For three decades, the Ernest C. Manning Awards Foundation has recognized Canadians who develop and market successful innovations. This year, the awards are about imagination and stamina, says David Mitchell, the foundation’s president. Each of the four winners created a homegrown, breakthrough product. (Two of the prizes, the Innovation Awards, go to those who haven’t had access to research facilities or advanced education in their fields). All of the inventors refined their ideas constantly—sometimes over decades—until they had something they knew would make a difference.

Critical deliveries

Encana Principal Award $100,000

In the mid-1990s, Geoffrey Auchinleck and his business partner Lyn Sherman visited a small hospital in England to sell an electronic system to manage their lab test requests. During the sales call, the laboratory manager listened politely, shook his head and pointed to a refrigerator of donor blood. Help me with that, he said.

The lab manager fielded requests for blood transfusions and matched blood units to the patients. But after the units were picked up he lost control. Some units were transfused, others were returned or went missing. He needed a way to track who had picked up what, what had been used and how long a unit had been out of the fridge. It was basic information that could help the flow of a scarce resource.

:: Read the full Maclean’s magazine article on this year’s Manning Award winners, Geoffrey Auchinleck (BloodTrack), Roger Lecomte (University of Sherbrooke, LabPet), Geoffrey Gyles and Kerry Green (Wolf Trax Inc.) and Terry Bigsby (Aspenware).


Written by Hannah

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