Mobilizing Science and Technology to make Canada the most innovative country in the world
In the current highly competitive and globalized world, science-technology and innovation-based competitive strategy is the most vital factor for Canada to not only fortify its global competitiveness but also attain long-term sustainable growth. The main aim of aim of this research is to explore the innovation problem in Canada and how science-technology and innovation-based global competitiveness strategy and can bring about sustainable growth in Canada and render it the most innovative nation in the world with the help of policies that espouse innovation. This study found that science-technology and innovation-based competitive policies will make Canada have long-term growth and sustainable competitiveness. In this regard, Canada should continue formulating and implementing science-technology and innovation-based economic and competitive policies and strategies so as to attain the status of the most innovative nation in the world.
Keywords: Canada, science, technology, innovation, policies, strategies.
Introduction-mobilizing Science and Technology to make Canada the most innovative country in the world
Canada is a country of innovators. It has built lives and a society on the foundation of knowledge and discovery. Moreover, the nation has utilized innovation as a springboard to formulate visionary enterprises, breakthrough technologies and a prosperous Canada. Nonetheless, it is vital to recognize that the global competitive environment is changing in that:
- Markets have become more global and niches more accessible with the growth of the middle-class.
- Advanced 3D printing, robotics, as well as, other discoveries are changing the manufacturing landscape.
- The workforce in Canada is aging.
- Novel technologies are emerging swiftly from new discoveries.
- Global supply chains are changing as a result of varying global cost structures, newly emerging markets and lower barriers to entry.
- Resources prices have become more volatile.
Despite being a country of innovators, Canada is widely contemplated to be an innovation under-achiever as Sulzenko (2016) reports. Based on this criticism, this research explores the range of policy tools that Canada have at their disposal to enhance innovation through science and technology. This study also undertakes a holistic approach to making Canada the most innovative country in the world in that it not only outlines policy areas that are primarily formulated to foster innovation but also have a critical effect on it.
Innovation policy will not succeed when it comes to global competitiveness if it does not incorporate measures affecting the five important ingredients of entrepreneurship, innovation, talent and knowledge, business growth and research and development. As such, the purpose of this research is to identify policy approaches, areas and specific tools that the government of Canada can implement to foster science-technology and innovation. Policies that influence the availability and utilization of knowledge are necessary, but not adequate elements of strong innovation performance. In this regard, this research explores the framework of scientific and technological policy approach, as well as, social and economic policies that take into consideration the behavior of innovators, the spread of innovation and how Canada can become the most innovative nation in the world. As will be seen in this research, it is through the eradication of the pitfalls that hinder prospective benefits of policy support and direct intervention of the government in support of innovation in the science and technology sector that Canada can improve its innovation to the world leading status.
Overview of Global Science-Technology, Innovation and Competitiveness-mobilizing Science and Technology to make Canada the most innovative country in the world
According to Sener and Saridogan (2011), innovation can be referred to as the implementation of a significantly improved or new product or process, a new organizational method or a new marketing method in workplace organization and function, business practices or external relations. The report by OECD (2005) indicates that innovation is categorized into four areas, that is, process innovation, organizational innovation, product innovation and process innovation. It is imperative to note that innovation has very prominent impacts on the competitiveness and sustainable growth of a nation in both the micro and macro economy levels. This is because innovation driven by science and technology contributes to competitiveness by increasing productivity, decreasing costs and fostering product diversity in the global market conditions. Innovations that are focused on increasing productivity are the main sources of the competitiveness of nations together with government intervention through endowments, incentives and policies, which ultimately result in national prosperity.
Global structures of science performance, research and development, inventions and innovation are categorized into the multidimensional process (Sener and Saridogan, 2011). Albeit the economies of OECD nations and the economies of other countries continue to be characterized by incessant diversity, global patterns of research, technology and innovation are being reshaped by strong global trends. Among the main factors underpinning developments have been the increasingly knowledge and science-driven nature of innovation. This can be explained by the increased collaboration and sharing of scientific knowledge, the swiftly changing organization of research due to informatics, development of standards and platform technologies and the rapidly improving connectivity as globalization accelerates and changes occur in the competitive environment and technology (Sener and Saridogan, 2011).
