Growing Global: North America

Breakthroughs breed breakthroughs: from Silicon Valley to Silicon Alley, Vancouver to Kitchener-Waterloo, the tech boom across North America has sparked a cycle of innovation that’s changing brands and culture at a rapid rate. It’s not just breakthroughs in products and services, but in the ways things are done. This is evidenced by the growth of the “gig economy.” Breakthroughs Brands like San Francisco’s Slack (originally designed for a group of startup engineers) and TaskRabbit, or last year’s WeWork (NYC), have fundamentally changed how we work, live, and cocreate, opening new, agile ways of working both inside and outside of organizations.

As the future of work evolves and employees’ expectations change, the importance of a strong internal culture is at an all-time high. Canada’s Flipp—which is moving retail flyers into the digital age—has grown from within: it’s won a Best Workplace in Canada Award and is among Canada’s 10 Most Admired Corporate Cultures. A strong brand and clear purpose are the hallmarks of growth.

Whether engaging employees or customers, the focus is on the experience. The death knell of retail has been silenced by experience-led brands like last year’s US Breakthrough Glossier and buzzworthy Canadian brand Frank + Oak, which crossed the digital divide with a premium and personalized experienced. Meanwhile, in the tech sector, hardware is taking a backseat to software that powers these enhanced, seamless, and integrated user experiences. Technology is also behind the blurring of sector boundaries, especially as established brands flex to create experiences that are more emotional and sustaining. This often comes in the form of growth partnerships, as we saw in 2016. Unilever’s recent acquisition of NY-based brand, Sir Kensington’s, for example, earns the CPG giant a brand with transparency, ethical sourcing, and storytelling at the heart—and bodes well for the conscious condiment-maker too.

North America is a growth culture by nature, bolstered by entrepreneurial spirit and ample investment in innovation.

In Canada, government support for startups like healthy-habits program Carrot Rewards helps private companies grow, while benefiting the public sector. And as Breakthroughs open up even more opportunities, the region will hold strong to its heritage as a new frontier.


STEM spells growth in Canada
Federal investments in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) create huge opportunities for cleantech and energy and breakthroughs that could make Canada a leader in helping the world build a sustainable future

Trust in the US
While political and economic factors have eroded America’s trust in institutions, brands have a chance to step up and step in. They’re standing out with a strong vision, fostering community, and earning people’s trust through transparency and a clear sense of purpose.

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