terms of relationship building with our clients, and meeting both their short term and long term needs.
key learnings cont d1
Key Learnings (cont’d)
  • Our team’s skill set needs to be expanded to include a focus that ensures that the project produces results that can support a value proposition that meets our clients investment hurdle decision making process.
  • We need to redefine what we consider a successful outcome. It needs to be reoriented to focus on the client’s successful commercial utilization of our technology development’s and improvements.
  • Is the I-CAN concept worth pursuing, and can it evolve to produce better results – YES!!!
innovation characteristics for the future the mbi
Innovation Characteristics for the Future – the MBI
  • Futurist Jim Carroll has called for a new category of worker – The Master of Business Imagination.
  • What would I-CAN project colleagues embody if they became “Masters of Business Innovation?”
they would see things differently
They would “See things Differently”
  • Reject the stats quo - Be prepared to challenge basic assumptions.
  • Continuously challenge assumptions that surround you, and use that as a formula for creativity
they would spur creativity in others
They would “Spur Creativity in Others”

Spark imaginative thinking in others, so that the organization is rethought and redone

they would focus on the opportunity for the client
They would “Focus on theOpportunity for the Client”

Instead of viewing disruptive change as something to be feared, focus on “Where is the potential here?”

They would match technological possibilities with the market needs of the client

they would bring ideas to life
They would “Bring ideas to life”

Motivate colleagues to excel by helping them to get over their own fears of the future

Their focus would be on entrepreneurship as the prime mover of commerce. Technological innovation would be used as a tool to achieve the client’s market needs

they would learn and unlearn
They would “Learn and Unlearn”

Don’t assume that what we know today will carry us over to tomorrow.

View the acquiring of new more complex skills is an opportunity, not a burden. Embrace this concept with compassion and enthusiasm

they would refuse to say i can t
They would “refuse to say I Can’t”

Refuse to accept limitations, viewing them as temporary roadblocks that will be overcome with fresh insight, imaginative analysis and creative thinking

embrace challenges
Embrace Challenges

Approach each day and challenge as a new and exciting opportunity, rather than something to be dreaded

thrive on diversity
Thrive on Diversity

Realize that new ideas and thinking often come from people that are different from themselves

challenge assumptions
Challenge Assumptions

Be willing to have ideas challenged and debated.

Thrive in an atmosphere where ideas are questioned, challenged, and improved

they would focus on solutions
They would “focus on solutions”

Focus on how to make ideas work for the client.

Focus on the clients needs - listen

Communicate, communicate, communicate – getting close to the client

in short
In Short

We will have evolved to where technology development is not considered the prime mover of innovation. It has been supplanted by entrepreneurship.

ican tm canada s innovation system
ICANTM…Canada’s Innovation System
  • Innoventures Canada (I-CANTM) is a not-for-profit organization incorporated to improve Canada’s performance in commercializing research.
  • The consortium includes Canada’s top research and technology organizations
  • We work together to meet real industry needs, tackle complex challenges and ensure that new technologies are successfully launched into the market.