Entrepreneurship in Alberta – GEM Alberta 2016 Report

GEM Alberta 2016 Report

Entrepreneurship in Alberta- The latest GEM Report

 

Speaker: Cooper Langford, University of Calgary

The Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM) is the largest study of entrepreneurship in the world. This presentation describes the latest GEM Alberta report and compares entrepreneurship in Alberta with other Canadian provinces and 60 other countries.  The report takes a comprehensive look at the aspirations, attitudes and activities of entrepreneurs in Alberta and how Alberta compares with other jurisdictions. The study also identifies some of the strengths and weaknesses of the Alberta innovation system. This is the fourth GEM Report on entrepreneurship in Alberta

Time & Location
Time:  9:00-10:00 am
Date: Thursday October 12th 2017.
Place:  Innovate Calgary,  3553 31 Street NW,  Calgary, Boardroom 2/3

Cost
Ticket: Free

Registration
By Phone: 403-968-3722 or 1-877-877-1055 [toll free anywhere in Alberta]
By Email: Martha@thecis.ca

 


THECIS Cumulative Projects

Project List as of January 2017

 

Global Entrepreneurship Monitor [GEM] project. 2013-2015

THECIS took the lead to create a cross Canada team and secure funding for GEM studies in Canada as well as in BC, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec and Newfoundland. This project will produce 20 GEM reports when completed:

  • Canada – three reports
  • Alberta – three reports
  • Ontario – three reports
  • Quebec – three reports
  • British Columbia – one report
  • Saskatchewan – one report
  • Manitoba – one report
  • Newfoundland – one report
  • Nova Scotia – one report
  • Atlantic Canada (four provinces) – one report
  • Women’s entrepreneurship – one report
  • Entrepreneurship at the university of Calgary – one report

 

Nanotechnology Road Map implementation project, starting summer 2012

A best practice for developing road maps is to spend the time necessary once the road map is completed taking it to all the main stakeholders and interest groups to secure their understanding and buy in for the Road Map.

 

Nanotechnology Roadmapping project, 2011-2012

Following on from the previous project, nanoAlberta has asked us to develop road maps for the most promising applications for nanotechnology in Alberta. This involves a collaborative effort among all the stakeholders, in industry, government, university and NGOs.

 

Impact of nanotechnology in Alberta, 2010/2011

NanoAlberta asked us to identify the major applications for nanotechnology likely to have commercial impact by 2020 and to develop a road map and action plan for realizing the benefits to Alberta.

 

InnoWest 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009 and 2010

InnoWest is the western Canadian Innovation Conference. THECIS has organised this event since 2004, and it has become an annual event, with steadily increasing attendance from across western Canada and beyond.

 

Science to Society Workshop 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010

This event is organised to provide business information to 50- 70 graduate students in science, engineering ICT, health and agriculture. It takes place at a weekend on October in Banff.  Support has come from iCORE, Alberta Ingenuity, AHFMR, the Alberta Agricultural Research Institute, NSERC Prairies and the governments of Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba.

Ingenuity 601 [Graduate Innovation Course], 2007, 2008, 2009 and 2010

This project, carried out for Alberta Ingenuity, is to develop and deliver a learning experience to graduate students in Alberta to acquaint them with the basics of business concepts and give them experience working on  a business related project in a multidisciplinary environment.  The delivery of the Course in the Fall of 2007 is supported by the CRTCAC  [Calgary Regional Technology Commercialization Advisory Committee] and in 2010 by Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures.

 

Health Research Translation Project, 2009

This course is modelled on Ingenuity 601 but targeted at graduate students in medical, health and biosciences and related fields such as medicine, nursing, rehabilitation, life sciences and biomedical engineering. The course is supported by CRTCAC  [Calgary Regional Technology Commercialization Advisory Committee and AHFMR

 

Second Banff Innovation Summit, 2008

The theme of the second Banff Innovation Summit was “The resource industries as engines of economic diversification”. The Summit took place in September, with about 30 senior individuals from industry, government and university from the four western provinces. The Summit was supported by Western Economic Diversification, the Alberta government, iCORE and NSERC Prairies.

