Is the era of innovation over? Or is the war for innovation just beginning?
I came across an article in one of Canada’s main newspapers — The Globe and Mail — by Barrie McKenna titled ominously, ‘Has Innovation Hit a Brick Wall?’
The article speaks to how the Canadian government sinks billions of dollars into research and development every year, yet the country remains an innovation laggard compared with most of its trading partners. The author refers to this as Canada’s “innovation deficit.” The article then goes on to examine some research from University of British Columbia economics professor James Brander that examines whether Canada’s problem is part of a much broader global phenomenon.
The conclusions that Dr. Brander comes to are less than comforting (if you agree with his view of innovation); his research found the pace of innovation to be slowing dramatically in four key areas: agriculture, energy, transportation, and health care.
As someone who works with companies to help foster innovation and whom frequently writes and speaks on the topic, I have a problem with Dr. Brander’s conclusions about Canada and the world in the same way that I have issues with the way that the U.S. Congress and President Obama approach innovation in the United States. In fact the American government’s approach to innovation prompted me to write the controversial ‘An Open Letter on Innovation to President Obama.’