Canadian business setting self-defeating goals?

First published 20 April 2006.

David Crane’s stock just rose a few bucks in my estimation.  The perenially gloomy Toronto Star business columnist kicked out a rare piece with shockingly good advice.  Faced with rapidly modernising economies in developing powerhouses like India and China, Canada’s workforce will find it challenging to maintain a high quality of life and comfortable standards of living.  And what is Crane’s recommendation?  Not, as one might think, the standard prescription of Star columnists — government throwing money and legislation at research and development initiatives and incentives.  No, this one involves creating a culture of innovation.

    Innovation is about much more than investing in science and technology, important though this is, [former CEO of Gennum Corp. Doug] Barber said. Ultimately, he argued, innovation is about turning people into learners and innovators, and our education system doesn’t do this very well. So we have many people with degrees in business administration or doctorates in science or engineering who are good at number-crunching but “pre-kindergarten” in the human dimensions of innovation…

    Culture is also critical. For example, Barber discovered in interviewing many founders of early-stage companies that far too few of them were committed to building ongoing businesses. Instead, their focus was on taking a business to the point where it could be sold.

    Companies such as Gennum or Research In Motion Ltd. were not created to be sold but to become successful businesses founded on a strong commitment to ongoing innovation and growth.

    However, there appears to be a Canadian conviction that foreign takeovers represent the normal course of events…

    …this defeatist culture, with its self-imposed limits to Canadian competence, also has to be overcome if Canada is to succeed as an innovative nation.

David Crane, “Innovators should focus on our future
Toronto Star, 14 April 2006. 
[emphasis mine]

I have long been convinced that Canada needlessly sells itself short; we tend not to celebrate success very loudly or readily up here.  Our celebrities are considered to have “made it” when they’ve achieved success in L.A. or New York.  Our executives are considered successful when they move on to helm large American or international firms.  Our entrepreneurs are considered successful when their companies get bought up by a wealthier competitor.  If we want to stay ahead in a global game, those attitudes have to change.

Read the whole thing.

Category: Amor Patriae, Industria
You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

Comments are closed.