 

Pathways Project, 2008

Industry Canada asked us to review the various pathways that knowledge travels from university to business in Canada, and provide examples of each type of pathway identified.

 

International Comparison Review, 2008

This project developed an analysis of the policies being pursued in different countries to encourage industry-university collaboration; assessed the various strengths and weaknesses of various national approached; provided a critical assessment of the organizational structures of universities that underpin university-industry collaboration; and identified best practices and principles. This was for Industry Canada.

 

ICT Sector Performance in Alberta, 2007/2008

This project, supported by Alberta Advanced Education and Technology, is a follow on from the Alberta Innovation Scorecard project. It aims to answer two questions: How is the ICT sector performing in Alberta?  How is the government doing supporting the sector?

 

Foresight Scoping Workshop, 2007

This was a foresight exercise to identify applications that may emerge from the convergence of nano-technology, biotechnology and ICT. It is initiated by the Office of the National Science Advisor and supported by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, the Canadian Biotechnology Secretariat and CMC Microsystems.

University Business Collaboration, 2007

This project is a critical review of the literature on how university researchers collaborate with industrial firms, and how those relationships can result in commercial products. Supported by Industry Canada.

 

Interprovincial Trade in the Oil and Gas Industry, 2007

The Standards Council of Canada asked us to carry out a project to determine if there were any barriers to interprovincial trade in the oil and gs industry that were caused by standardisation factors.

 

What can we learn from clusters? 2007

This project, for the Alberta ICT Council, aims to identify learnings from the ISRN [Innovation Systems Research Network] research on ICT clusters across Canada which are relevant to the Alberta ICT sector.

 

Saskatchewan Innovation Scorecard 2006

The Saskatchewan Innovation Scorecard project was funded by the Saskatchewan government, Western Economic Diversification and NRC-IRAP. It aims to portray the state of innovation in Saskatchewan and compare it with benchmark jurisdictions.

 

First Banff Innovation Summit  2006

The goal of turning Western Canada into a dynamic, diversified and internationally competitive knowledge-based economy must be supported with policies and strategies that take account of both leading-edge ideas and local knowledge about how to assess and improve innovation performance.

The Banff Innovation Summit brought together 30-40 carefully selected industry, policy and academic stakeholders in economic diversification and innovation will interact with an elite international group of experts who are producing leading-edge ideas and knowledge concerning innovation policy and strategy. A speaker from the OECD in Paris provides the keynote address. The Summit was funded by a number of organisations, including the Governments of Canada, Saskatchewan, Alberta, and BC, and the University of Calgary.

 

Feasibility Study for a Seraphim Fund and Virtual Angel Support System  for Western Canada  2006

One of the problems holding back innovation in western Canada is the shortage of early stage funding. This project addressed that problem by carrying out a feasibility study for a new form of virtual angel network. The project was funded by NRC-IRAP.

 

Alberta Technology Report 2006

THECIS partnered with Ernst and Young and Ipsos Reid to prepare the 2006 edition of the Alberta Technology Report. The project was funded by Alberta Innovation and Science, Western Economic Diversification xxx. It involved a survey of CEOs of high tech firms to identify the state of the sector.

 

University Research Park Vision and Conceptual Masterplan, 2005

THECIS worked with a consortium of firms of architects to develop a Vision and Conceptual master plan for the rejuvenation of the University Research Park. This was done for Calgary Technologies, the University of Calgary and Alberta Infrastructure.

 

Alberta Innovation Scorecard 2005

The Alberta Innovation Scorecard was a direct follow up to the earlier project on developing new economic measures for Alberta. The Alberta Innovation Scorecard was developed using a consultation process with a team from the project sponsors [Western Economic Diversification, Alberta Innovation and Science, and NRC-IRAP]. The Scorecard was released publicly and is available on the THECIS web site.

 

Health Innovation 2005/2007

This project was funded by a private Calgary based Foundation. It was a year long study of the health industry in Alberta, to identify the main characteristics of the industry and celebrate its successes. The results of this work were disseminated across Alberta by a series of workshops in major centres organised by THECIS.

 

Innovation System data Initiative 2005/2006

Policy makers often need better and more timely information than is currently available from Statistics Canada. This project – supported by Alberta Innovation and Science, Western Economic Diversification and NRC-IRAP – addressed this need by sending a graduate student to Ottawa and supervising him to obtain information of value to the project sponsors.

