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Second edition of Quebec Seeks Solutions: solving nine business problems using a unique open innovation process

Entrepreneurs, researchers and innovation enthusiasts are cordially invited to attend the second edition of Quebec Seeks Solutions. Organized by Quebec International in association with IDTEQ and ISPIM, the event will be held on May 15-16 at Espaces Dalhousie in Quebec City.

For the second edition of the event, nine companies have submitted complex industrial problems that have been impacting their development. These problems will be presented to the participants, most of whom work in the industrial research field or academia. Joining forces, they will pool their knowledge in a process of reflection and discussion. The dynamic format is designed to facilitate fine-grained understanding and foster the emergence of solutions in an atmosphere of cooperation and free sharing of knowledge.

“With Quebec Seeks Solutions, we hope to make innovation accessible to a growing number of companies, particularly small and medium-sized businesses. We are also seeking to forge stronger ties between researchers and entrepreneurs with a view toward increasing our region’s overall competitiveness,” said Carl Viel, President and CEO of Quebec International.

Building on the success of the first edition, this year’s event features an enhanced program of activities spread over two days. This longer format will give the participants more time to reflect on the problems and various potential solutions. There will be three world-renowned guest speakers: Richard Bendis of Innovation America; Marko Torkkeli of Lappeenranta University of Technology in Finland; and Frank Piller of RWTH Aachen University in Germany.

The following problems have been submitted for the second edition of Quebec Seeks Solutions:

-Fujitsu: Find a way to identify an individual’s knowledge without having to explicitly ask him/her in order to optimize organizational effectiveness and to favour the use and reuse of knowledge within the organization.

-GL&V Canada: Find a way to simultaneously measure the flow rate of each of the pipes in a central distributor for a headbox (up to 100 pipes at once) in a non-permanent fashion and as cost-effectively as possible.

-Graymont: Find ways to valorize (i.e. reuse/recycle) lime by-products (lime kiln dust and other derivatives of the lime manufacturing process).

Textiles Techniques Chaudière-Appalaches: Find a way to automate the recovery of post-production textile fibre waste (e.g. sewing spool/thread reel “ends”) for reuse as fibres and reinsertion in the technical textile production chain.

-Fourrures Grenier: Find a solution to the problem of turning fur boots inside out (this essential step in the manufacturing process requires a good deal of physical strength).

-Rio Tinto Alcan: Develop a new method for green coke calcination.

-Berger Peat Moss: Develop a process for automating the analysis of potting soil samples on a continuous production line.

-Triode: Create contexts designed to foster inter-company collaboration and find strategies aimed at extending the boundaries of the client/supplier relationship.

-Resolute Forest Products: Find a method to scan waste materials from the mill before they enter the shredder and to detect metal in the waste.

In addition, a workshop will be held on the second day of the event geared towards those who would like to discover how an open innovation approach can facilitate rapid progress in the context of problem-solving initiatives. This workshop will focus on the principles and concepts underlying the success of the Seeks Solutions approach as well as on potential contexts and areas of application for participants wishing to carry out similar initiatives in their own communities.

This second edition of Quebec Seeks Solutions is made possible thanks to the assistance of numerous public and private-sector partners, including the City of Quebec, the Quebec Department of Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade (MDEIE), Employment Quebec, Economic Development Canada, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (NSERC), Fujitsu, Asentri, Fasken Martineau and Grisvert.

“The innovativeness and the spirit of collaboration that motivate our researchers and entrepreneurs are key assets that serve to fuel the local economy and contribute to Quebec City’s distinctive position. Thanks to its unique format, Quebec Seeks Solutions helps to develop and promote these hallmarks of our economic success,” concluded Mr. Viel.

The complete program of activities for Quebec Seeks Solutions is available at www.quebec-solutions.com.