Innovation Connector taps into student creativity
Greg Bavington (Eng ’85) is the executive director of the new Queen’s Innovation Connector (QIC). The centre was jointly launched by the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science (FEAS) and Queen’s School of Business (QSB) to cultivate and support the innovative ideas of students, professors, corporate and social entrepreneurs and Canadian organizations.
“Innovation is going to maintain our quality of life in Canada and our universities are a key player in that,” says Mr. Bavington. “I want to tap into our students’ potential for innovative ideas and their enthusiasm for taking the initiative to watch those ideas grow into capital and social ventures.”
Since launching QIC in May, Mr. Bavington has worked with students and alumni to help them understand the benefits of teamwork and social skills when added to the core skills necessary for running a successful business.
QIC programs, including the Queen’s Summer Innovation Initiative (QSII), have already yielded success including a student-created company Listn that created an iPhone app that lets people share and connect through music and Moja Labs, a Kingston-based company focused on designing leisure and travel apps.
To help inspire, members of the FEAS and QSB tapped into their network of contacts and encouraged lawyers, business strategists and innovators to work with the students on their ideas, many spending a day at Queen’s at no cost to the program.
“The Queen’s Innovation Connector has taken flight and the Faculty of Engineering and Applied Science and the Queen’s School of Business are working hard to expand the programing across the University and the local communities including Kingston, Prince Edward County and points east,” says FEAS Dean Kimberly Woodhouse. “It is exciting times for creative and innovative activity here at Queen’s University. We are pleased to have Greg involved with the initiative.”
Mr. Bavington served as the President and CEO of KN Rubber for five years. Prior to that, he led the design for a $700 million modernization of the General Motors Car Final Assembly Plant in Oshawa. He also worked on the design and construction of smelters in South Africa, the Mississippi Delta and northern Canada for the engineering firm Hatch.
Mr. Bavington is an elected member of Queen's University Council, a member of the FEAS Campaign Advisory Cabinet and an alumnus member of the Queen's Engineering Society Board of Directors.
“I met Dean Woodhouse at an alumni function five years ago and my involvement at Queen’s has steadily increased since then. “I realized that I was at my best when I was with the students, staff and faculty, sharing my experiences as a technical innovator and business leader. I was asked to help out with QSII and, by the end of the summer, I was hooked on being here.”
With the early successes of QIC, Mr. Bavington is reaching out to the Queen’s community to find faculty interested in getting involved. Learn more about QIC at the newly-launched website.