Message from Eric Fournier – Director General Innovation

Eric Fournier, Assistant Deputy Minister (Science & Technology)

Fail fast, learn quickly, game changes, and then adapt! Innovation is a fast moving sport, and the Innovation for Defence Excellence and Security (IDEaS) program has been developed to play in this environment with the aim of helping Canada’s Department of National Defence (DND) and Canadian Armed Forces (CAF).

On behalf of the entire IDEaS Team, I would like to say what a privilege it is to present you with our second annual report. Although you are reading this report in 2021, the pages that follow will tell you the story of our 2019 to 2020 operating year, which saw many firsts for the program.

Since our last report, we have all been affected by COVID-19. This pandemic has had an enormous impact on our staff, our innovators, and our stakeholders. From all of us to all of you, we want to thank you for your dedication and support during this time. You have helped us to move forward despite the pandemic and the changes it has brought. Your
support on our COVID-19 challenges has been amazing and will yield great results to help us weather this storm. We look forward to continuing to work with you and look forward to the day we can see you again, face to face!

On to our newest report! Over the past year, IDEaS has been able to invest more than $100M in organizations across Canada (now over 270 and counting) that are using their innovative thinking and solutions in support of the women and men of the CAF and the staff in DND. We have also increased our reach throughout Canada, as our external network has grown to more than 4,000 innovators!

The numbers are just amazing! We launched 15 challenges through the Competitive Projects vehicle, covering topics like better energy generation in the north, reducing visual and infrared detection of our soldiers and vehicles, cyber protection of avionics networks and bus technologies and many more. We also launched our first Contest, working closely with DND/CAF to identify the best solution for an integrated waste/water/energy component of a relocatable temporary camp for the Canadian Armed Forces. Canadian innovators, whether big or small, public or private, have responded in volume to make this a success, with hundreds of proposals being submitted.

Our first Sandbox focused on the so-important counter-drone technologies, which turned out to be a sizeable but highly successful effort, bringing many resources from DND/CAF, Defence Research and Development Canada (DRDC) and many innovators from many countries. As we saw at the launch of the program, the response from Canadian innovators, traditional and non-traditional alike, has been strong and continues to demonstrate brilliant and innovative solutions!

I wish to also thank the many individuals that make this program work day-to-day: our staff, our DND/CAF stakeholders, our evaluators, our integrators, our scientists,
and many more that make this work possible.

As we enter the third year of the program, we will see more of the innovations funded through IDEaS being tested, evaluated and adopted by the CAF. Stay tuned for the launch of our latest element, Test Drive.

With thanks - stay safe,

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