Transcript: Economic Change For The Better Isn't Easy | Nov 22, 2021

Steve Paikin sits in a studio with a lowercase red “a” on the wall behind him. He has curly, dark brown hair and wears a blue suit and tie.

A caption below him reads: Economic Change For the Better Ain’t Easy

Steve says, SOMEWHERE ALONG THE LINE INNOVATION AND THE TECH SECTOR MODEL OF SILICON VALLEY BECAME THE GOLD STANDARD FOR ECONOMIC GROWTH AND DYNAMISM. THAT'S LED TO A LOT OF PLACES TRYING TO REPLICATE IT BUT FEW ARE SUCCEEDING AS THAT GLOBAL HUB DID. DAN BREZNITZ TEACHES AT THE UNIVERSITY OF TORONTO'S MUNK
SCHOOL OF GLOBAL AFFAIRS AND PUBLIC POLICY WHERE HE IS CODIRECTOR OF THE INNOVATION POLICY LAB. HIS NEW BOOK TAKES THAT APPROACH TO TASK. IT'S CALLED: "INNOVATION IN REAL PLACES: STRATEGIES FOR PROSPERITY IN AN UNFORGIVING WORLD."

The book cover is shown.

Steve says, IT IS A FINALIST FOR THE WRITER'S TRUST INAUGURAL BALSILLIE PRIZE FOR PUBLIC
POLICY. AND IT BRINGS DAN BREZNITZ TO OUR AIR WAVES FROM THE NATION'S CAPITAL.
GREAT TO HAVE YOU BACK ON, DAN. HOW ARE YOU DOING?

Dan Breznitz has short dark hair that is greying at the temples. He wears a white button-up shirt.

Dan says, I'M DOING WELL.

Steve says, I WANT TO START – AND THIS IS NOT REALLY MEANT TO BE A SMART ALEC QUESTION. BUT YOU MAY HAVE INTUITED WHAT THE MY FIRST QUESTION WOULD BE WITH THE WAY I READ YOUR TITLE: INNOVATION IN REAL PLACES. WHAT'S A REAL PLACE AS OPPOSED TO AN UNREAL PLACE FOR INNOVATION?

The caption changes to read: Not All Innovation Looks Like Silicon Valley

Dan says, WELL, AN UNREAL PLACE IS TO A CERTAIN DEGREE SILICON VALLEY OR OUR IDEA OF SILICON VALLEY AND THE REAL PLACE IS A PLACE WHERE, YOU KNOW, OUR REAL CANADIAN OR PEOPLE ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD ACTUALLY LIVE: HAMILTON, REGINA, EVEN TORONTO.

[Laughter]

Dan says, IF YOU CAN IMAGINE THAT.

Steve says, I CAN IMAGINE IT BECAUSE WE HAD THE MAYOR OF TORONTO AND THE MAYOR OF WATERLOO A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO SAYING THERE IS A CORRIDOR BETWEEN OUR TWO CITIES WHERE INNOVATION IS TRANSPIRING. SO THAT'S A REAL PLACE IN YOUR VIEW?

Dan says, IT'S A REAL PLACE. I'M NOT SURE THERE IS A CORRIDOR IN WHICH INNOVATION IS TRANSPIRING. AND I'M MUCH MORE WORRIED AND THAT'S WHY I DON'T LIKE THE SILICON VALLEY MODEL WHETHER THAT INNOVATION WILL TRANSPIRE ACTUALLY WILL TRANSLATE TO A LOT OF GOOD JOBS FOR ALL CANADIANS AND NOT JUST VERY HIGH PROFITS FOR THE VERY FEW WHICH IS WHAT THE SILICON VALLEY MODEL HAS BECOME.

Steve says, RIGHT. WHAT IS YOUR MOST SIGNIFICANT CONCERN ABOUT THE FACT THAT SILICON VALLEY HAS BECOME THE SYMBOL OF INNOVATION ON THIS CONTINENT?