Sener and Saridogan (2011) are of the opinion that in recent years, the macroeconomic context for science and technology, research and development and innovation activities has been favorable for most nations. For instance, in the OECD nations, there is evidence of considerable interest in a vast array of technologies that are essential to providing solutions to economic and social problems and growth opportunities. Examples of areas where science and technology-based innovation has the greatest impact include nanotechnology, biotechnology and general life science, as well as, environmental sciences and technologies. However, in as much as many nations notice the broad areas of priority, there is significant diversity in their expenditure, policies and outcomes (OECD, 2008).
One of the most vital indications of innovation in a nation is patents of which Korea and Japan have a considerable number. Another vital indication of increased innovation in countries is the annual growth rate of patents which are high in India, China and Turkey. The nature of competition in terms of innovation has continued to change and plant itself deep into globalization. In this regard, the principal competition in knowledge-based economies is defined by innovation first and not competition in terms of price falls as is illustrated through various economic theories. This can be attributed to the monopoly power that is bestowed through the sole ownership of an innovation which renders innovators incapable of being governed by perfect competition. Notwithstanding, Morck and Yeung (2001) report that unlike monopolies illustrated by standard economic theory, the monopolies emanating from innovation are provisional since they only dominate the global market until other innovations are developed that render them obsolete.Mobilizing Science and Technology to make Canada the most innovative country in the world
Innovation is determined by various factors that are not always constant. Thus, there is no specific determinant of innovation that a country can exploit to gain competitive advantage and sustain long-term growth. Crespi (2004) explored the most salient determinants of innovation and found that innovation is an intricate and diverse phenomenon which is affected by immense factors. This consensus is accentuated by the prominence attributed to government and public intervention in fostering science and technology change, as well as, innovation at a policy level. Nonetheless, increasing the expenditure on research and development is not sufficient to make a nation such as Canada the leading innovator in the world. Based on the research conducted by Sener and Saridogan (2011), sustainable innovation requires a set of policies aimed at creating a proper and conducive environment for innovative activities both at the local level and at the national level. In this regard, this research underlines the importance of implementation of policies that encompass market structure, demand, human capital, patents, research and development and science and technology in determining the pace of innovation in a country such as Canada.
There are immense factors that trigger science-technology and innovation in the global economy. This is because innovation influences economic growth, competitiveness and national welfare outcomes from people, firms, state-sponsored researches, universities and efforts of civil societies. As such, it is vital for a nation to formulate national innovation systems that provide an environment for economic and competitive agents to create and produce novel technologies and innovations. In order to improve innovation both in the micro and micro economy levels, economic policies must be implemented by the nation. Moreover, countries, for instance, Canada needs to build interaction mechanisms between science-technology innovation policies and economic policies for purposes of improving its welfare and global competitiveness. Based on this understanding, the movement from science-technology innovation policies to economic, development, growth, welfare and competitiveness in the global economy follows this order determined by Sener and Saridogan (2011):Mobilizing Science and Technology to make Canada the most innovative country in the world
- Science-technology innovation policies development
- Science-technology innovation infrastructure development
- Development in science
- Development in technology
- Development in innovation
- Development in costs, productivity and product diversity
- Development in global competitiveness
- Improving utility functions and factor incomes of economic agents
- Development in global competitiveness
- Improving utility functions and factor incomes of economic agents
- Economic development, growth and welfare improvement
The Role of Innovation in improving Canada’s competitiveness
The ultimate motivation for wanting to enhance Canada’s innovation performance is to improve the nation’s competitiveness in the global market. While there is no single accepted measure of innovation, there exists a positive link between the innovation activities of firms and their more efficient utilization of inputs with the aim of producing the desired outputs or in other words productivity as Mohnen and Hall (2013) report. This implies that successful innovation directly contributes to the increase in output and hence competitiveness beyond that which can be attributed to improvement in inputs, for instance, physical capital. However, certain innovations are typically produced from new capital investments. Thus, in practice, it is difficult to distinguish between the two measures of innovation.
