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Symposium: Opportunities and Challenges of the Digital Transformation

Tuesday 24 Nov 2020
From 2:15PM To 5PM

As part of the 2020 Conference of the CIRANO Pole on the Socio-Economic Impacts of Digital Innovation and AI


In preparation for the launch of the book Le Québec économique 9 : Perspectives et défis de la transformation numérique (Opportunities and Challenges of the Digital Transformation), CIRANO organized a half-day symposium on the theme of digital transformation. Authors of the book discussed the challenges related to this issue.




Look back at the event







This event was preceded by a keynote lecture by Avi Goldfarb, Rotman Chair in Artificial Intelligence and Healthcare and a professor of marketing at the Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto and author of Prediction Machines: The Simple Economics of Artificial Intelligence (2018).

Catherine Beaudry

A CIRANO Researcher and Fellow since 2002, Main Researcher of the theme Innovation and Digital Transformation at CIRANO, Catherine Beaudry is Full Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal. She holds the Canada Tier I Research Chair in the Creation, Development and Commercialization of Innovation (Innovation Chair) at Polytechnique Montréal and leads the Partnership for the Organization of Innovation and New Technologies (4POINT0). She is also a member of the Board of Directors and Program Committee of the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC), a member of the Board of Directors of QuébecInnove, a member of the Centre interuniversitaire de recherche sur la science et la technologie (CIRST), an associate professor at UQAM and a founding member of the "Global Young Academy".

Catherine Beaudry is a Rhodes Scholar and holds a Ph.D. and Master's Degree in Economics from Oxford University. From her studies in electrical engineering specializing in space technology, she kept a deep interest in technology, science and innovation.

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Simon Bourdeau

CIRANO Researcher and Fellow since 2012, Simon Bourdeau is a full professor in the Department of Analytics, Operations and Information Technology (AOTI) at the School of Management Sciences, Université du Québec à Montréal. He is also a member/researcher at GReSI (HEC Montréal). He teaches various courses in information technology and project management at ESG UQAM, and sits on various pedagogical and administrative committees.

Holder of a PhD in information technology from HEC Montréal, his research interests focus on: 1) Digital transformations, change management and digital skills, 2) Innovation, creativity and design, 3) Team dynamics - Diversity, resilience, adaptability, collaboration and conflict management, 4) Operational risks - Project management and cyber-risks and 5) LEGO Serious Play and complex problem solving.

Simon has been a certified Project Management Professional (PMI) since 2007, LEGO Serious Play Facilitator since 2013, Business Continuity Specialist since 2020 (Certificate of the Business Continuity Institute (CBCI) and Change Management Specialist and Prosci Certified Change.

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Daniel J. Caron

A researcher and CIRANO Fellow since 2015, Daniel J. Caron holds the Chaire de recherche en exploitation des ressources informationnelles at ÉNAP, where he studies the impact of digital technologies on the functioning of government and public agencies from an information perspective. He teaches public administration and program evaluation and is also an Associate Professor at Carleton University and an Associate Research Fellow of the International Observatory on the Societal Impacts of AI and Digital (OBVIA). He founded and co-directed the Information Governance Collection at PUQ. His career has been between research, teaching and management. He spent more than 30 years as a federal public servant in various senior positions. He holds a master’s degree in economics from Université Laval and a doctorate in applied humanities from the Université de Montréal.

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Pierre Cléroux

Pierre Cléroux was appointed Vice President, Research and Chief Economist at BDC in 2012.

Pierre leads a team of experts who analyze economic data to identify business and sector trends impacting Canadian entrepreneurs. A seasoned speaker, he regularly travels across the country to help business owners understand the risks and opportunities presented by the economic environment.

Mr. Cléroux is also responsible for providing economic analysis and advice to the Bank’s senior management team, and supervises all marketing and industry research activities.

Over his 25-year career as an economist, he has held several influential positions that had a direct impact on entrepreneurs in Canada and abroad.

Before joining BDC, Pierre worked for the Government of Saudi Arabia as Vice President, Business Analysis in the National Industry Clusters Development Program. His role was to create program strategies, define sector policies and conduct financial and economic analyses of industrial projects.

