Canada’s innovation imperative

Justin Trudeau and Navdeep Bains

Did you know the Covid-19 pandemic presents opportunities for Canadian innovation?

That’s according to Jim Balsillie, the retired chairman and co-CEO of RIM (disclosure: my old boss) and Dan Breznitz, the Munk Chair of Innovation Studies and co-director of the Innovation Policy Lab at the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy. The two recently participated in a panel conversation hosted by the Munk School, moderated by BetaKit Associate Editor Meagan Simpson.

“It’s just a series of faceplants, misfires, and nothingburgers.”

As part of the event, Balsillie and Breznitz discussed innovation policies, COVID-19, and the US election, posing the questions of how innovation can contribute to national prosperity, and whether or not Canada has missed out on the shift from a tangible to intangible economy.

Sound familiar? It might remind you of a recent episode featuring Ben Bergen, Executive Director of the Council of Canadian Innovators (and it should; Balsillie is also CCI’s chair and co-founder).

Balsillie’s perspective is we did miss the shift, due partially to the lack of a national IP strategy. In his opening remarks, Balsillie also discussed the Regulation of AI, branch plant economies, data privacy/governance concerns, and the global IP arms race. It’s “a lot to unpack,” as he put it, but if you’ve ever heard Jim Balsillie speak, it’s also a familiar refrain.

But Mr. Breznitz’s response? That Jim Balsillie is “too optimistic.” Interesting times, indeed.

To listen to the full remarks made before the panel conversation presented below, click here.

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Black Swan is a BetaKit podcast. Hosted by Douglas Soltys & Rob Kenedi. Edited by Kattie Laur. Sponsored by the #CIBCInnovationEconomy podcast. Produced with support from TWG.

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys

Douglas Soltys is the Editor-in-Chief of BetaKit and founder of BetaKit Incorporated. He has worked for a few failed companies and written about many more. He spends too much time on the Internet.