News room > Press releases > 2016 > [Study] Management and intergenerational transfer of knowledge

[Study] Management and intergenerational transfer of knowledge

A critical challenge for companies in the years to come

Tuesday May 24, 2016

More than 200 leaders and representatives of the business, academic and political community attended the “Heritage: Retaining Critical Knowledge” conference held today in Montréal.

Organized by Aéro Montréal and Mosaic HEC Montréal (Creativity and Innovation hub) in partnership with Emploi-Québec, the conference explored solutions and best practices related to the transfer and management of knowledge, a critical challenge for companies faced with an increasing number of baby boomers taking retirement.

According to François Blais, Minister of Employment and Social Solidarity and Minister responsible for the Capitale-Nationale region, “Transferring skills and knowledge is an essential step for companies wishing to adapt to labour market changes. Undeniably, it gives companies a competitive edge and makes it easier to match manpower skills with employers’ needs. The Gouvernement du Québec is therefore pleased to be associated with this highly strategic conference for the aerospace sector.”

“The Québec aerospace is an important source for the creation of new, high-value jobs for the economy,” said Suzanne M. Benoît, President of Aéro Montréal. “The 4.0 industrial revolution, which is integrating digital technologies into industrial processes, and the ability to attract and retain a quality succession, are major challenges for our industry. The solutions involve ensuring effective and appropriate ways to manage and transfer knowledge. With the support of our partners, we can deploy new tools that will enable aerospace companies to successfully tackle this challenge.”

The event brought two renowned speakers to Québec for the first time to contribute to the discussions and deliberations of participants. Étienne Wenger, a recognized pioneer on the topic of social learning and author of the book Communities of Practice: Learning Meaning and Identity, addressed the key issue of the socialization of knowledge through communities of practice. Edward Hoffman, NASA’s Chief Knowledge Officer, presented a concrete case study related to his work with industry leaders to develop the space agency’s capacities in managing knowledge sharing.

“For the next five to 10 years, massive retirements among experienced employees will accelerate, a situation which is putting increasing pressure on the industrial sector and the labour market,” said Laurent Simon, associate professor in the department of entrepreneurship and innovation at HEC Montréal and co-director of Mosaic HEC Montréal. “In an economy where mastering, applying and updating expert knowledge represent a key strategic capability, this “brain drain” as a result of retirements poses a risk to the competitiveness and sustainability of Québec organizations. Our goal today was to raise awareness and encourage action, and we can say mission accomplished.”

As part of the conference, the two co-directors of Mosaic HEC Montréal, Patrick Cohendet and Laurent Simon, gave a presentation on the Heritage Project, an innovative research project on the intergenerational transfer of knowledge in Québec in the field of aerospace. The initiative is sponsored by Aéro Montréal and Emploi-Québec Île-de-Montréal and brings together many industrial partners from the aerospace cluster, including Bombardier, Pratt & Whitney Canada, Héroux-Devtek, Hutchinson, JMJ and CAMAQ. The Heritage Project includes the creation of a Knowledge Transfer Portal which will be launched by the end of 2016.


About Aéro Montréal

Created in 2006, Aéro Montréal (aeroMontré is a strategic think tank that groups all major decision makers in Québec's aerospace sector, including companies, educational and research institutions, as well as associations and unions.

Aéro Montréal’s mission is to engage Québec's aerospace cluster with a view to increasing its growth and expansion on the global scene. Its vision is to become a benchmark in global aerospace. To this end, it champions the following values: excellence, engagement, collaboration, versatility and innovation.


About Mosaic HEC Montréal (Creativity and Innovation Hub)

Mosaic is the multidisciplinary hub for training and research at HEC Montréal specialized in the management of innovation and creativity.

Mosaic is an accelerator of innovation and creativity. Mosaic’s mission is to help leaders and organizations meet the challenge of innovation with methodologies from the creative industry and evolving practices. Mosaic is also proud to be the organizer of the summer school on management of creativity in an innovation society.


For more information:

Denyse Thiffault, Relations médias, 514 758-7535,
Gwenaël Brisé, Aéro Montréal, 438 497-3857,
Marc Tulin, HEC Montréal, 514 340-6298,