 

Calgary Innovation Clinic 2004

Industry Canada and Western Economic Diversification asked THECIS to organise an Innovation Clinic in Calgary. This involved having two high tech CEOs being interviewed before a live audience to describe the factors leading to their success. The interviews were recorded and have been made available across Canada in DVD format by Industry Canada.

 

Return to Community – the Impact of the University of Calgary on its Community. 2004

The University of Calgary asked THECIS to prepare a report showing the impact the University has on the community. This report was subsequently used in discussions at the university Senate and by other bodies.

 

Feasibility Study for a wet lab facility at the Edmonton Research Park

THECIS was asked to join a consortium of architect firms to prepare a feasibility study for this facility. The main THECIS role related to developing the business case for the facility. Subsequently the facility was approved and is under construction.

 

Annotated Bibliography: Innovation in the Prairie Provinces 2003

Industry Canada in Saskatoon asked THECIS to prepare an annotated bibliography of papers written about innovation in the prairie provinces.

 

External Technology Audit of AACI Program, 2003

The Alberta Energy Research Institute asked THECIS to carry out an external audit of one of their major technology programs to determine how effective they were.

 

New Economic Measures for Alberta 2003

This major project for Alberta Economic Development was to develop a set of metrics to measure the effectiveness of the Provinces new economic development plan. It involved participation of members from several different Alberta ministries.

 

Briefing Paper for a conference on Receptor Capacity 2003

Calgary Technologies asked THECIS to prepare a briefing paper relating to a  Canadian conference on receptor capacity held in Toronto.

 

Paper on Industrial Research, 2002

This project, for Alberta Innovation and Science, was to prepare a paper for discussion at the Ministers of Science and Technology from across Canada.


THECIS Funding

THECIS is funded on a project basis by a variety of organizations.  Since 2001 the following have provided financial support through contracts or grants:

 

Federal Government Departments and Agencies

  • Western Economic Diversification Canada;
  • ACOA  (Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency);
  • Industry Canada – Ottawa;
  • Industry Canada – Saskatoon office;
  • Office of the National Science Advisor [ONSA];
  • ISED (Innovation Science and Economic Development Canada;
  • Canadian Biotechnology Secretariat;
  • Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada;
  • Standards Council of Canada;
  • National Institute of Nanotechnology [NINT];
  • National Research Council –Industrial Research Assistance Program [NRC-IRAP];
  • Federal Partners in Technology Transfer [FPTT];
  • Business Development Bank of Canada; National Science and Engineering Research Council – Prairies Region;
  • International Development Research Centre [IDRC]

 

Provincial Government Departments and Agencies

  • Alberta Economic Development;
  • Alberta Innovates – Technology Futures;
  • Alberta Finance and Enterprise;
  • nanoAlberta;
  • Alberta Innovation and Science;
  • Advanced Education and Technology;
  • Alberta Sustainable Resource Development;
  • Informatics Circle of Research Excellence [iCORE];
  • Alberta Agricultural Research Institute; Alberta Innovates – Health Solutions;
  • Alberta Energy Research Institute;
  • Alberta Research Council;
  • Alberta Ministry of Agriculture Food and Rural Development [AAFRD];
  • British Columbia Ministry of Advanced Education;
  • Saskatchewan Industry and Resources;
  • Enterprise Saskatchewan;
  • Manitoba Science, Technology, Energy and Mines;
  • Government of Newfoundland and Labrador;
  • Government of Ontario;
  • Innovation Saskatchewan

 

Foundations

  • International Health Business Opportunities Conference Foundation
  • Alberta Ingenuity Fund;
  • Alberta Heritage Foundation for Medical Research [AHFMR]
  • Canadian Youth Business Foundation [CYBF];
  • Futurpreneur Canada

 

