Canada has a ‘proven potential’ to innovate but struggles to turn it into economic might according to professor Dan Breznitz, co-director of the Innovation Policy Lab at University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs. In this role, he tracks how today’s economy rewards countries that carve out a unique role in the global supply of ideas, goods and services.
“Canada is primed for success, as long as we embrace the right innovation policies.” According to Breznitz, Canada has science policies, research policies and industrial policies that we call ‘innovation policies,’ but these are not truly innovation policies.
So, it’s not really surprising we are failing. We are horrible and for the last 13-15 years we have become worse and worse in terms of innovation and economic growth based on innovation.
What is disturbing about this is that at the same time, we actually became better and better in terms of proven potential to innovate and invent. We are punching way above our weight in scientific research, especially useful scientific research leading to new drugs and new technology that foreign companies and foreign economies are making a lot of money on. You’ll find a lot [of that research] was Canadian.
Innovation policies, even successful ones, take a long time to really change the landscape. So, what will come out of Canada’s innovation policy consultation? “What will actually be implemented rather than just announced?”
According to Breznitz, the policies must become institutionalized, otherwise, we’ll slide right back after the next election.