According to Gordon (2016), the positive impact of innovation on competitiveness normally outweighs that which can be traditionally measured through growth in productivity. Since national accounting conventions are often utilized to track economic growth, productivity performance may not be in a position to grasp and convey the consumer surplus emanating from innovation (Feldstein, 2017). This is particularly true of innovations that are contemplated as radical or make up what is referred to as novel general purpose technologies. It is imperative to note that these difficulties experienced while measuring or assessing the exact effect of innovation on Canada’s competitiveness globally have not deterred the efforts to track the innovation performance of the country and compare it to other nations using a vast array of prospective proxies such as the OECD (Schwanen, 2017). These entail indicators of innovation such as expenditure and research and development, surveys from firms that have launched novel technologies or products, for instance, the percentage of new products in overall sales, inputs into the process of innovation such as the number of science and technology workers and identifiable outputs from the process of innovation, for example, scientific articles and patents. Based on these and other indicators, it is safe to assert that Canada has a critical innovation problem.
The Innovation Problem in Canada-mobilizing Science and Technology to make Canada the most innovative country in the world
There are various rankings published by discordant organizations that expound on the innovation performance of distinct economies using the indicators briefly discussed above, as well as, other indicators. It is critical to point out that none of these rankings rank Canada highly in terms of innovation performance in comparison with other nations (Schwanen, 2017). For instance, the table below evinces the innovation performance of Canada from different surveys.
|Compilation facilitated by||Rank 2017||Out of|
|World Economic Forum Competitiveness Index under the Innovation Pillar||24||138|
|Conference Board of Canada||13||16|
|Global Innovation Index under the Johnson, Cornell, World Intellectual Property Organization)||18||127|
|Bloomberg Innovation Index||20||78|
|Information Technology and Innovation Foundation under the Impact on Global Innovation||25||56|
These performance rankings elaborated in the study conducted by Schwanen (2017) suggest some clues that are crucial to explaining why there is an innovation problem in Canada. This information is vital in discerning how policy can address this problem, which is the focus of this research. However, this does not mean that these indicators are accepted in this study at face value, given the criticism against the accuracy of research and development as an innovation performance indicator as denoted by Plant et al. (2016). In recent years, there have also been criticisms against patenting activity in Canada as a measure of innovation performance. This is because in as much as patents can foster innovation, there is immense innovation that is not patent-based. Moreover, these patents also act as barriers to innovation in certain occasions. Thus, the link between patenting and increased innovation in Canada is not a strong one. In short, these indicators utilized to rank innovation performance are essential for comparison. However, there is no strong link between many of the indicators utilized in these rankings and the objective of fostering the competitiveness of Canada in the global economy.
The problem of innovation in Canada is important for various reasons. Nicholson (2016) asserts that Canadian businesses in aggregate appear to have rationally undertaken low innovation strategies. This means that they may not have required the same level of innovation they have now back then to succeed and maintain profitability. This complacent attitude can be attributed to the ease with which Canadian businesses can mimick and incorporate innovations developed elsewhere, especially in the United States and abundant endowment of natural resources. Nonetheless, these factors can be viewed as advantages to develop rather than factors that thwart innovation in Canada. It is true that the natural resource wealth of Canada contributes to maintain the nations’ current competitiveness in the global economy and enable Canadians have high living standards. This factor may also have acted as a hindrance to the ability of Canada to formulate attractive brands that might aid in selling the products abroad as reported by Mandel-Campbell (2007). This is because a critical portion of Canada’s income comes from the exploitation of commodities that are hard to distinguish from those produced by others. Notwithstanding, the abundance of resources cannot be considered as a sign of poor innovation performance as Wright and Czelusta (2004) report.Mobilizing Science and Technology to make Canada the most innovative country in the world
The ability of resources to hinder innovation performance is contingent on the institutions in a nation. For instance, when a nation has a comparative resource advantage, the amassing, extraction, harvesting, transportation, marketing, stewardship and consumption of these resources still provide immense opportunities for innovation as evinced in the case of Swedish and Finnish forest product industries posing significant competition to Canada (Yakabuski, 2007). In another example of resources facilitating innovation, the energy sector in Canada has numerous innovations under its belt. Thus, there exists no inherent contradiction between the innovative utilization of resources to maximize competitive advantage and the exploitation of this innovation or intelligence.