Other Funders

  • Calgary Technologies Inc.;
  • University of Calgary;
  • Ryerson University
  • TEC Edmonton;
  • The Evidence Network;
  • University of Alberta, Faculty of Extension
  • AVAC Ltd.   Alberta Chamber of Resources;
  • Genome Prairie; Genome Alberta;
  • CMC Microsystems;
  • Pfizer Inc., Nexen Inc.;
  • Merck Frosst Canada Ltd.;
  • Ernst and Young LLP;
  • Alberta Treasury Branches;
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta
  • Certified Management Accountants of Alberta;
  • Calgary Regional Technology Commercialization Advisory Committee [CRTCAC]
  • APEGGA Association of Professional Engineers, Geologists and Geophysicists of Alberta;
  • Institute of Chartered Accountants of Alberta
  • University of Manitoba, Stu Clark Centre for Entrepreneurship

 


“My Wish for Canada 150 – One Canada Again!”

31, August, 2017 – BLOG #10

CANADA 150 EDITORIAL  – By Guest Les Bowd

”  MY WISH FOR CANADA 150 – ONE CANADA AGAIN !!”

In 1967, 20 million Canadians embraced and participated in their 100th Anniversary enthusiastically. The stirring strains of Bobby Gimby’s “C-A-N-A-D-A” or Woody Guthrie’s rendition of the Canadian version of “This Land is your Land”, euphoria generated by the new Canadian flag, and the global reception of Expo ’67 in Montreal, all contributed to the pride felt for our country and its place in the world.

Much has changed in 50 years. Now a nation of almost 35 million, multi national and cultural people. with a Constitution repatriated in 1982. Global trade supports a relatively vibrant economy. Financial discipline saved us from the worst impact of the market melt-down. Canadians are seen as “nice people” with a high quality of life.

However, there is much that we could do to make this country a great one globally. In our efforts to advance across many fronts we seem to have inadvertently slipped backwards. If we are to become “One Canada Again “we need to ensure our path towards Canada 200 is positive. We must pay immediate attention to key areas that affect our ability to go forward together.

Trade, Education, Health, the Economy, Canadian Citizenship and Identity, a Renewed Constitution, and a Return to Political Civility all need to be addressed.

Our nation is a world leader in establishing global trade arrangements. Yet we cannot trade / sell a bottle of beer across many provincial boundaries. Every Canadian should be able to sell or buy goods and services anywhere in Canada.

Canadian students should be free to attend college or university across the country. Admission should be based on ability not geography. A national effort t is required to equalize tuition and residence fees across the country.

We take pride in our “universal health care system”. But, increasing inter-provincial restrictions make it difficult for Canadians to obtain health services wherever they are in the country. Further, different funding mechanisms in provinces, place many Canadians at a fiscal disadvantage. Establishing one “Canada Heath Card” entitling all to free access to medical services across the country is urgently required.

Inter-provincial economic competition is extremely dangerous. Initiatives taken to attract businesses, through tax breaks and other incentives, are undertaken haphazardly across the country by municipal, provincial and Federal national governments. The time has come to collaborate on the development and execution of a comprehensive, consensual national economic strategy.

We should relish the diversity of national origins, cultures and religions. Honouring the traditions and cultures of our First Nations should also be front of mind. The language and cultural of our two founding nations should be enshrined in any renewed Constitution However, to build a “One Canada “philosophy, we need to assert we are all “Canadians First” This will allow us to develop an integrated national perspective to the benefit of all Canadians.

Some may suggest this is a too idealistic vision of what Canada can be. To achieve this we must consider seriously the development of a totally different National Constitution. What was appropriate in 1867, does not fit the 21st century Canada. Although the 1982 Constitution repatriation did modernize Federal and Provincial responsibilities, it also reinforced the provincial powers that have contributed to disparity. We must be prepared to question whether the current structure of Canadian federalism fits our future. needs.

To achieve this ambitious goal, one additional major change must occur. Political actors must commit to return political civility to our democratic institutions. Having almost destroyed any concepts of integrity, truth, shared consultation and mutual respect in the political processes across the country, and fostered deep public cynicism towards politicians and the institutions in which they work, they must work vigorously to reverse this situation. Politicians used to cooperate to resolve issues affecting Canadians. Now such help is usually associated with political contributions and influence.

Moving into the future our political leaders must be able to set mew direction and have Canadians follow with confidence. A good start would be to enact legislation banning any form of negative advertising in elections at all levels across the country.