Dan says, FIRST OF ALL, I THINK IT HAS GIVEN US ALL A WRONG IDEA OF WHAT INNOVATION IS. AND COMPLETELY CONFUSED INVENTION AND INNOVATION. SO INVENTION IS COMING UP WITH A NEW IDEA IN A LAB, WHEREVER, IN A GARAGE. INNOVATION IS ACTUALLY PUTTING
IDEAS INTO REALITY. AND IT COMES ALL ACROSS THE PRODUCTION CHAIN OF PRODUCT AND SERVICES. AND YOU CAN SEE HOW IMPORTANT IT IS EVEN IN THE VACCINES THAT WE HAVE NOW. IT'S LOVELY. WE HAVE AN MRNA VACCINE. IT'S LOVELY WE EVEN MANAGED TO GET THE FIRST VACCINE. IF WE ACTUALLY WANT TO BE ABLE TO LIVE WITH CORONA, WE HAVE TO
INNOVATE TO THE DEGREE THAT WE PRODUCE BILLIONS OF UNITS OF THAT VACCINE EVERY SIX MONTHS AND THEN DISTRIBUTE THEM TO EVERY HUMAN ON EARTH. AND THAT'S REALLY WHERE INNOVATION HAS AN IMPACT. IT'S WHEN WE REACH THAT POINT. IT'S NOT WHEN THE FEW WEALTHY HAVE A NEW GADGET TO PLAY WITH AND SILICON VALLEY HAS BECOME MOSTLY ABOUT THE NEW GADGET AND THE PEOPLE EMPLOYED THERE ARE MOSTLY THE GEEK ELITES AND THEY HAVE FABULOUS FINANCIAL PROFITS AND THE REST OF THE AMERICA OR IN THIS CASE CANADA GETS VERY LITTLE.

Steve says, I AM GOING TO FOLLOW UP ON THAT BECAUSE YOU ARE ALSO QUITE CRITICAL OF WHAT YOU CALL PEOPLE AND ORGANIZATIONS WHO MAKE TOO MUCH MONEY BY SELLING MYTHS ABOUT INNOVATION. WHAT ARE THOSE MYTHS THAT WE NEED TO BE AWARE OF?

Dan says, FIRST OF ALL THE MYTH IS THAT THE SILICON VALLEY IS THE ONLY PLACE THAT DOES INNOVATION IN THE WORLD AND IF YOU WANT TO BE AN INNOVATION HUB OF GROWTH YOU HAVE TO LOOK AT SILICON VALLEY. AS A MATTER OF FACT, IN ORDER TO SUCCEED IN EVERY PART OF PRODUCTION YOU NEED TO BE INNOVATIVE. I DON'T KNOW IF YOU NOTICE THAT. BECAUSE I KNOW YOU LOVE TO HAVE A NEW CAR EVERY THREE TO SIX MONTHS AND THIS YEAR I KNOW THAT YOU HAVE TO WAIT MULTIPLE MONTHS IN ORDER TO GET YOUR NEW CAR BECAUSE GENERAL MOTORS, FOR EXAMPLE, CANNOT GET SEMI CONDUCTOR CHIPS AND THE SEMI CONDUCTOR -- SILICON, BY THE WAY -- ARE NOT HAPPENING BECAUSE SILICON VALLEY IS NOT DOING ITS JOB BUT BECAUSE SILICON VALLEY FORGOT HOW TO INNOVATE IN THE PRODUCTION OF SILICON. AND THAT SHOULD TEACH US THAT THERE ARE MULTIPLE WAYS IN WHICH WE CAN INNOVATION AND CREATE LOCAL PROSPERITY AND NOT NECESSARILY FOLLOW THE IDEA OF SILICON VALLEY AND THE CONSULTANTS WHO SELL IT BECAUSE IT LOOKS SO SEXY AND INSTEAD CONCENTRATE ON WHY WE, AS CANADIANS, AS HAMILTONIANS, AS TORONTONIANS, AS WATERLOO-IANS WANT TO HAVE INNOVATION. AND THAT IS FOR OUR COMMUNITY TO BE PROSPEROUS, AND THAT'S WHY I REALLY DO NOT LIKE THE IDEA OF PEOPLE RUNNING AROUND TELLING US ALL THAT IF WE ONLY DO THOSE FIVE MAGICAL THINGS, HAVE A LOT OF VENTURE CAPITAL AND ADD A HIGH INTO HYPHEN TO OUR NAME AND CALL US SILICON VALLEY NORTH AND WE'RE GOOD.

Steve says, DO YOU KNOW IF PEOPLE IN SILICON VALLEY HAVE READ THE BOOK?