Another reason why Canada is contemplated as lagging in innovation is its reluctance to imitate the innovative processes occurring in other nations. If Canada were to make investments that replicate science and technology innovation proven elsewhere given that the nation already has skilled and knowledgeable individuals, as well as, an environment that is nudged by competition and is favorable to investments, it can benefit from innovation indirectly (Schwanen, 2017). Such imitative undertakings are part of the larger innovation process and by far the most innovation-related activities in the world since they retain a considerable portion of the economy close to the science and technology sectors and businesses. Therefore, the immense resource base of Canada, economic environment and appropriate tools, Canada can in fact enjoy healthy competitiveness without assuming the leading role in terms of innovation (Schwanen, 2017). Based on this understanding, a successful innovation policy in Canada would take into consideration the resource wealth of the nation, as well as, its ability to imitate other nations as prospective sources of growth in its competitiveness globally. This is because it would foster the resource advantage of Canada and its capacity to innovatively or intelligently imitate leading science and technology innovations by implementing the best practices in the nation’s own circumstances and institutions. Having determined that Canada not only has skilled and knowledgeable people but also possesses immense resources and an environment favorable to innovation what is missing in terms of innovation in the nation?Mobilizing Science and Technology to make Canada the most innovative country in the world
Based on the reports and studies conducted by advisory groups facilitated by the federal government such as the Independent Panel on Federal Support on Research and Development in 2011 and the Advisory Council on Economic Growth in 2017, innovators in Canada come up with numerous innovative and practical concepts, but also suffer from the opportunity cost of failing to exploit these concepts globally. As Plant (2017) reports, in as much as Canada is ranked eighth in the number of patent grants given by the United States by 2016, when evaluated in terms of the countries of residence of the inventors, fifty-eight percent of these patents were discovered to be owned by organizations outside Canada. Howitt (2013) reiterates that’s innovations related to machines, processes, consumer products, designs and creative activities and software will dominate valuable social and economic activities, jobs associated with them and global competition. Canadians have not been left out of this trend since they also perform research and development that generates knowledge and concepts in demand globally. Notwithstanding, Canada can accrue strong economic growth and higher competitive advantage globally if it were at the forefront of job creation and business growth based on knowledge from science and technology-related innovation. Another benefit that Canada will accrue in the process from technology-related innovation is resilience when faced with rapid demographic, environmental, technological and social changes.
Thus, the crucial unmet challenge of Canadian innovation policy today is providing the best possible environment for nurturing science and technology ideas and commercializing these ideas globally. As Schwanen (2017) denotes, this entails transforming scientific knowledge and technology into novel goods, services and processes to satisfy market demands globally. Meeting this critical challenge would result in the maximization of the benefits of being the most innovative nation in the world and other policies, for instance, those espousing business research and development and those facilitating the attraction of talent.
Roles played by different entities in making Canada the most innovative country in the world
Individuals Mobilizing Science and Technology to make Canada the most innovative country in the world
Individual innovators comprise of a variety of people from those engaged involved in improving the general state of knowledge through crucial research and development to the more visionary designers, investors, investors and entrepreneurs who formulate and enhance a prospective emergence of science and technology-related innovation in the global market. Such individuals tend to be those who are or want to be well-read, skilled and well-educated. They are incessantly seeking novel concepts and are motivated by the success of their concepts. This means that successfully individual innovators in Canada tend to emanate from places where literacy, education and numeracy are high and where collaboration, experimentation and the dissemination of novel concepts are encouraged and innovation rewarded. Moreover, since there is a relatively high risk entailed in formulating, testing and implementing new concepts and barricades such as the protracted period of actualizing innovative ideas, individual innovators normally gravitate to where they can find ideal partners who share and support their visions in terms of science and technology and making them a global success. Given that literacy and education are crucial to making and facilitating individual innovators in Canada, it is vital to look at the role played by universities to make Canada the most innovative country in the world by impacting science and technology knowledge and skills.
