13 November 2008

When in doubt, innovate

With recent news that the global economic meltdown proceeds apace, and the Conference Board reporting that Canada yet again scores a "D" on innovation, this is a good time to reinforce the idea that innovation should be a priority, particularly during trying economic times. As one writer put it in reference to the auto industry seeking a billion dollar bailout, now is the time to enable these industries to find their way toward a more sustainable future. In a word: innovate.

Where Canada lacks in innovation, we have a significant opportunity to reinvigorate our industries through the "creative economies," in Richard Florida's terms. This point was reinforced by the recent Conference Board of Canada sponsored International Forum on the Creative Economy: "Arts and culture industries play a vital role in attracting people, business, and investment, and in distinguishing Canada as a dynamic and exciting place to live and work."

While not a panacea, creative thinking may help us to find ways to lift us out of our innovation doldrums while increasing social and economic productivity.

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