Innovation eh?

Canada’s productivity is declining and as a recent article in Backbone Magazine details we’re not exactly leading the pack in innovation.

The article describes a common business scenario in Canada: entrepeneur has a good idea, it catches on, then they sell out.


It’s not just for the cash. We actually lack the systems and, maybe, the culture to grow businesses beyond the small to mid enteprise size.

It’s something I’ve noticed in Vancouver for sure. Nevermind legacy software or IT infrastructure – the whole market seems to be trapped in one legacy system or another, making piecemeal investments to upgrade. And even where there is an infrastructure improvement, the skill set is not there to support it. And even when the skill set is there, there isn’t a vision from the top.

Fundementally, there is a legacy mindset in Canada that is conservative and tinged with arrogance that may be a fatal flaw as the world quickly evolves to a place where consumers demand better experiences and industry disruption becomes more common. No wonder shoppers flock to the US, or that Blackberry didn’t see the iPhone coming.

But our markets remain relatively sheltered from competition. There is no sense of urgency, just a slow bleed at the lower end of the income scale. But this is slowly creeping up through the workforce. Canada’s global competitiveness is not keeping pace with change. We still have oil, and lumber, and minerals, and natural gas. And that goes a long way. But it isn’t something we’re creating. It doesn’t require a smarter economy. We can only lower the environmental standards for so long. Eventually the oil well will dry up.

Though there’s always water export, eh?


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