Universities, Government, the Private Sector and Non-Profit Organizations-mobilizing Science and Technology to make Canada the most innovative country in the world
In order to attain the objective of making Canada the most innovative nation in the world, all sectors need to work hand in hand so as to develop innovative contributions that provide Canada with previously unanticipated competitive advantaged globally. Maximizing the impacts of research-intensive universities to this objective requires consciously implementing principles, taking appropriate actions to fortify a culture of innovation and research excellence and formulate government-industries-academic partnerships (U15, 2015). Based on this understanding, research and development universities will take action in the following ways to increase Canada’s competitive advantage globally:
- Sharpen focus on research and development excellence
- Fortify the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in Canada
- Developing the most innovative, talented and adaptable workforce
- Leveraging knowledge, science and technology through suitable partnerships
Sharpening focus on research and development excellence
Making Canada the most innovative nation in the world requires immense investment in research and development. However, it is imperative to note that Canada does not need and can neither afford to make every college and university world-class research intensive institutions nor provide world-class training at every higher institution of learning. Thus Canada requires a vast array of educational options whereby every institution of higher learning pursues world-class excellence in unique niches. In the case of research-intensive universities, this means a learning and teaching environment that incorporates research and development excellence. As such, Canada must make or come up with world-class transformative ideas in science and technology and breakthrough discoveries that open novel avenues of research or improve the prevailing work of others. Based on the investments on research and development to date, research at various universities in Canada produce approximately five percent of the world’s most frequently cited articles and journals despite only having 0.5% of the population in the world (Canadian Council of the Academies, 2012). However, in order for Canada to move past its current successes and attain the position of the world’s leading innovator, research-intensive universities must lead efforts in:
- Continuing to formulate strategic investments in innovative projects that can catch the attention of the researchers from around the world and become the focal point of public-private innovation clusters.
- Prioritizing the creation of a system of open access to data emanating from publicly funded research to improve research efficiency, transparency, as well as, the velocity of novel Canadian discoveries across all sectors.
- Acknowledging and espousing discovery-drive research in science and technology as intrinsically valuable and an important building block for commercial innovation.
- Pursuing highly differentiated and sustainable higher education learning system whereby the unique contributions, strengths and value propositions of discordant institutions provide Canadians with immense world-class options for science and technology development and employers with a diverse workforce.
- Maximizing the Canada First Research Excellence Fund to generate globally significant research that improves the reputation of Canada as a leading innovator in research and development excellence.
- Celebrating and promoting Canada’s research in science and technology globally so as to ensure Canada’s brand is brand of reference for the top researchers in the world.
- Ensuring fervent and autonomous governance and leadership at research-intensive universities (U15, 2015).
In as much as research universities will foster science-technology innovation and knowledge, they need to look to the federal government in Canada to lead innovative initiatives through the following ways:
- Investing in digital research and development infrastructure so that researchers in Canada can exploit the opportunities emerging rapidly as a result of cutting edge changes in technology tools such as cloud computing, the Internet of Things, big data and mobile technology.
- Implementing its own podium approach to equipping the nation’s top researchers for the purposes of competing and collaborating on equal circumstances with leading researchers in other nations which will position Canada as the destination for leading domestic and international research and development. Achieving this requires the support granted to top researchers by the federal government at all stages of their career and making sure they have access to top-notch research infrastructure, as well as, resources needed to make critical contributions to technology in the world.
- Funding foundational programs in a sustainable, indexed and predictable manner so as to foster long-term and highly strategic investments and planning.
- Fostering the awarding of innovators and researchers so as to retain skilled and knowledgeable researchers in Canada, for instance, the Canada Research Chairs so as to also attract top international researchers and retain Canada’s brightest brains (U15, 2015).