Dan says, A LOT OF THEM HAVE AND A LOT OF THEM AGREE, BECAUSE YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT SILICON VALLEY WASN'T THAT WAY. IT'S CALLED SILICON VALLEY BECAUSE THAT'S WHERE YOU HAD THE SEMI CONDUCTOR REVOLUTION. WHAT MOST PEOPLE DON'T UNDERSTAND WE HAVE THAT SMALL THING CALLED GLOBALIZATION AND IN GLOBALIZATION WE HAVE STARTED TO PRODUCE ANYTHING -- EVERYTHING IN STAGES. AND AS YOU PRODUCE EVERYTHING IN STAGES, YOU CHANGE THE WAYS IN WHICH INNOVATION TRANSLATES TO ECONOMIC GROWTH IS IN PLACES. SO SILICON VALLEY CREATES HUGE WEALTH FOR VERY FEW IN THE UNITED STATES. MOSTLY IN SILICON VALLEY FOR THE GEEK ELITES AND THE FINANCIERS AND FOR WALL STREETS. IT ALSO CREATES MASSIVE AMOUNTS OF WEALTH WHEN IT TRANSLATES TO JOBS AND PROFITS BUT THAT HAPPENS ELSEWHERE. FOR EXAMPLE, IN TAIWAN, IN KOREA AND IN CHINA. WE, AS CANADIANS, HAVE TO DECIDE WHERE WE WANT TO EXCEL IN INNOVATION, WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE WE WANT TO BE EMPLOYED IN THIS INNOVATION MIRACLE. AND HOW WE'RE GOING TO PAY THEM AND EMPLOY THEM AND CREATE THOSE SKILLS. AND THAT'S A DISCUSSION WE DO NOT HAVE IN CANADA. WE HAVEN'T EVEN STARTED IT. AND THAT'S WHAT WORRIES ME AT THE MOMENT.

Steve says, JUST FOR FUN LET'S DO A REAL-LIFE EXAMPLE FROM YOUR LIFE. BECAUSE YOU DID LEARN A LESSON ABOUT INNOVATION WHEN YOU WENT BICYCLE SHOPPING. AS YOU DID WITH YOUR KIDS. DO YOU WANT TO TELL THAT STORY?

The caption reads: Invention Does Not Innovation Make

Dan says, YUP. SO IF YOU GO TO A BICYCLE SHOP, I HAVE TO ADMIT THAT I'M OLD ENOUGH TO REMEMBER WHEN MOUNTAIN BIKING WAS SOMETHING THAT YOU DREAMED ABOUT IF YOU ARE A SEMI PROFESSIONAL ATHLETE BECAUSE THEY WERE VERY BULKY, HUGE, UNBELIEVABLY EXPENSIVE AND NORMAL HUMAN BEINGS LIKE ME AND OTHERS COULDN'T EVEN ENGAGE WITH THAT SPORT. AND THEN SUDDENLY IT ALL CHANGED. AND IT ALL CHANGED BECAUSE OF A TAIWANESE COMPANY CALLED GIANT MANUFACTURING WHICH FIGURED OUT HOW TO DO CARBON STEEL PRODUCTION FOR THE FRAMES. ONCE THEY DID THAT, WITH THE HELP OF THE TAIWANESE GOVERNMENT, THE SAME ORGANIZATION THAT ALSO CREATED A TAIWANESE SEMI CONDUCTOR MIRACLE, THEY FIGURED OUT HOW TO USE THIS MUCH -- NOT JUST
CHEAPER BUT MUCH STRONGER AND LIGHTER MATERIAL TO THEN START TO DEVELOP BIKES THAT FIT ALL KINDS OF PEOPLE. FROM CHILDREN TO PEOPLE LIKE ME WHO ARE NOT SEMI PROFESSIONAL ATHLETES TO FEMALES AND MALES ALIKE. TAKEN OFF THE ROAD, ON THE ROAD. AND YOU SEE THAT TRANSFORMATION NOW. IN TORONTO, WHERE EVERYBODY HAS A BIKE AND WE NOW REORGANIZE THE CITY AROUND BIKES BECAUSE OF THIS MASSIVE TRANSFORMATION IN THE WAY, BY THE WAY, THAT COMPANY AND THE COMPANIES AROUND
IT PRODUCED BECOMES BILLIONS OF DOLLARS OF JOBS AND PROFITS FOR A TAIWANESE COMMUNITY IN A TOWN YOU PROBABLY NEVER HEARD OF.