Many countries around the world are struggling to redefine their national and global purpose. However, Canada is poised to provide a glowing example of how we should move forward into the middle of the 21st Century and travel the road to Canada 200. But, we must do it together as “One Canada – Again!”

 

Les Bowd

THECIS Board and Fellow

THECIS logo Integrity, Indepencence, Quality

THECIS Governance Structure

Incorporated: June 15th 2001 under section 9 of the Alberta Companies Act [Not for profit section] as a company limited by guarantee.

Members

The Members play a role analogous to shareholders in a for profit company. They represent the broadest constituency for THECIS activities.  The Articles of Association limit the number of members to 50. An Annual general meeting must be held at least every 16 months; a quorum is 50% of the members.  Members are appointed by a simple majority vote of the members.  The major responsibility of the members is: to elect Directors; to appoint auditors; to fix remuneration of auditors.

 

Board of Directors

The Directors provide governance to the organization, represent THECIS to the community and accept the ultimate legal authority and fiduciary responsibility for THEICS. Directors serve a one year term that may be renewed.  The Articles state there should be 3 – 20 Directors.  The composition of the Board is determined by the Articles of Association so as to ensure participation from business, government and university.  The Chair must be from industry.

 

Executive Director

the position has primary leadership responsibility for establishing THECIS  as a significant player in Alberta and western Canada as it evolves from a volunteer to a professional organization.

THECIS Associates

THECIS Associates carry out the work of THECIS.  They include: THECIS Fellows; Executive Secretary, comptroller; Conference Planner; Accountant, Newsletter/Blog Editor; etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


THECIS logo Integrity, Indepencence, Quality

Backgrounder on THECIS

THECIS (The Centre for Innovation Studies) is a province-wide not for profit organization devoted to study and promotion of innovation.  Based in Calgary, Alberta, and Incorporated in 2001, its primary geographic scope is western Canada.
THECIS has three core functions – research, networking and education.
  • Research. Creating new knowledge and building insights into how the innovation systems functions and policies that can improve it.
  • Networking.  Providing opportunities for exchange of ideas through breakfast meetings, workshops and conferences.
  • Education.  Dissemination of information through Blogs/Newsletters, events and other informal education activities, particularly for graduate students.

Funding.  THECIS is funded on a project basis by a variety of organizations.  since 2001, nearly 50 organizations have provided financial support to THECIS.

THECIS is governed by a Board of Directors from across Alberta, with extensive experience and knowledge relating to innovation.

Executive leadership is provided by an Executive Director, and projects are carried out for clients by a network of experienced individuals called THECIS Fellows.  The THECIS Fellows represent a major asset and a major source of competitive advantage for THECIS.

The Core Values of THECIS are integrity, independence and quality.

 


Report cover for GEM Canada 2016

GEM Canada 2016 report summary

25, June, 2017 – BLOG #9

GEM Canada Report 2016

GEM (Global Entrepreneurship Monitor) is the largest study of entrepreneurship in the world.  THECIS manages the GEM project in Canada.  The latest GEM report for Canada has just been issued.  It is available at http://thecis.ca/index.php/gem-2016/       It shows that there is a very strong entrepreneurship culture in Canada, and the rate of early stage entrepreneurship (TEA -Total Early stage Activity) is the highest in the developed world.  GEM data is widely used as evidence for evidence based policy by such groups as the UN, OECD, World Bank and World Economic Forum.

Some of the highlights from the report are:

  • Almost 60% of the adult population see good opportunities to start a business in the next six months;
  • Over 50% also have confidence in their skills and knowledge to start a business;
  • No more than 44% are inhibited by fear of failure.
  • 7% of the adult population is involved in early stage entrepreneurship, the highest rate in the developed world, ahead of Australia and the US.
  • 8% of the adult population in Canada is involved in an established business (one more than 42 months old), a lower rate than in Australia or the US.
  • In terms of intrapreneurship (entrepreneurship in large organizations) Canada’s rate is 6.5%, that ranks us 12th among developed countries.
  • A significant number of startups have major growth plans. Twenty percent expect to create 20 or more jobs within five years.
  • In common with most other developed countries, the largest sector for entrepreneurship (48%) is consumer services, closely followed by business services.
  • A significant minority of startups export. 20% of them project from 25% to 75% of revenue from export, and 13% anticipate more than 75% of revenue from export.
  • A significant minority of startups offer innovative products or services (9%-14% depending upon the questions asked.
  • 17% of startups use technology available only in the least year, an indicator of innovativeness.
  • The age group with the highest TEA was the 25 – 34 age group, at 22.3%.
  • The rates decline sequentially for the 35 – 44 group, the 45 – 54 group, and the 55 – 64 age group. The TEA rates decline reaches 10.7% among the 55 – 64 cohort.
  • Approximately 50% of total startup activity is in the 18-40 age group.
  • The rate of women’s entrepreneurship is about two-thirds the male rate, which is comparable to other comparison countries.
  • The rate of entrepreneurship increase steadily with education, being highest among those with some post graduate experience.
  • The rate of entrepreneurship increases across Canada from east to central Canada, and is similar across the west.
  • The strongest aspect of the Canadian ecosystem is physical infrastructure, commercial infrastructure, and the relevant social and cultural norms.
  • The weakest aspects are the lack of education for entrepreneurship at primary and secondary levels, and availability of finance.

The report made the following recommendations:

  1. Provide more targeted assistance to young and growing firms.
  2. Provide more education and mentoring to potential women entrepreneurs.
  3. Expand entrepreneurship training in entrepreneurship in post-secondary institutions.
  4. Provide targeted resources for senior entrepreneurs.
  5. Support entrepreneurs who want to export.
  6. Encourage firms to develop strategy utilizing more intrapreneurship.

Peter Josty

p.josty@thecis.ca
403-249-0191
www.thecis.ca

 

 


Losing jobs to machines: is it different this time?

29 May 2017 – Blog #7

Losing jobs to machines: is it different this time?

A number of recent studies have described the jobs that will be lost to automation in the next few years.  The World Economic Forum estimated that 5 million jobs will be lost to robots in the next five years, globally.  The Brookfield Institute for Innovation and Entrepreneurship at Ryerson University issued a report that found that nearly 42 percent of the Canadian labour force is at a high risk of being affected by automation in the next decade or two.  They found that the top five jobs at risk of automation were: retail salesperson, administrative assistant, food counter attendant, cashiers and transport truck drivers.

This report is consistent with other long-term trends in the economy.  For example, a report in the Economist looked at employment growth in routine vs. non-routine jobs, and found that non-routine tasks grew much faster in the last 30 years.

Blog 7 -think

The impact of automation and artificial intelligence seem so far-reaching that some people suggest it will permanently reduce the number of jobs needed in the economy.  A recent study by the National Bureau of Economic Research in the US found that each new robot added to the workforce meant the loss of between 3 and 5.6 jobs in the local commuting area.

Meanwhile, for each new robot added per 1,000 workers, wages in the surrounding area would fall between 0.25 and 0.5 percent.

Fear of changing technology is noting new.  A hundred years ago the Luddites destroyed weaving machinery they believed was threatening their jobs.

However, there are strong views saying that we shouldn’t worry about automation. In  a poll of Canadians Abacus Research found that 89% of Canadians agreed that technological change has been good for the world. And 76% felt it had been good for their own economic well being. They may be on to something. According to the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor study of  entrepreneurship, Canada is the most entrepreneurial country among the advanced countries.  Entrepreneurship is basically creating new jobs by following opportunities, whatever the rest of the economy is doing.

There is heavy weight evidence to back up this view.  Joel Mokyr, an economic historian, points out : “We can’t predict what jobs will be created in the future, but it’s always been like that.  Imagine trying to tell someone a century ago that her great-grandchildren would be video-game designers or cybersecurity specialists.  These are jobs that nobody in the past would have predicted.”

Carolyn Wilkins from the Bank of Canada points out that technological change has been part of the Canadian economy since Canada was founded 150 years ago.  100 years ago one third of jobs were in agriculture, today fewer than 2% are.

So there are optimists and pessimists. Who is right? And is it different this time?