Previously, Mr. Cléroux was the Quebec Assistant Deputy Minister for Economic Development, Innovation and Export Trade, responsible for the implementation of economic policies and programs to support small and medium-sized businesses and encourage entrepreneurship. He was also a strategic advisor for Montreal International, where he was responsible for attracting foreign investment from India and the Middle East, and developing international relationships and partnerships. He worked for 12 years at the Canadian Federation of Independent Business in various roles, including economist and Quebec Vice President.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts and a master’s degree in Economics from Laval University, as well as an MBA from the MIT Sloan School of Management.

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Nathalie de Marcellis-Warin

A CIRANO Researcher and Fellow since 2003, Nathalie de Marcellis-Warin has been President and Chief Executive Officer of CIRANO since 2016, has been leading the Baromètre CIRANO project on risk perception in Quebec, which annually collects data on Quebecers' concerns on 47 social issues since 2011, is responsible of the CIRANO Pole on the Socio-economic Impacts of Digital Intelligence and Main Researcher of the theme Innovation and Digital Transformation. Nathalie de Marcellis-Warin is Full Professor in the Department of Mathematics and Industrial Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal. She is also a Visiting Scientist at Harvard T. Chan School of Public Health and an associate researcher at the Institute for Data Valorization (IVADO).

Holding a Ph.D. in Management Science (in risks and insurance management) from École normale supérieure de Cachan, her research interests focus on risk management and decision-making in different risks and uncertainty contexts as well as public policies. Her research combines economic analysis, cost-benefit analysis, survey data analysis, and more recently massive unstructured data analysis.

In 2008 she created the RISQH network to raise awareness and share experiences on risks management, and patient safety and quality of care in health care facilities.

She participated in the creation of the Montreal Declaration for a Responsible Development of AI.

She is also co-PI of the "Monitoring and Surveys" function at the International Observatory on the Societal Impacts of AI and Digital Technology.

She has published numerous scientific articles, several books and more than 30 reports for government and other organizations. She has given more than a hundred conferences and is regularly solicited to speak in the media.

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Benoit Dostie

A CIRANO Researcher and Fellow since 2001, responsible of the CIRANO Pole on the Socio-economic Impacts of Digital Intelligence and Main Researcher of the theme Innovation and Digital Transformation, Benoit Dostie is Full Professor in the Department of Applied Economics at HEC Montréal and Academic Director of the Centre interuniversitaire québécois de statistiques sociales (CIQSS).

He also holds the Power Corporation of Canada Chair in Labour Relations, Compensation and Benefits.

Holding a Ph.D. in Economics from Cornell University, his research interests are labour economics and applied econometrics.

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Genevieve Dufour

Genevieve Dufour holds a Master's degree in Economics from the Université de Montréal, with a semester spent at Temple University in Philadelphia. She has worked as a research professional in numerous organizations including the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania, the Université de Montréal and CIRANO. She also has worked as a private economic consultant on assignments leading to the writing of expert reports used, among others, in Court.

Since her return at CIRANO in 2017, she has been in charge of numerous research partnerships, including those with the Ministère de l'Économie et de l'Innovation (MEI) on the socio-economic impacts of digital innovation and artificial intelligence, and the partnership with the Centre de recherches mathématiques CRM) on the importance of mathematics for Quebec society. In addition, she coordinated Le Québec économique 9: Perspectives et défis de la transformation numérique (2021) and Le Québec économique 10: Compétences et transformation du marché du travail (2022). She is also a member of  4POINT0 Scientific Committtee.

Her research interests focus mainly on the effects of technological innovations, labour market, training, human resources, and productivity.

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Pierre Fitzgibbon

Pierre Fitzgibbon was born in Montréal.

He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from École des Hautes Études Commerciales de Montréal (HEC) and is a Quebec Chartered Professional Accountant.

Before becoming involved in politics, Mr. Fitzgibbon served as managing partner at Walter Capital Partners, a private Equity Firm, between 2015 and 2018.

From 2007 to 2014, Mr. Fitzgibbon assumed the role of president and chief executive officer at Atrium Innovations, a company that develops, manufactures and markets valueadded products for the health and nutrition industry.

From 2002 to 2007, he put his skills to work at National Bank Group, where he occupied the position of vice-chairman of National Bank Financial, where he mainly acted as head of investment banking and corporate finance services. He was also senior vice president of finance, technology and corporate affairs at National Bank of Canada.