Steve says, BUT THIS DOES SPEAK, I THINK, TO THE GLOBAL FRAGMENTATION OF PRODUCTION WHICH YOU THINK IS A GOOD THING, YES? WHY IS THIS A GOOD THING?

Dan says, I THINK IT'S A GOOD THING. BECAUSE JUST THINK ABOUT THE THINGS WE CAN NOW HAVE. JUST THINK ABOUT HOW, WHEN IT WORKS, AND WE NEED TO MAKE SURE IT WORKS BECAUSE CURRENTLY IT DOES NOT WORK. AND THE PATH WE'RE MOVING THROUGH IT, AS YOU CAN SEE BECAUSE OF SUPPLY CHAIN DISRUPTION IS NOT A GOOD ONE. WE NEED TO MAKE IT MUCH MORE RESILIENT. YOU CAN MOVE INNOVATION IN A MUCH FASTER WAY. YOU CAN CREATE JOBS, WHICH WE HAVE FOR MILLIONS OF PEOPLE. YOU KNOW, WHILE WE ARE SORT OF KVETCHING AND FEELING SORRY FOR OURSELVES IN CANADA, YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER WITHIN THE LAST TWO GENERATIONS, MORE PEOPLE WENT OUT FROM ABJECT POVERTY IN THE GLOBE THAN EVER BEFORE. AND I THINK THAT AS A HUMANITY, WE HAVE TO BE PROUD OF WHAT WE ACHIEVED. THE PROBLEM IS THAT RIGHT NOW IT'S COMPLETELY OUT OF KILTER. AND PEOPLE IN CANADA AND ELSEWHERE ARE SUFFERING. AND WE NEED TO REFIGURE – AND ESPECIALLY FOR CANADA AND ESPECIALLY FOR CITIES, DIFFERENT CITIES IN CANADA NEED TO DO IT DIFFERENTLY, WHERE WE ARE IN THIS GLOBAL PRODUCTION NETWORK. HOW DO WE WANT TO SEE THEM? HOW DO WE WANT TO ENGAGE WITH THEM? AND HOW DO WE CREATE INNOVATION CAPABILITIES THAT ALLOW US TO EXCEL LONG TERM. SO OUR CHILDREN'S LIVES WILL BE BETTER THAN OURS.

Steve says, LET ME THROW TWO WORDS YOUR WAY. THESE WORDS ARE USED INTERCHANGEABLY QUITE A BIT BUT I KNOW YOU BELIEVE THEY MEAN DIFFERENT THINGS.
INVENTION AND INNOVATION. WHAT'S THE DISTINCTION?

Dan says, SO INVENTION, WHICH IS NOT INNOVATION, IS IF YOU AND I WOULD BE BACK IN MY UNIVERSITY IN A LAB AND WILL THINK OF A NEW IDEA. BE IT THE SOFTWARE, BE IT A NEW DESIGN FOR SEMI CONDUCTORS, BE IT MAY BE A NEW MRNA MOLECULAR VACCINE FOR A DISEASE WE HAVEN'T YET HEARD OF, EVEN IF WE MOVE IT TO THE PROTOTYPE TO SHOW IT CAN WORK IT IS STILL INVENTION. INNOVATION HAPPENS WHEN YOU TAKE THOSE IDEAS AND ACTUALIZE THEM IN THE REALITY. SO FROM THE POINT OF VIEW OF THE ECONOMY AND PRODUCTION AND SERVICES, ALL THE WAY THROUGH. RIGHT FROM THE FIRST INNOVATION TO MAKING IT MUCH BETTER TO MAKING IT MUCH MORE RELIABLE, SECOND GENERATION, INNOVATION, INNOVATION OF HOW TO PRODUCE THE STUFF AND THEN INNOVATION HAD TO DISTRIBUTE IT AND THEN INNOVATION HOW TO DO AFTER SALE. AND YOU CAN SEE IT IN MULTIPLE INDUSTRIES. I ALREADY TALKED ABOUT THE MRNA VACCINES, RIGHT? AND HOW WE NOW NEED TO DO THAT IF WE ACTUALLY WANT TO I DON'T KNOW IF IT IS TO CONQUER OR CONTROL COVID. BUT YOU CAN SEE IT IN THE THINGS THAT YOU USE. YOU HAVE A SMART PHONE THAT A FEW YEARS AGO WAS A SUPER COMPUTER. AND IT IS CHANGED DRASTICALLY
EVERY SIX MONTHS. YOU WILL LOOK AT HOW THAT SMART PHONE IS BEING PRODUCED. YOU WILL SEE HOW IN PLACES LIKE TEL AVIV AND SILICON VALLEY IT IS PRODUCT INNOVATION. THOSE IDEAS THAT I TALKED ABOUT AND FIRST TIME TO THE MARKET. BUT IF YOU ACTUALLY WANT TO MAKE THEM INTO A REAL THING YOU HAVE TO GO TO TAIWAN. IF YOU WANT MEMORY CHIPS OR CONTROLLERS FOR YOUR SCREENS YOU HAVE TO GO TO KOREA. AND THE ONLY PLACE THAT CAN ACTUALLY FIGURE OUT HOW TO TAKE ALL THOSE TENS OF THOUSANDS OF COMPONENTS AND MAKE A SMART PHONE THAT YOU WOULD ACTUALLY LIKE TO BUY, YOU GO TO SHENZHEN.

