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The Globe's biweekly business-school news roundup.

Canada is among the global leaders in health-care innovation, but it ranks low in applying breakthroughs to improve the system, experts say.

One of those on a mission to close the gap is Anne Snowdon, recently tapped to lead a new health innovation network at the University of Windsor's Odette School of Business.

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"We are funding great research and great development, yet it falls off a cliff trying to get it into health systems," says Dr. Snowdon, a Fulbright Scholar with degrees in nursing (the University of Western Ontario and the University of Michigan) and science (McGill University). "There are no natural processes and pathways for that to happen."

As chair of the Odette World Health Innovation Network, she plans to build partnerships among academics, entrepreneurs and others in Canada and the United States to promote innovation in the North American health-care market.

Both countries have a stake in cross-border co-operation, she observes.

Canada can learn from researchers and others in California, Boston and other high-tech centres in the United States, she says. "How are they getting it [innovation] into their health-care systems, and how do we collaborate to do that much more smoothly and rapidly so companies won't ignore the Canadian market?"

In the United States, "Obamacare is moving the American health system toward a more look-and-feel of Canada's publicly funded health-care model," she notes. "They don't know how to do it and they don't know what are the levers and policy frameworks … we have decades and decades of experience with that."

In addition, the Odette network plans to develop postgraduate programs by early 2016, with the focus on recruiting students from engineering and business who can share their expertise.

"As they learn to work together in leading health system innovation, you get a cross-disciplinary perspective that drives innovation much faster," says Dr. Snowdon, who was previously academic chair of the International Centre for Health Innovation at the University of Western Ontario's Ivey Business School.

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Odette dean Allan Conway says the new network fits with the school's twin interests in cross-border collaboration and health-care reform.

"The biggest industry in this country is health care," he says. "If we don't figure out the whole health care space differently than where we are now, we cannot afford it."

Health care is already a major employer of Odette graduates, he adds, with the sector expected to be the largest single employer of the school's business graduates.

Donation boosts focus on teaching ethical business practices

Tales of corporate misdeeds are rarely far from the headlines, making all the more lofty Ryerson University's Ted Rogers School of Management's ambition "to develop Canada's next generation of ethical business leaders."

"People are rightly skeptical of ethics in leadership because we do see scandals day after day," concedes business-school dean Steven Murphy. But he is impressed by the moral compass of the current crop of students, whom he describes as "the most socially conscious generation I have ever seen."

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With a recent gift of $1-million from the family of the late Ted Rogers, adding to $33-million previously donated over the past decade to Ryerson, the school of management and the Ted Rogers Leadership Centre plan to expand their focus on ethical leadership.

The latest donation will be used, in part, to sponsor a national case competition for undergraduate students on business ethics, complementing one already run by graduate business students.

As well, the school plans to add to its roster of ethics-oriented business case studies, embedding the topic throughout the curriculum. "You could be sitting in a finance class and asking … how would you ethically confront this financial situation?" Dr. Murphy says.

The school also plans to expand its inventory of e-learning modules, to be developed over the next 18 months and offered, potentially free, to a variety of audiences, including high-school students and middle managers.

"The main purpose is to say, 'Let's all start having a more sophisticated dialogue about what ethics mean,'" Dr. Murphy says. "It is not simply about doing good and bad. It is [about] understanding the shades of grey that are in everyday behaviour," he adds. "If we can raise the discourse even by a little bit we are doing something important."

Small-budget contest yields big win for college business students

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With an advertising budget of only $250 and a short implementation timetable, marketing students from Fanshawe College's Lawrence Kinlin School of Business won top honours at a Google-sponsored social media contest and a donation of $15,000 (U.S.) for a local children's museum.

The London, Ont., college won the Google Online Marketing Challenge for the second year in a row. For its winning entry, the four-person team from Fanshawe developed a search-engine advertising campaign over three weeks to assist the London Children's Museum in boosting enrolment for camps, birthday parties and memberships.

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Contact Jennifer at jlewington@bell.net

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