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General Business Updates and News
Canadian Tire is concentrating on their Toronto office, it's really to bad.
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This isn't necessarily bad news, nor an indictment of the Innovation Lab model.

The Canadian Tire garage was created to house a team that bridged the gap between the r&d and prototype-heavy work done in their facility in the Hub and a more rigid but not final implementation of a solution, one that could be tried at one test site and such.

Manulife has done well with the program, they started creating similar spaces in addition to their Red Lab and having worked there for a bit I can attest from personal experience that the culture (in the technical parts of the organization at least) is very much shifting. TD's space up on Lexington where the old police office was does similar work to CT's garage, but on a larger scale. There's enough space there for over a hundred people to work. I don't know the headcount at the garage, but they were almost entirely product-related work: designers, developers and front-line people and product managers. I hope none of their jobs are at risk, but if they are I think their experience at the garage will be considered highly valuable.

I have zero insight into Canadian Tire and haven't talked with anyone connected with the innovation work in a few years. Despite that, I'd be somewhat surprised if the work that was being done there is stopping just because the office is being closed. Closing the physical office doesn't necessarily mean lay-offs, either, though if the jobs are moving to Toronto it's effectively the same result for some and a good reason to move for others. The ideal progression for these teams is to bring the learnings and behaviours in-house to change corporate culture. It's the expected end game for this sort of innovation setup: try different business and organizational methods in the context of lots of technical R&D as well. A model that is effective and transformative to the parent organization and tactics for migrating that behaviour into more and more parts of that organization are discovered.

Several of the first wave (those who didn't stop after the first, like Canon) of lab openers are approaching the end of their second contract so there's a good chance we'll hear a few more stories like this with some big-name partners.

Edited to add: It looks like Eugene Roman, Canadian Tire's CTO who drove the innovation lab there, left in 2018. So the executive stakeholder is gone and a new notion of how innovation should be done at Canadian Tire is underway. That shifts my perspective a bit, and more strongly suggests layoffs.
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(10-07-2019, 09:25 AM)robdrimmie Wrote: … space up on Lexington where the old police office was …

I’m not familiar with this. Where was that, and when? All I know about police locations in Waterloo is that the division on Erb St. moved to a new building at Columbia and Weber.
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(10-07-2019, 09:51 AM)ijmorlan Wrote:
(10-07-2019, 09:25 AM)robdrimmie Wrote: … space up on Lexington where the old police office was …

I’m not familiar with this. Where was that, and when? All I know about police locations in Waterloo is that the division on Erb St. moved to a new building at Columbia and Weber.

Sorry, bad brain. The TD Technology Center is beside the new police building on Columbia, between Weber and Marsland. Before it becomes Lexington.
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(10-07-2019, 10:44 AM)robdrimmie Wrote:
(10-07-2019, 09:51 AM)ijmorlan Wrote: I’m not familiar with this. Where was that, and when? All I know about police locations in Waterloo is that the division on Erb St. moved to a new building at Columbia and Weber.

Sorry, bad brain. The TD Technology Center is beside the new police building on Columbia, between Weber and Marsland. Before it becomes Lexington.

OK, no problem. It feels like that block has been slow to re-develop after La-Z-Boy (if I recall correctly) moved out.
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Everyone from what I understand (a close friend is impacted) everyone at the Canadian Tire Innovation Lab in Kitchener is being laid off.
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(10-07-2019, 08:53 PM)rangersfan Wrote: Everyone from what I understand (a close friend is impacted) everyone at the Canadian Tire Innovation Lab in Kitchener is being laid off.

Unfortunate ... but I truly believe that their experience and skills will be super marketable.
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(10-07-2019, 08:53 PM)rangersfan Wrote: Everyone from what I understand (a close friend is impacted) everyone at the Canadian Tire Innovation Lab in Kitchener is being laid off.

That sucks. I'm sorry to hear that happened to your friend and everyone else. I do think it's likely they'll land on their feet - layoffs have overall had positive effects on my time in tech but I play life in easy mode. It's a complicated time at best, and I wish them well.
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Information on the Ford Innovation Center in Waterloo.

https://betakit.com/ford-motor-unveils-n...on-centre/
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Here's some really good news for Kitchener:

Waterloo Region firms top list of fastest-growing tech companies
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Wow, that's some massive growth
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Conestoga College is buying a former Erwin Hymer factory to house its skilled trades programs.

https://www.google.com/amp/s/beta.ctvnew...93461.html
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Indian tech company has chosen waterloo region of Toronto for their Ontario office. This is great to see. Hopefully we continue to see these types of foreign investments in the region.

https://www.therecord.com/news-story/973...oo-region/
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