Steve says, IN WHICH CASE WHICH IS A BIGGER SCANDAL IN CANADA? OUR PROBLEMS ASSOCIATED WITH INVENTION OR WITH INNOVATION?

Dan says, WITH INNOVATION, VERY CLEARLY. SO I HAVE -- I'M SAD TO SAY TO ALL MY FRIENDS IN THE BUSINESS WORLD, BUT THIS IS NOT A FAILURE OF THE GOVERNMENT AND NOT A FAILURE OF CANADIANS AND NOT A FAILURE OF OUR RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE. IN THE LAST 45 YEARS, CANADA HAS BECOME THE MOST EDUCATED COUNTRY IN THE WORLD. OUR RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE IS EXCELLENT BAR NONE. AND AT THE SAME TIME, THE BUSINESS SECTOR HAS INVESTED LESS AND LESS AND LESS IN R&D AND INNOVATION, EVEN IN THE BUYING OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES. INSTEAD, WE TAKE REALLY HIGHLY QUALIFIED, HIGHLY SKILLED CANADIANS, PAY THEM WAGES THAT ARE LOWER THAN WHAT THEY SHOULD BE AND YOU CAN SEE IT IN THE MEDIAN WAGES IN CANADA BEING STUCK FOR 45 YEARS. THAT'S TWO GENERATIONS. AND USE THE BUSINESS AND USE OUR EDUCATION, PUBLICLY PAID FOR TO COMPENSATE FOR THE FACT THAT THEY DO NOT BUY NEW TECHNOLOGIES AND GOD FORBID EVEN TALK ABOUT DOING R&D. AND THAT'S WHY WE ARE FAILING IN INNOVATION AND INNOVATION POLICY. THAT REALIZATION THAT THE FAILURE IS IN THE BUSINESS SECTOR. IN THE BIG COMPANIES, SMALL COMPANIES, MEDIUM-SIZED COMPANIES, APART FROM THE START-UP SECTOR, HAS NOT REALLY REACHED POLICY MAKERS AND WE NEED TO DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT AND WE NEED TO TILT OUR WHOLE INNOVATION SYSTEMS IN ORDER TO SOLVE THAT, IF WE WANT ALL THAT INVESTMENT IN CANADIAN, IN CAPITAL, INNOVATION AND RESEARCH TO HAPPEN IN CANADA, OTHERWISE WE WILL CONTINUE TO SEE CANADIAN INVENTION BECOMING A LOT OF MONEY FOR AMERICAN AND CHINESE COMPANIES.

Steve says, DAN, I WANT TO CIRCLE BACK WITH YOU RIGHT NOW. BECAUSE I THINK ONE OF THE FIRST THINGS YOU SAID WHEN I ASKED YOU ABOUT INNOVATION NEEDING TO HAPPEN IN REAL PLACES AND YOU SAID LIKE HAMILTON AND REGINA. AND HAMILTON'S IN ONTARIO SO I WANT TO ASK YOU ABOUT HAMILTON NOT JUST BECAUSE IT'S MY HOMETOWN BUT I'M INTERESTED. “THE MOST IMPORTANT TASK FOR A REGION TO HAVE IS A VISION.” THAT'S WHAT YOU SAID. SO LET ME ASK YOU ABOUT HAMILTON. DOES HAMILTON IN YOUR JUDGMENT HAVE A VISION?