Fortify the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in Canada-mobilizing Science and Technology to make Canada the most innovative country in the world
Fortifying the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship when it comes to science and technology is essential to producing policy makers, the private sector, researchers and social entrepreneurs. These individuals will be willing to learn from failure, take risks and formulate concepts, services, products, opportunities, policies and jobs crucial to improving the Canada’s competitiveness globally. Ensuring innovation in science and technology is a long-term advantage involves promoting passion for discoveries, knowledge and innovation among individuals. As such, universities and higher learning institutions will lead innovative initiatives to:
- Work hand in hand with governments to improve awareness of the discoveries made in the labs in Canada and increase their accessibility to non-scientific audiences through international outreach programs, events, social media and broadcast.
- Foster avid linkages among campus-based angel investors and start-up incubators.
- Facilitate the awareness of the impact and values of graduate education among potential employers, students and the Canadian economy as a whole.
- Encourage and espouse graduate, student and faculty-led commercial and social enterprises to formulate fast-growing companies and to develop innovative and entrepreneurial talent for the workforce in Canada (U15, 2015).
On the other hand, the government will promote the culture of innovation and entrepreneurship in Canada by:
- Creating an inclusive and active Industrial Research and Innovation Council tasked with funding and delivering on all of the business research, innovation programs and development promises of the government in terms of science and technology.
- Launching a national innovation campaign in Canada that formulates experiential opportunities for individuals of different age groups to explore novel ideas, develop a love for science and technology, enhance creative and critical reckoning skills and get people to think about a career in science, research, technology and innovation, for instance, the Let’s Talk Science campaigns.
- Coming up with a senior Cabinet ministerial position to foster and streamline science, technology and innovation programs and policies at the federal or national level with the objective of coordinating innovation policy with provincial governments.
- Ensuring improved business investment in innovation through looking into the reasons why Canadian companies choose to implement innovation or not and using the reports to increase innovation in the country.
- Working with provinces to make sure that the education system in Canada emphasizes literacy, digital proficiency, numeracy and an increment in science, research and lifelong learning in the entire education system, that is, throughout primary, secondary and post-secondary education (U15, 2015).
Developing the most innovative, talented and adaptable workforce-mobilizing Science and Technology to make Canada the most innovative country in the world
Canada needs to attract creative, smart and driven individuals whose visions not only inspire their colleagues but also foster collaborations. Attracting, retaining and unleashing the potential of such a talented workforce require the collaboration of research universities, the government, the private sector and non-profit organizations. With sufficient support from the private sector and non-profit organizations, research universities can play the following roles:
- Increasing the opportunities for post-doctoral fellowships and the number of graduates from universities, particularly with PhDs by making the learning opportunities more economically accessible for a considerable number of individuals, particularly from under-represented communities.
- Expanding the exchanges for students, faculty and professional staff and joint programs so as to improve the number of Canadians with international networks and experience that can help formulate and facilitate international research collaborations in science and technology.
- Expanding high-quality internships for students and experiential learning opportunities.
- Making sure that PhD students continue to have vivid, rewarding, academic and non-academic career paths.
- Improving the promotion of Canada as an ideal leaning destination for international students so as to recruit the brightest minds in science and technology over the world. In as much as Canada will hope that these talented people settle in the country, it will also benefit from the networks they forge and experience and understanding they gain from Canada will go a long way in creating long-term benefits for the economy of Canada and its competitiveness globally (U15, 2015).
With adequate support from the private sector, research universities and non-profit organizations, the federal government in Canada can work with provinces to lead efforts in:
- Improving labor market information so that parents, employers, students and employees can make informed decisions regarding their education, recruiting, careers, skills and training in science and technology.
- Providing more opportunities to foster meaningful and productive collaborations among top PhD candidates, graduate students, and the public, not-for-profit and private sectors through various programs affiliated to science and technology development.
- Creating an inclusive system of upgrading skills, training and long-term learning opportunities to ensure the labor force in Canada is able to adapt to and take advantage of disruptive technologies, as well as, rapidly emerging opportunities of development in science.
- Making sure that there is a smooth transition of top-notch international students into the Canadian society and workforce by creating responsive immigration policies, a welcoming environment and fewer barricades, for instance, visa restrictions (U15, 2015).
