AI Adoption for Canadian Businesses: A talent-focused approach to enhance competitiveness

This project seeks to uncover how Canadian firms identify, acquire, and access talent needed to successfully adopt AI.
AI Adoption for Canadian Businesses: A talent-focused approach to enhance competitiveness

Project Team

​Sarah Villeneuve
Policy Analyst
Creig Lamb
Senior Policy Analyst
Daniel Munro
Research Advisor
Sarah Doyle
Director of Policy + Research
Jessica Thomson
Marketing and Communications Specialist

Why we’re doing this project

Despite Canada’s robust ecosystem of fundamental research on AI, Canadian firms lag global peers in using AI to support and enhance their businesses. Canada’s economic performance could be greatly enhanced by accelerating the pace of AI adoption among its firms and businesses that stand to benefit. Through an examination of available literature, the Brookfield Institute for Innovation + Entrepreneurship identified talent as a core trend across all barriers and pre-conditions for AI adoption.

Challenges are varied, but financial uncertainty, lack of technological understanding, inflexible organizational culture and structure, and lack of infrastructure are among the most cited barriers to AI adoption for Canadian businesses. Overcoming these barriers and achieving productivity gains is, in large part, a human capital issue. To effectively adopt AI, companies may require specific skills and knowledge across all of their business functions. These talent needs extend well beyond tech skills and data science, spanning strategy, risk evaluation, change management, ethical and policy analysis, and the ability to work alongside AI technologies.

The complex nature of AI, as well as the variety of applications businesses can adopt, make it difficult to know precisely the type of talent, infrastructure, and processes needed, as well as how these investments should be integrated together. To date, there has not been a comprehensive investigation into the implementation-enabling skills and roles that are required to successfully integrate AI within firms.

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Key Research Objectives

  • Generate a more complete picture of the implementation-enabling roles and skills that firms need to successfully adopt AI as a core part of their business;
  • Help inform talent development and business strategies within companies, as well as public policy initiatives aimed at enhancing competitiveness of Canadian businesses.

Our Supporters

This project is supported in part by the National Research Council of Canada

 

National Research Council Canada

 

We’re seeking support to continue this research. If you’re interested in helping us advance this work, please contact Sarah Villeneuve.

Our Advisors

  • Graham Taylor, Associate Professor, School of Engineering, University of Guelph; Faculty Member, Vector Institute; Academic Director, NextAI; CIFAR Azrieli Global Scholar, Learning in Machines & Brains
  • Ragavan Thurairatnam, Chief of Machine Learning, Dessa
  • Robert Carlyle, Assistant Vice-President, Strategic People Analytics, Sun Life Financial
  • Element AI
​Sarah Villeneuve
Policy Analyst
Creig Lamb
Senior Policy Analyst
Daniel Munro
Research Advisor
Sarah Doyle
Director of Policy + Research
Jessica Thomson
Marketing and Communications Specialist

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May 15, 2019

Our analysis of available literature provides insight into both the barriers and the preconditions required to successfully integrate AI into Canadian businesses.
Boosting Competitiveness of Canadian Businesses: Clearing a Path to Wide-scale AI Adoption
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