Camille D. Ryan and Stuart J. Smyth
University of Saskatchewan
Innovation is more than just science. Innovation encompasses a diversity of disciplines, such as law (patents and freedom to operate), economics (spill-over benefits and returns to investment), political science (government policy and international trade barriers), and psychology (consumer responses). Clearly, the multiple disciplines that can—and have—investigated aspects of cycles of innovation or innovation systems indicate that the concept of innovation is extremely broad. In the same stream, innovation is more than simply firms commercializing new products. It also involves public research institutions, federal regulators, and organizations representing stakeholders from farmers to consumers. In their role to facilitate innovation, governments have developed arm’s-length organizations to advocate, support, and service the agricultural biotechnology industry. This article examines Ag-West Biotech, a non-profit venture funded by the Saskatchewan government. Ag-West Biotech has delivered a wide range of services to the Saskatchewan biotechnology industry by acting as a mediator between business and government, as project facilitator and financier, and by offering visible leadership and direction for the biotechnology sector.
Key words: Innovation, strategy, governance models, biotechnology.