Innovating with character happens when grit and perseverance meet science and technology. It’s an integral part of showing resilience through innovation and using innovation for good in times of uncertainty and as we navigate of world events.

Character is one of the 21st century skills that will help this generation and future leaders become great innovators and global citizens. Character means having the qualities that are essential for being effective in a complex world. Those qualities include grit, tenacity, perseverance, resilience, reliability, and honesty.  These are the skills exhibited by the Inspired Innovators.

Inspired Innovator: Hunster Yang

Hunster Yang is a CST Graduate Award recipient. He completed a Bachelor of Science at Western University, studying neuroscience as well as a Master of Science in Global Health at McMaster University. Hunster is now a first year medical student at the University of Toronto. His personal experience supporting the mental health needs of family members has shaped his present, launching him into a career where these two practices intersect.

While caring for his grandmother who was living with Alzheimer’s Disease, Yang noticed gaps in the healthcare system and determined that culturally competent care is needed to give patients the best support possible. He launched the Institute for Youth Health and Development (IYHD), a non-profit organization that aims to improve the health and well-being of vulnerable populations in Toronto. Through his career, Yang aspires to learn more about health policies and solutions to tackle challenges as a physician, while continuing to advocate for health equity for underserviced populations in Canada and around the world.

Inspired Innovator: Dr. Garnette Sutherland

Dr. Garnette Sutherland is a 2019 Governor General’s Innovation Award laureate. He used his experience treating a cancer patient as a launching point to build technology that improves patient care.

When Dr. Sutherland was unable to treat all of one patient’s tumors, he looked for a way to move imaging technology into the operating room to achieve his surgical goals. Dr. Sutherland developed a high field intraoperative magnetic resonance (MR) system that uses machine technology to provide surgeons with detailed, 3-D MR images while in operation. The images are produced by the neuroArm, an image-guided robotic system. This innovative technology has been used in over 40,000 neurological surgeries worldwide, and it promises to make surgeries less invasive and more standardized, thereby improving outcomes and reducing costs.

The Intersection of Character and Innovation

Character is key to innovation success. It’s part of the recipe that helps innovators get up and start again to find a better path and a better way. Whether launching a non-profit or building a never-heard-of technology, there will be rejection and failure. In those times innovators like Hunster Yang and Dr. Sutherland learned, grew, and remained resilient to keep working towards their goal of innovation.

This blog post is one in a series of Inspired Innovator blogs, through Canadian Scholarship Trust Foundation’s partnership with the Rideau Hall Foundation. We hope you’ll follow along as we share more about the Inspired Innovators and the 21st century skills they’re using to succeed in today’s rapidly evolving world. Tune in to our social channels @CSTConsultants and @cstspark or follow along at @RideauHallFdn and @Cdn_Innovation for more innovation news.