Two weeks ago, I took part in a conference on innovation hubs organized by the Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation. Even though I didn’t find answers to all my questions, the models presented and the directions proposed provide a better understanding of the intention and manage to shed some light on how these innovation hubs will fall into place. The academic world, industry and, in our case, the clinical environment, are the ingredients necessary for implementing a health innovation hub.

However, I personally don’t believe that the models presented at this conference truly apply to our Montréal reality. You don’t start with a blank sheet of paper. You need to consider the presence on the ground of several distinct and complementary hubs and leverage these various critical masses. Furthermore, even if several projects in the pipeline could strive to qualify as innovation hubs it will be very important that these projects be submitted in an orderly fashion rather than competing against one other. There will be one health innovation hub in Montréal, not three or four. I think Montréal InVivo has a role to play in centralizing the various projects and proposing an inclusive and creative approach. It is in fact the aim of its board of directors.

I believe that the creation of a health innovation hub is a unique opportunity to make significant gains for our sector. We need to see it as an area of experimentation in which it will be allowed to do things differently for the sake of our industry and, ultimately, patients. If we put the money aside, what exactly would you want to see happen in such an innovation hub? What processes, regulations, approaches would you like us to be able to change to test them and possibly apply them on a larger scale? We are going to quickly organize a consultation on this topic, but in the meantime, don’t hesitate to contact me directly with your suggestions. I am curious to hear your perspectives!

Frank Béraud