Previously, Mr. Fitzgibbon also held executive positions in finance, as well as in company and business development at Télésystème Mobiles International, Chase Capital Partners Hong Kong, Domtar and Peerless Carpet Corporation. He began his career at PricewaterhouseCoopers in auditing and consulting services.

Over the last few years, Mr. Fitzgibbon has served on several boards of directors, including that of Caisse de dépôt et placement du Québec, WSP, Héroux-Devtek, TC Transcontinental, Cycle Capital Management, Neptune Technologies, Lumenpulse and Arianne Phosphate.

This committed businessman is involved in his community and in several organizations, including until recently, the Fondation du Dr Julien.

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Catherine Haeck

A CIRANO Researcher and Fellow since 2011, Main Researcher of the theme Skills, Catherine Haeck is Full Professor in the Department of Economics at the École des sciences de la gestion of the Université du Québec à Montréal. She is also director of the CIQSS-UQAM-INRS Laboratory, a visiting researcher at the Quebec Inter-University Centre for Social Statistics (QICSS), a member of the Human Capital Research Group, a member of the Research Unit on Children's Psychosocial Maladjustment and researcher affiliated with the Education Policy Research Initiative.

Holding a Ph.D. in Economics from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, her research focuses on the human capital development of children and youth. She has written about universal childcare, prenatal nutrition programs, parental leave reforms, and school reforms. Her current research focuses on the impact of class size reduction on student outcomes, and also the impacts of universal childcare on household expenditures. She also studies the geographical and temporal evolution of intergenerational mobility in Canada compared to the United States with an aim to better understand the causal relationship between education and mobility.

She has published in several major economic and human capital journals, in addition to having received more than $9M in research grants since 2014 (including SSHRC and FRQSC).

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Laurence Solar-Pelletier

After completing her Bachelor's degree in Industrial Engineering at Polytechnique Montréal, Laurence Solar-Pelletier continued her studies in management at HEC Montréal, where she obtained a Master's degree and a Doctorate in Administration. She has long worked in the field of training and skills development, particularly in the high-tech sector and with small and medium-sized businesses. This led her to be a researcher in various projects at the Université de Montréal, Université de Sherbrooke and UQAM, including in-house training in companies and the evaluation of a training program. She was coordinator of the Centre interdisciplinaire de recherche et développement sur l'éducation et la formation (CIRDEF) and writer at the Observatoire Compétences-Emplois (OCE).

Laurence Solar-Pelletier is now the coordinator of the Research Chair on the Creation, Development and Commercialization of Technology, as well as of the Research Group in Management and Globalization of Technology (GMT), located at Polytechnique Montréal. This return to her roots allows her to combine in one place her different passions, namely innovation, economic development, and technology labour issues, all in a multidisciplinary approach.

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Dalibor Stevanovic

A CIRANO Researcher and Fellow since 2011, responsible of the CIRANO Pole on Modeling and Main Researcher of the theme Economic and Fiscal Policy, Dalibor Stevanovic is Associate Professor in the Department of Economics at the École des sciences de la gestion of the Université du Québec à Montréal and co-holder of the Chair in Macroeconomics and Forecasting at ESG-UQAM.

Holding a Ph.D. in Economics from Université de Montréal, his research interests are time series econometrics, automatic learning and massive data, with applications in macroeconomics and finance.

After a bachelor's and master's degree in economics from Université Laval in Quebec City, Dalibor Stevanovic obtained his doctorate under the supervision of Jean-Marie Dufour and Jean Boivin. He then did a postdoctoral fellowship as part of the Max Weber programme at the European University Institute in Florence.

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14:15 - 14:20
Opening Address
Pierre Fitzgibbon
14:20 - 14:25
Welcoming Address
14:25 - 14:35
Presentation of Le Québec économique 9
14:35 - 15:20
Ecosystems, the State and businesses in the context of digital transformation
Catherine Beaudry, Simon Bourdeau, Daniel J. Caron, Laurence Solar-Pelletier
15:20 - 15:30
15:30 - 16:05
The labor market, training and education in the context of digital transformation
16:15 - 16:35
The pandemic is holding back a growing economy
Pierre Cléroux
16:35 - 16:45
New forecasting models and data sources for innovative public policies
16:45 - 17:00
Virtual cocktail