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On June 21, OCAD University will join the City of Richmond Hill and eCampusOntario at this year’s Collision Conference to showcase how the newly launched Centre for Local Innovation and Collaboration (CLIC) is providing companies with innovative opportunities to improve their business and tap into new markets. 

CLIC engages local businesses with specialized expertise from City business advisors and OCAD U researchers, including faculty, students, and recent alumni of the Strategic Foresight and Innovation Master of Design program. Together, the group helps establish a platform for knowledge exchange, design review, individualized consultation, and advocacy.  

“This partnership exemplifies how strategic innovation design, human-centred processes and creativity are critical to business growth. We are excited to support the Richmond Hill business community with this unique collaboration that will generate new products, services as well as new partnerships,” says OCAD U President and Vice-Chancellor Ana Serrano, one of the speakers at the Collision Conference. 

Speakers will also include David West, Mayor of Richmond Hill, Ana Serrano, President of OCAD University, Robert Luke, CEO of eCampus Ontario, and Dr. Walid Mowaswes, CLIC participant and owner of PharmaGuide, a Richmond Hill based pharmaceutical software business.  

Collision is one of the world’s largest tech conferences, bringing together the world’s best speakers, tech’s leading companies and leaders of all industries touched by tech. 
York Region is hosting the #YRtech Pavilion at this year’s Collision Conference, in collaboration with its nine cities and towns, to share the amazing stories of innovation, partnership and business expansions occurring within the Region’s tech ecosystem. 

News Summary
OCAD U President Ana Serrano will be among the speakers at the 2022 Collision Conference to share how this new initiative is generating new products, services and partnerships.
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A blue toned photograph of a presentation hall with large screens with digital projections. The words Collision appears in the centre of the image.
OCAD U partners with Richmond Hill and eCampusOntario to support companies in post-pandemic recovery 

OCAD University is partnering with the City of Richmond Hill and eCampusOntario to launch the Centre of Local Innovation and Collaboration (CLIC).  

This unique initiative will harness the business and design expertise of OCAD U students to accelerate post-pandemic recovery for local businesses in Richmond Hill. The new CLIC will also draw on resources from the city’s Small Business Enterprise Centre to help local businesses review operations through a design-thinking lens. 

Companies will work with OCAD University researchers to make market insights, identify service opportunities and develop potential new products. Business owners will then leverage these proposals to apply for research and development funding through various government partners. 
“This partnership exemplifies how strategic innovation design, human-centred processes and creativity are critical to business growth. OCAD U’s School of Continuing Studies and students and graduates of our acclaimed Strategic Foresight and Innovation (SFI) program are excited to support the Richmond Hill business community,” says OCAD University President and Vice-Chancellor Ana Serrano. 
Students enrolled in the innovative SFI graduate program at OCAD U come from a diversity of backgrounds as artists, entrepreneurs, social scientists and engineers. They learn how to manage organizational change by gaining design thinking skills that focus on enhancing business success and positively impacting society. 
Seventeen companies are currently piloting the business improvement program in Richmond Hill. Plans are underway to welcome additional companies in the future. 
“By partnering with a well-known educator like OCAD University we are providing businesses with an opportunity to tap into new expertise and creative thinking that can help accelerate business recovery and prosperity,” says Mayor of Richmond Hill David West. 
Richmond Hill is located north of Toronto and is one of Ontario’s fastest growing cities. Home to the largest telescope in Canada, it has a population of 200,000 that reports an annual income that is 34 per cent higher than the Canadian average. 
“We at OCAD University are dedicated to building partnerships across the GTA to power businesses and improve the lives of people within our communities as we recover from the pandemic,” President Serrano continues. 
The third partner in the initiative, eCampusOntario, is a non-profit organization that leads a consortium of the province’s publicly funded colleges, universities and Indigenous institutes that supports digital transformation and encourages innovation, collaboration and partnerships to connect Ontario’s campuses to the future of learning. 

“eCampusOntario is excited to partner with the City of Richmond Hill and OCAD University for this great opportunity. We are actively facilitating these types of engagements between Ontario businesses and higher education institutions to increase our competitive edge and support the province’s post-pandemic recovery," comments Robert Luke, CEO of eCampusOntario.

"These partnerships not only help businesses grow and invest in research and development, they provide valuable learning opportunities for students to directly contribute to strengthening Ontario’s economy,” he continues. 

News Summary
The partnership is an example of how strategic innovation, design and human-centred processes are critical to business growth.
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An arial photo of Richmond Hill with a mix of roads, cars, parking lots, grass and mid-rise buildings.

The province’s leading universities focused on technology and design have teamed up to forge a new model for the delivery of post-secondary education in Ontario: together OCAD U and Ontario Tech University will develop dynamic new ways of learning, curriculum, programs and research capacities.

“Through this three–year pilot partnership, Ontario Tech University and OCAD U will combine our expertise to develop new, efficient ways of teaching and learning,” says Dr. Steven Murphy, Ontario Tech University President. “This relationship aligns with the Government of Ontario’s economic and skills development strategies, and will provide great benefits to industry, students and faculty.” 

Art and design are in-demand disciplines that engineering, computer science, health and other areas of science require to establish creative approaches in their fields. 

“Today’s rapidly-evolving workforce needs the combined power of creativity and science. Artists and designers seek knowledge of science, engineering, data fluency and emerging technologies to better support current and future industries,” says Dr. Sara Diamond, OCAD U President. “I know other universities will want to apply the outcomes of this model to their institutions.”

The universities will provide and promote opportunities for students at both institutions to easily enrol in courses and transfer credits beginning in September 2019. 

 Six projects will launch this year:

  • Consultative talent assessment: Career development centres at both universities will work together so that employers can access the talent pool of both institutions.
  • Joint career events for senior students, such as career and employer networking events, and “reverse career fair” in Toronto with both partners. 
  • A joint series of “badges” leading to microcredentials in Virtual Reality (VR) development. 
  • A student-led workshop at VRTO, the Virtual and Augmented Reality World Conference and Expo in Toronto June 1 to 3.
  • New online project-based courses that use consumer-level VR to allow remotely located students to do hands-on prototyping in a network of maker spaces.  
  • A two-week workshop series on “Technopoetics, where students will produce films in “essayistic” style using motion capture techniques. 

Future initiatives will include upskilling and reskilling initiatives, collaborative programs and research, as well as shared resource models.  

For more information on the partnership and upcoming projects visit our websites: or

Faculty of Design
President Diamond and President Murphy with students


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