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Apr 9, 2020

In this episode, I chat with John Ruffolo, Founder, OMERS Ventures and Co-Founder - Council of Canadian Innovators.

John Ruffolo name is synonymous with possibilities and the new economy. I first met John when I moderated a panel in support of our mutual friend Chitra Anand and her incredible book the Greenhouse Approach

John was the CEO of OMERS Ventures. Today John is the co-founder and Vice-Chair of the Council of Canadian Innovators | Conseil Canadien des Innovateurs, on the Board of Communitech, Ontario Centres of Excellence The Next Big Thing and Vice-Chair of the David Suzuki Foundation. John's opinions are sought across the for-profit, and public sectors.

I am a massive fan of John's brain, his passion for Canada, and the fact that he pulls no punches. He tells it like it is.

In this ten minute chat, John and I talk about a Post-COVID economy and who will be the winners, education, innovation, and what will it take to set this incredible country Canada, up for future success.

Will this finally be the time that Canada is defined by a new economy?  (00:40)

  • John believes that COVID’s impact is doing two fundamental things to the Canadian economy
  • One, it’s exposing the vulnerabilities in our economy and how we interact with one, another
  • Two, we see a rapid acceleration in the adoption of innovation and trends

Status quo or back to the old days?  (01:33)

  • Flexibility is going to be absolutely critical, but the answer is it's somewhere in the middle
  • John quotes, Satya Nadella, CEO at Microsoft, “don't exchange one dogma for another dogma”

Could healthcare become a major part of the Canadian Economy?  (02:30)

  • John has no doubt it could, however, not with our current paradigm can we continue to afford our great health care system
  • The digital delivery of the healthcare services is absolutely fundamental and it's been adopted already
  • Not only are people in hi-density areas like Toronto, but also those in remote areas are now able to access high-quality care

The role of small businesses in the gig economy (03:54)

  • Small businesses are at the heart of the Canadian economy and if they collapse it creates a cascading effect and you will see a collapse in the demand for services, thus the advice was given to the government to focus on them as opposed to larger companies
  • Small businesses play an increasingly critical role, as we transition more and more to a gig economy

How can technology help entrepreneurs get to where they need to go  (05:39)

  • Technology is, unfortunately, a double-edged sword, that for every innovation we enjoy, there has been a continuing shift for the replacement of human labour with machine labour.
  • The change has not happened quickly, however, with COVID, it has somewhat accelerated this shift
  • The challenge will be moving from employee to entrepreneurship and having to retrain oneself
  • Becoming tech-savvy will be fundamental and technology will play a key role in retraining to be so

Key things entrepreneurs need to think about when entering into this gig economy  (07:21)

  • Opportunities can be found in the vulnerabilities COVID has in our food supply chain, our critical supply chain for manufacturing, delivery of education and health care.
  • As consumers change their habits and behaviours, so to can entrepreneurs to take advantage of these changes.


Links and References

John Ruffolo -
Chitra Anand -
Greenhouse Approach -

OMERS Ventures -
Council of Canadian Innovators | Conseil Canadien des Innovateurs -
Ontario Centres of Excellence -
The Next Big Thing -

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