Leveraging knowledge, science and technology through suitable partnerships-mobilizing Science and Technology to make Canada the most innovative country in the world
Canada needs to mobilize knowledge in science and technology through inter-sectoral, inter-organizational and international partnerships so as to inspire the society and invigorate its economy as a global competitor. Moreover, Canada must promote the growth and development of an exemplary innovation ecosystem and creatively and relentlessly pursue more strategic and direct approaches to leveraging its research investments in science and technology. On top of conventional approaches such as publications, intellectual property and researcher and graduate-established start-up enterprises, the investment of Canada in science and technology, as well as, research and development can be leveraged to formulate stronger bilateral relationships to increase its foreign direct investment, exemplify the effect of trade agreements and make Canada a leading innovator in the world. Some of the roles that can be played by universities in achieving this objective include:
- Fostering business interactions with leading researchers through the expansion of university-affiliated innovation, research and commercialization hubs aimed at promoting vivid research commercialization paths and long-term university and business relationships.
- Improving regular interactions among the public, not-for-profit and private sectors and universities to formulate immense opportunities for the exchange of discoveries, talented individuals, ideas and innovations.
- Enhancing international mobility and collaboration for its science and technology researchers.
- Making sure that the university timelines, technology transfer offices, processes and IP policies respond to the evolving needs of governmental, non-profit research and business partners so as to encourage more demand for university research in science and technology.
- Working the private sector to formulate a more symbiotic and inclusive research partnership model that extends to global competition (U15, 2015).
On the other hand, the federal government can facilitate the achievement of this objective by:Mobilizing Science and Technology to make Canada the most innovative country in the world
- Working hand in hand with the non-profit sector, private sector, universities and provinces to find opportunities to develop stronger research partnerships in science and technology.
- Promoting Canada as an ideal leaning destination for students and working destination for companies to settle and build top-notch research and development facilities and establish science and technology research partnerships with research-intensive universities.
- Including research universities as vital stakeholders in formulating policies, coming up with international research initiatives, trade agreement negotiations and implementing research and innovation into future international trade agreements (U15, 2015).
Policies Government can apply to support science and technology driven innovation and improves Canada’s competitiveness globally
In addition to supporting beneficial science-technology innovation in partnership with universities, the private sector and the not-for-profit sector, the government can also implement policies that actively espouse innovation and which are critical to improving Canada’s competitiveness globally. Some of the policy approaches aimed at mobilizing science and technology to make Canada the most innovative country in the world include public procurement, articulating public needs, support for research and development and focus on inclusive support instead of picking winners.
Public Procurement-mobilizing Science and Technology to make Canada the most innovative country in the world
The purchase of goods and services through public entities, otherwise known as public procurement represents more than ten percent of the GDP in the OECD nations and is viewed as a significant innovation driver (Appelt and Galindo-Rueda, 2016). Moreover, the Jenkins report identified the strategic utilization of public sector procurement as a suitable means of fostering innovation and as one of the three most vital gaps in the innovation system in Canada (Schwanen, 2017). Since that report, the government of Canada has launched various programs, for instance, the Build in Canada Innovation Program (BCIP) which is tasked with helping people and emerging businesses transition their innovative services and goods from the final stages of research and development into the market (Schwanen, 2017). The government can continue to facilitate this process by providing innovators with a successful utilization of their prep-commercial innovations.
It is imperative to note that such programs for public procurement address one of the key concerns in the Jenkins report, that is, the commercialization gap experienced by innovative and emerging science-technology firms in Canada, particularly the ability of these firms to compete effectively with companies in other nations with access to similar programs, for instance, the United States Small Business Innovation Research Program (Schwanen, 2017). As established in this research, innovators exist in Canada, but the problems lies in the inability to commercialize their products globally. Thus, through programs that seek to espouse science and technology innovators in Canada through public procurement policy, the government can improve the competitiveness of Canada and help make it the most innovative nation in the world.
