John Edward (Jack) Smith

Short Bio

Jack Smith is Senior Advisor to the Chief of Staff Defence R&D Canada. From 2004-2008 he served as Director of Science & Technology Foresight for the Office of the National Science Advisor, Government of Canada. Formerly, he was Senior Corporate Strategist and Manager Planning and Assessment for the National Research Council of Canada.

Mr. Smith brings over 20 years of federal government policy, technology and innovation program development experience to his futures and foresight work. Since founding the Office of Technology Foresight at the NRC in 2002 , he has led or been an advisor to collaborative foresight projects in several emerging S&T domains such as: bio-systemics; nano-bio-info convergence; bio-products; future fuels for APEC economies; animal health; bio-health innovation and stewardship, and future professional readiness for physicians and veterinarians.

Mr. Smith is Chair of the Foresight Synergy Network (FSN) of Canada, and a member of the Technical Committee for the European Commission’s Future Technology Assessment Conference.

He also is or has been a member of the International Institute of Forecasters (IIF), the Society of Competitive Intelligence Professionals (SCIP) and the Canadian Association of Business Economists (CABE), and he is the author of articles for Frontline, R&D Management, Policy Options and the Innovation Journal on technology futures, security and strategic management.


A. National Research Council of Canada 1989 - 2002

Current Position: Leader, Office for Technology Foresight

This position involves the development and leadership of NRC's science and technology foresight activities, including managing foresight studies for the Federal Innovation Networks of Excellence (FINE), for NRC's integrative research agenda and NRC's community technology clusters. The Office will also be a source of best practices on methods and international experience on S&T foresight.

Position: Director of Planning and Assessment, NRC Corporate Services (1996-99)

This position provides strategic policy and planning advice on long term issues and corporate positioning to the President of NRC, to NRC's Executive Management Committee and to NRC's Governing Council. NRC is Canada's principal science and technology organization. Strategic planning and management involves working with NRC Institutes and their partners in Canada's research community and technology industries to support and facilitate technological and managerial innovation.

Major Achievements:

  • Key writer, secretariat role in federal science and technology policy review, 1994-95; Author of Minister of Industry's industry Portfolio Action Plan, response to the S&T Review, and a contributor to Towards An Innovation Strategy for Canada published by the NRC for the Government of Canada.
  • Principal author of NRC's five year long range plan 1990-1995, published as The Competitive Edge;
  • Development and management of NRC's role in national competitiveness policy, regional and community innovation and cluster strategies, NRC knowledge management strategy, and lead role in federal S&T policy fora;
  • Effective repositioning of NRC within the science and technology portfolio of government;
  • NRC environmental scanning and analysis framework for strategic management;
  • Lead role in the development of NRC sectoral and technological R&D strategies;
  • Definition of NRC position in federal S&T priorities, environmental industries strategies

B. Energy, Mines and Resources Canada 1981 - 1989

Positions: Manager, Planning and Resources Management
Chief, Planning and Technology Analysis
Chief, Energy Demonstration Programs
Senior Planner, Energy Conservation & Standards

In these planning and management positions, I developed and managed several Federal energy efficiency policy and program initiatives that promoted the development of new technologies, and contributed to competitive improvements in Canada's energy use facilities and industries. Duties ranged from managing a staff of fourteen to being responsible for the management of a program budget of approximately $ 20 Million, as well as advising senior executives on energy efficiency policy and program matters. Work assignments included direct support for senior executives, liaison with technology firms and supervision of large contracts with major consultant firms throughout Canada.

Major Achievements

  • Federal Cabinet approval of the $50 million Super Energy Efficient (R-2000) Housing Demonstration Program. I assisted senior executives in developing the program rationale and in writing the Cabinet memorandum.
  • Development and management of the $20 million Enerdemo Canada program for accelerating the commercialization of new energy efficiency technologies.
  • Development of innovations that improved EMR's ability to audit the energy performance of buildings; to plan R&D priorities; to allocate resources; and accelerate the adoption of new technology through effective technology transfer.
  • Supervision of over $5 million of Federal contracts and contribution agreements for professional research by engineers, architects, economists in energy conservation and industrial process efficiency.

C. Canada Mortgage And Housing Corporation 1977 - 1981

Positions: Senior Demonstration Analyst, Policy and Research
Program Development Officer, Residential Rehabilitation
Evaluation Officer, Neighbourhood Improvement

During the late 1970's, I developed three Federal programs designed to revitalize Canada's housing industry. These programs stimulated improvements to neighbourhood quality and promoted a shift in consumer/industry focus toward the recycling of the housing stock through renovation and rehabilitation.

Major Achievements

  • Development of innovative housing demonstrations that incorporated new designs, standards and materials for energy efficiency. These included energy efficient housing projects for Indians in remote locations and Inuit communities in Canada's Arctic region.
  • Management of program evaluations of the Residential Rehabilitations and Neighbourhood Improvement Assistance Programs. These programs involved public spending of over $300 million for consumer home improvement and public works infrastructure.
  • Introduction of planning and policy instruments that helped CMHC to improve its resource targeting to neighbourhoods in decline and requiring rehabilitation.