While history supports the view that new jobs will be created to replace the jobs lost, we can’t be sure of that. So what should we do, given that uncertainty? It seems to me that we need to consider three actions:

  • Expand adult re-training. It is pretty clear that many people are going to loose their jobs, and will need to find new ones.
  • Update the education system to increase the focus on preparing people for the non-routine jobs that seem likely to dominate the economy in the next 50 years.
  • Experiment with novel social programs that may be needed if the pessimists are right. A good example of this is the basic income experiments being carried out in many places round the world, including California, Finland,Italy, the Netherlands and in Ontario.

Peter Josty

p.josty@thecis.ca
403-249-0191
www.thecis.ca


Do we have too much or too little innovation?

4 May 2017 – Blog #6

Do we have too much or too little innovation?

We are surrounded by talk about innovation, in the media and in government pronouncements.  But do we really have too much, or too little of it?  Before we can answer this question, we need to establish a framework:

  1. What is our definition of innovation? There are hundreds if not thousands of definitions to choose from.  One widely used is from the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development), which see four different types of innovation: product innovation (e.g. a new iPhone), process innovation (e.g. lean manufacturing), marketing innovation (e.g. Amazon) and organizational innovation (e.g. outsourcing).  This definition is helpful for commercial innovations but does not capture broader aspects of innovation such as social innovation and public sector innovation including regulatory innovation.
  2. What role does innovation play in the economy? The economist William J. Baumol sees innovation as the principal weapon of competition in the free market economy, and entrepreneurship as the vehicle for bring innovations into existence. So innovation is the lifeblood of our economy.  He sees three main roles for entrepreneurship: productive entrepreneurship (a useful new product or service); non-productive entrepreneurship (for example, exploiting a monopoly or a tariff wall) and destructive entrepreneurship (criminal behaviour).
  3. Risk and uncertainty. One aspect of innovation that is not apparent from the definitions above is the inherent risk of an innovation. The whole nature of innovation is to “suck it and see”.  When a new product or process is launched, it faces a whole range of risks some of which can be predicted in advance, but many of which cannot.  So trying new things is inherently risky and uncertain.
  4. Life cycle. Another aspect not apparent from the definitions above is that innovations have a life cycle.  New things get commercialized and are welcomed as innovations;  more and more of them get sold and new competitors entre the market and eventually the “new “ thing becomes communized and is replaced in turn by something else.

 

Having set up a framework, we can see that innovations are just solutions to problems.  Quite often, the problems have not been recognized before the innovation comes along.  Henry Ford is reputed to have said that if he had asked his customers what they wanted they would have said “faster horses”.

 

So we can re-frame the question to ask what are the big problems needing solutions today?  The answer is straightforward, and jumps out from the headlines of the newspapers and TV news:

  • Inequality
  • Global warming
  • Trade protectionism
  • Oil sands emissions and costs
  • Terrorism
  • The impact of automation on jobs

This list can obviously be extended.  However, it does give a clue to where we do not yet have enough innovation.

Where do we have plenty of innovation?  Again, we can look to the headlines:

  • Self driving cars
  • Artificial intelligence
  • Drones
  • Robotics
  • Blockchain
  • Quantum computing

This list can also be extended.  So there are clearly areas where innovation is alive and very well.  This list also include some public sector innovations.  For example, the experiment in Ontario with a Basic Income, to provide a level of income for selected households for a three-year period and evaluate the impact.  This experimental approach to government policy making is a new development that is staring to emerge around the world.

To return to our initial question: do we have too much or too little innovation?  It depends where you look.  We are woefully short of innovations is some areas, while other areas are doing just fine.

Peter Josty

p.josty@thecis.ca
403-249-0191
www.thecis.ca

#innovation  #entrepreneurship  #THECIS


Entrepreneurship at the University of Calgary

24 April 2017 – Blog #5

Entrepreneurship at the University of Calgary

C_Langford;C._Saunders

C. Langford                        C. Saunders

The Centre for Innovation Studies (THECIS) has just completed a report on entrepreneurship at the University of Calgary using the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor methodology. This is the first time the GEM methodology has been used at a university. The report shows very high levels of entrepreneurship and also shows that the startups have significant competitive advantages as measured by their use of up to date technology and the number of competitors they have. The full report is available here.

Peter Josty

www.thecis.ca

403-249-0191
p.josty@thecis.ca