Canadians name diversity as key ingredient in formula for innovation success

    Almost 80 per cent of working population considers diversity a business

    TORONTO, Sept. 25 /CNW/ - The majority of working Canadians believe that
Canada's diversity leads to greater innovation and business success, according
to a national survey conducted by the Xerox Research Centre of Canada and
Leger Marketing.
    The survey revealed that more than three-quarters of Canadian workers (77
per cent) feel that diversity in culture and background contributes to
innovation and creates a stronger Canadian business landscape, and nearly
four-fifths (79 per cent) of respondents feel that Canada's cultural diversity
gives us a distinct advantage when it comes to fostering innovation.
    Working Canadians feel that individual talent and experience have the
greatest impact on innovation (38 and 35 per cent), which was nearly
unanimously seen by respondents as a necessity for business success (96 per
cent). An individual's worldliness was seen by respondents as more important
to their ability to innovate than in-depth job knowledge or even education.
    "The findings from this survey validate an approach that's been the
linchpin of Xerox Canada's innovation success for decades: finding the most
talented and innovative research professionals from around the world and
bringing them together under one roof," says Hadi Mahabadi, vice-president and
manager of the Xerox Research Centre of Canada. "In the global economy of the
21st century innovation will only thrive with the shared ideas of individuals
with different backgrounds, areas of expertise and life experiences."

    Other survey highlights:

    -   68 per cent say that working as a team contributes to their own
        creativity and innovative thinking.

    -   52 per cent of Canadian workers feel that brainstorming adds to their
        creativity and innovative thinking

    -   Exposure to different cultures (50 per cent) and working with people
        from different disciplinary backgrounds (46 per cent) bolsters
        creativity and innovation.

    -   Ninety-six per cent of Canadians seek the advice of those with a
        different background when solving business problems

    -   Opinions of those with different work experience (92 per cent), age
        (82 per cent), and "outlook on life" (82 per cent) are most
        frequently sought

    Scott Cho, associate vice-president of Leger, says of the findings: "The
state of our country's innovation is much discussed among Canada's industry
leaders. While there's no silver bullet, our findings demonstrate that
companies with diverse employee backgrounds tend to focus more on innovation,
and those innovation efforts tend to be more successful."
    According to Mahabadi, another key aspect that leads to innovation
success in Canada is the freedom and autonomy to foster and grow new ideas.
The vast majority of respondents felt their professional knowledge and
perceptions were valued (84 per cent). Those Canadians who saw themselves as
being somewhat innovative more often felt their opinions and perceptions were
valued (90 per cent), than those who saw themselves as being not very or not
at all innovative (76 per cent).

    About the Xerox Research Centre of Canada

    The Xerox Research Centre of Canada employs researchers from more than
35 countries of origin. Nearly half of Ph.D. scientists working at the Centre
- including Mahabadi, who was born and raised in Iran - are skilled
immigrants. More than a quarter of Xerox Research Centre of Canada employees
are Canadian immigrants who earned their undergraduate and/or graduate degrees
in their country of birth, which has led to notable innovation success at the
    Since receiving its first patent in 1979, the Centre has received more
than 1,000 U.S. patents, an impressive milestone that has piqued the interest
of the Canadian federal and provincial governments and the global research
community. With only 120 scientists, the Xerox Research Centre of Canada
generates approximately 160 potentially commercial technology ideas every year
and pursues almost four novel scientific ideas per week. This has resulted in
an impressive 40 to 60 patents every year.
    The Centre is one of four research and technology centres Xerox
Corporation operates in the United States, Canada, and Europe that conduct
work in colour science, computing, digital imaging, work practices,
electromechanical systems, novel materials and other disciplines connected to
Xerox's expertise in printing and document management. The company
consistently reaps financial returns on the innovations embedded in superior
Xerox products and solutions, using them as the foundation of new businesses,
or licensing or selling them to other entities. For more information, visit

    About the Survey

    The national survey was conducted for the Xerox Research Centre of Canada
by Leger Marketing between July 17 and July 31, 2007 with a representative
sample of 1000 working Canadians. The survey is considered accurate within 
+/- 3.1 percentage points, 19 times out of 20.

    NOTE TO EDITORS: For more information on Xerox, product photography and
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trademark of XEROX CORPORATION. Prices, features, specifications,
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subject to change without notice.

For further information:

For further information: Laura Mergelas, Xerox Canada, (416) 733-6216
(office), (647) 801-2711 (mobile),; Lawrence Cummer,
Environics Communications, (416) 969-2747,

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