Articulating public needs-mobilizing Science and Technology to make Canada the most innovative country in the world
Historic examples of the role of the government in making individuals and companies articulate public needs in their major innovative efforts have influenced the establishment of institutions devoted to resolving vital political and economic issues and awards, for instance, the Longitude Prize and the Royal Observatory at Greenwich. The common aspect in these examples is the articulation of public needs; an attribute that was not being addressed the existing institutions and private industry sector in Canada, hence, provoking public support towards attaining them. However, the innovation policy in Canada has for the past forty years been reduced to amassing innovation ingredients such as subsidizing private-sector research and development, strong university research capacity and developing privately led projects through the National Research Council, as well as, the Industrial Research Assistance Program.
With numerous instances of government waste, research and development directed to public objectives has been in recent years, one of the most prominent factors behind innovations subsequently implemented by the global market. As such, using resources effectively toward the pursuit of vital public goals should be a major concern of innovation policy. This means that Canadian leadership of or contribution towards public objectives such as research and development efforts in science and technology should be espoused, as long as the results are available to Canadian innovators and improves the nation’s competitiveness globally.
Support for research and development-mobilizing Science and Technology to make Canada the most innovative country in the world
As noted by important education researchers, there exists no real contradiction between espousing the more goal-oriented, product development efforts of businesses facing financial constraints and funding more fundamental, curiosity-based research (Schwanen, 2017). This is because these two strands of research each possess distinct prominence and risk and reward profiles which must be supported differently, but equally. However, these areas of research and development do not address the research institutions facilitated by the government. Based on this understanding, the Jenkins report as elaborated by Schwanen (2017) endorsed the need for the government in Canada to give direct support to research and development efforts of small and medium-sized institutions, particularly in core areas of public interest that improve the country’s competitive advantage such as science and technology .
Policy makers in the government should take into account the positive impact that prize acknowledging individuals, firms and organizations that foster innovation from a domestic platform could cause in fostering innovation. Moreover, as Godin (2017) reports, policy makers should also take into consideration how philanthropy has encouraged innovation in the past to be included as a vital component of the innovation policy. Overall, public support and especially government support for science and technology-related research and development through policy should be facilitated from the starting point of conception of ideas to the point of commercially successful innovation so as to make Canada more competitive globally.
Focus on inclusive support instead of picking winners-mobilizing Science and Technology to make Canada the most innovative country in the world
According to Howitt (2013), practice and theory suggest that governments that tend to pick innovation winners regularly fail since it is impossible to predict the drivers of economic growth of a nation domestically and internationally five or ten years ahead. Innovation marketplaces are defined by Schwanen (2017) as bringing together entrepreneurs and researchers with private and public consumers around a common business challenge. Such innovation marketplaces match demand from governments and corporations with innovation supply from entrepreneurs and researchers in science and technology. It is this matchmaking process that fortifies the flow of information and supply-chain relationships, thus fueling further innovation. The government can put in place science and technology driven policy that links participants through online platforms, as well as, through physical interaction in conferences, events and collaborative research.
Conclusion-mobilizing Science and Technology to make Canada the most innovative country in the world
Achieving the status of the world’s leading innovator is a huge task, but it is a task that Canada can pursue. The success of this objective is contingent on the willingness of universities, businesses in the private and public sector, non-profit organizations and the government through policies to coalesce around the shared vision of mobilizing science and technology and work together to improve Canada’s competitiveness globally. This means that it is not enough to simply amass together prominent ingredients necessary for fostering innovation and support activities related to innovation to make Canada the most innovative nation in the world. Formulating a strong culture of innovation through science and technology and that recognizes and disseminates Canadian discoveries and concepts will take the leadership and commitment of all stakeholders, that is, individual, companies or firms in the public and private sector, non-profit organizations, universities and the government.
However, innovation is not likely to be determined completely by government policy. It also determined by business and intellectual cultures that are at the focal point of innovation, including regulations that innovators face in the marketplace that foster science and technology-based innovation and risk-taking in the private and public sectors. This research has discussed the innovation problem in Canada and suggested a vast array of ways through which the government can positively influence innovation through a science and technology development policy approach and inclusion of Canadians in a system that they can benefit from and improve the competitiveness of the nation globally at the same time.
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