Wednesday, 13 June 2007

Innovation Nation

Report on business (and CBC and the Star etc etc.) are talking about a new report that gives Canada what is tantamount to a failing grade in innovation:

"This country is doing dismally in the critically important area of innovation," writes the board's president, Anne Golden. "And the implications of that failure ... show up in the absence of creative policy and investment decisions across all the other domains."

"Canadians are complacent and generally unwilling to take risks," the report scolds. "This culture holds Canada back."

Risk adverse is exactly how I would characterize the Canadian environment. In the tech sector there is no question that living in Canada is a detriment. I talk to entrepreneurs all the time and all of them say the same thing – getting funding in Canada is a longer and more difficult process compared to the US or Europe.

Hopefully reports like this will actually get some action going. There are so many great innovators here and its clear that lack of support actually impacts our economy.

Maybe the Government will actually take some steps. I can think of two areas they might want to start with – overhaul IRAP (what a nightmare getting a wee grant there was) and create tax policies that actually encourage greater investments in high risk areas.

Innovation isn't the issue here in Canada. But supporting it is.


vanessa said...

Totally agree. So much talent here, but the investment environment, government policy... everything just works against you. Got 10 ice cream stores and wanna open 2 more? Ok, *maybe* someone will invest some money or *maybe* some bank will give you a loan. Got a totally new idea? Whoa! We don't want any of that new-fangled nonsense around here! We'll think about it for 6 months and get back to you with a "no thanks, it's not really a fit with our portfolio."

It's just such an incredible waste.

But I'm stubborn. I mean my country essentially wants me to fail here so I have to go the US to succeed, but I say "screw it" I'm going to succeed here *despite* you. Not many people are that bull-headed about it, though. So the brain drain continues...

Ok, rant off.

Leigh said...

Well I think the timing issue is a bit of a painful one but i don't think we'll have to move...not just yet anyhow ;-)

It will be interesting to see if anything shakes out of this one or if it just becomes another report people can point to if we find we are even more behind five more years from now.

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