D. Cornell University, Ithaca, New York, 1974 - 1976

Positions: Assistant Director, National Science Foundation
Alternative Energy Research Program, 1976
Research Assistant to Dr. Edward Ostrander,
Professor of Environmental Analysis, 1975.

The National Science Foundation project was one of the first North American academic initiatives to attempt net energy use analysis and modelling for energy efficiency potential. This university employment provided an excellent apprenticeship in research grantsmanship and administration.



Senior Policy Advisor to Candidate for Mayor of Ottawa

The candidate, a personal friend, asked me to develop policy positions and strategy. Her candidacy was unsuccessful because of a split vote, however the candidate's policy positions achieved substantial support and favorable media reviews.

Chairman of the Board for Housing Help, An Independent Community Support Agency

The agency provides direct street level support for the homeless of Ottawa-Carleton. It is managed by a voluntary Board whose members provide leadership and advice to as many as seven permanent staff. Stakeholders include various agencies of local and provincial governments.

Canadian Conference on International Year of Shelter for the Homeless,

This work involved assisting in the development of an exhibition which displayed the work of international organizations addressing the problem of homelessness and active participation as a resource person with area politicians on Community Based Housing Solutions.

Rapporteur for Consultation Meeting of Canada's National Voluntary Organizations, and the Prime Minister of Canada,

The NVO is a coalition of Canada's major charitable organizations and it meets every two years to prepare positions on major Federal initiatives in tax policy and social development.

Campaign Executive for the United Way of Ottawa-Carleton,.

Management of donation targets and contribution progress for three Federal departments as part of the Federal Public Service Campaign. Over $1.3 million, 135% of target was collected in the three Departments.

Founder, Vice President of Sandy Hill Housing Cooperative,

This is a 62 unit low and moderate income housing development in the downtown area that I started and successfully saw through to completion. It houses senior citizens, students, single parent and low income families and disabled persons.

Organizer of Shaping the Future. The Ottawa Futures Fair

In conjunction with the Canadian Futures Society, an innovation fair was organized to include microcomputer developments, fibre optics, solar energy and other new and emerging technologies and cultural forces.

Vice President of Conserver Society Cooperative

This involved the development of a consumer based group to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy exploration. Its major achievement was in affecting professional attitudes and initiating the publication of Renewable Energy News which expanded to a circulation of over 10,000 within three years and was subsequently integrated into the major U.S. publication Solar Age.

Director, Agency for Educational Innovation, Cornell University; Director, The Centre for Alternative Energy



1994 A Transformative Infrastructure For An Innovative Economy, Policy Options, September 1994, Institute for Research in Public Policy, Montreal, Quebec

1994 Knowledge/Technology Infrastructure: Perspectives on the Past and Future: Luncheon Address to DND Workshop in Proceedings of Knowledge Based Systems and Robotics Workshop: CRAD, Department of National Defence, Ottawa, Ontario

1993 From Here to the Knowledge Economy: Vancouver Symposium Proceedings, Business Futures Network, Environment Canada and National Research Council of Canada: Presentation on Technology Infrastructure.

1993 Houses With Intelligent Managers: A New Knowledge Services Capability for Canada, CABA Newsletter , Canadian Automated Building Association, Volume 5 # 3, Ottawa, Ontario

1993 Exploiting NRC's Competitive Advantages for Canada, NRC Planning Paper, National Research Council of Canada Corporate Services.

1992 Discernible Trends Which Are Changing Science and Technology, Planning Forum Network, International Strategic Management Society, Volume 5, #9 Oxford, Ohio

1991 The Industrial Research Assistance Program: A Strategic Plan For The 1990s, NRC Planning Corporate Planning Paper, National Research Council of Canada.

1991 Canada's Economic And Technical Competitiveness, NRC Planning Paper, National Research Council of Canada Corporate Services

1991 The Competitive Edge, NRC Long Range Plan 1990_1995, National Research Council of Canada

1985 In Search of Symbiotic Community, Towards a Theory of Environmental Design, Cornell University, Ithaca, New York.

1982 Residential Energy Prospecting in Proceedings of the 1982 National Conference of the Canadian Planning Institute, edited by Barry Wellar, Ottawa, Ontario.

1981 From Renovation and Rehabilitation to Retrofitting and Recycling: Housing Strategies for the 1980s, Proceedings of the International Congress on Conservation, Rehabilitation and Recycling, edited by Joseph Baker, Laval University Press, Quebec City ,Quebec

1979 Rehabilitation: More Than A Pretty Facade, and Built In Energy Efficiency, in Habitat, Volume 22 # 4, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Ottawa, Ontario.

1978 The Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program in Proceedings of the Second Canadian Building Congress, National Research Council of Canada


  1. The Strategic Leadership Forum: The International Society for Strategic Planning and Management;
  2. Innovation Management Association of Canada
  3. Canadian Association of Business Economists
  4. The Futures and Strategies Network


Updated July 15, 2002 revised June 2008

Last updated: November 2009