Thomas Homer-Dixon, best-selling author of The Ingenuity Gap, will be the keynote speaker at SPARK 2017, an innovation conference hosted by Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) and Alberta Innovates.

As Chair of the Centre for International Governance Innovation at the University of Waterloo’s Balsillie School of International Affairs, Homer-Dixon’s work is focused on how people, organizations and societies can innovate in response to complex problems.

Homer-Dixon kicks off a lineup of more than 85 speakers, many of whom will take the stage with content never before shared publicly. The conference takes place Nov. 6-8 in Edmonton at the Shaw Conference Centre. ERA and Alberta Innovates are hosting SPARK 2017 to support game-changing solutions that reduce greenhouse gas emissions and advance the bioindustrial sector.

Canadian Natural Resources Limited, one of the funding recipients of ERA’s $40-million Methane Challenge, will share details on their methane-reducing innovations for the first time. Other confirmed speakers and panelists include:

  • Tony Van Bommel, senior managing partner, BDC Capital, Industrial, Clean and Energy (ICE) Technology Venture Fund
  • Sandy Marshall, executive director, Bioindustrial Innovation Canada
  • Dan Wicklum, chief executive, Canada's Oil Sands Innovation Alliance (COSIA)
  • Linda Coady, chief sustainability officer, Enbridge
  • Rebecca Boudreaux, president and board director, Oberon Fuels
  • Michael Crothers, president and country chair, Shell Canada Limited

"Any time you bring motivated and thoughtful people together, great things can happen. Connecting the top minds in the innovation space, through SPARK, will create opportunities to drive outcomes for Alberta, Canada and the world,” said Steve MacDonald, CEO, Emissions Reduction Alberta.

Laura Kilcrease, CEO, Alberta Innovates, added: “SPARK is more than just a networking opportunity. It’s a showcase for what’s working—and a place to have conversations about what we can do better. It’s also a venue to learn about new technologies and ideas to help take them closer to commercialization."

SPARK 2017 will also feature the release of national survey results providing a look at the state of the clean technology industry, and the launch of the 2018 Cleantech Directions research report.

In addition to high-profile speakers and noted experts, programming includes a technology showcase, networking opportunities, plenary and breakout sessions, and access to organizations that offer supports to innovators and researchers.

SPARK 2017 is expected to attract 400-plus attendees from the oil and gas, agriculture, forestry, clean technology and bioindustrial sectors. Registrants include entrepreneurs, researchers, investors, academics, non-government organizations, businesses leaders, industry associations, regulatory and funding agencies, and advisory groups.