The caption changes to read: There Is More Than One Road to Rome

Dan says, SO ACTUALLY HAMILTON REACHED A VISION, YES. I FEAR FOR HAMILTON AS I FEAR THEY MAY LOSE THIS. BUT LET ME EXPLAIN THE VISION. SO WHEN I WALK AROUND THE WORLD AND IN CANADA TO A LOT OF PLACES AND THEY SAY, WE REALLY WANT TO HAVE INNOVATION. AND I SAY, OKAY, SO LET'S ASSUME YOU'RE SUCCESS OF IN INNOVATION WHAT WILL HAPPEN? THEY START TELLING ME THERE WILL BE A LOT MORE VC MONEY, A LOT MORE START-UPS. AND I SAY YEAH, YEAH, YEAH, THAT'S NOT WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT. I WANT A REALLY PRAGMATIC VISION. HOW DO YOU WANTED YOUR ECONOMY, YOUR CITY TO LOOK LIKE IN 10 TO 15 YEARS. SO ASSUME YOU ARE THE MOST SUCCESSFUL IN YOUR POLICIES, WHAT KIND OF COMPANIES DO YOU HAVE? WHAT KIND OF PEOPLE DO THEY EMPLOY? HOW DO THEY MAKE MONEY? AND THEN LET'S DO A REVERSE ENGINEERING AND GET THERE. HAMILTON, BY WAY OF ERROR AND TRIAL ACTUALLY HAVE A SPECIAL -- HAD A SPECIAL VISION. I THINK THE BEST WAY TO LOOK AT IT IS TO LOOK AT MCMASTER UNIVERSITY AND LOOK AT THEIR VERY INNOVATION IN EDUCATION OF MEDICINE: I DON'T KNOW IF YOU KNOW. I THINK YOU SHOULD, AS A HAMILTONIAN OR BORN IN HAMILTON, HAMILTON AND MCMASTER COMPLETELY TRANSFORMED THE WAY WE TEACH MEDICINE. COMPLETELY TRANSFORMED THE WAY WE PRACTICE MEDICINE, EVIDENCE BY THE WAY IS FROM YOUR HOMETOWN. AND THEN IF YOU LOOK AT THE COMPANIES COMING OUT OF THIS, THEY ARE ALL BUILT ON THAT IDEA THAT CALLED POPULATION SCIENCE THAT YOU LOOK AT THE CLIENTS AND YOU FIGURE OUT HOW TO DO THINGS. YOU CREATE PLATFORMS FOR MEDICINE TO REACH, FOR EXAMPLE,
VECTOR FOR CANCER. INSTEAD OF V1 MOLECULAR WHICH IS A SILICON VALLEY WAY. SO THERE IS A VISION, THE PROBLEM IS HAMILTON IS NOW BECOMING REALLY SUCCESSFUL. AND WHEN A PLACE BECOMES REALLY SUCCESSFUL NOW, THE VENTURE CAPITAL AND ALL THE REST, IT COMES CIRCLING IN. AND VERY QUICKLY YOU'RE BEING TRANSFORMED TO SOMETHING THAT LOOKED LIKE TEL AVIV, WHICH IS REALLY SUCCESSFUL BUT UNBELIEVABLY UNEQUAL. AND MORE AND MORE OF YOUR SOCIETY IS NOT PART OF THAT.

Steve says, IN OUR REMAINING MOMENTS HERE HAVE YOU A VERY FUNNY QUOTE HERE THAT I WANT TO PUT TO YOU. YOU CALL CANADA QUOTE, “A TRAGIC, MORBIDLY FASCINATING INNOVATION PARADOX.” HOW COME?

The caption reads: Canada’s Dire Straits

Dan says, AS WE HAVE BEEN TALKING, SO YOU LOOK AT CANADA AND YOU LOOK ESPECIALLY AT CANADIANS. AND NOT US OLD FARTS BUT ESPECIALLY YOUNGER CANADIANS. THEY'RE THE MOST EDUCATED PEOPLE IN THE WORLD, THE MOST HIGHLY SKILLED PEOPLE IN THE WORLD. THE MOST DIVERSE, AND CAPABLE, AND CREATIVE. THAT'S ON ONE SIDE. YOU LOOK AT THE UNIVERSITIES AND PUBLIC RESEARCH INFRASTRUCTURE. AND EVERY MEASURE YOU'D EVER WANT TO TRY INPUTS AND OUTPUTS, IT IS DOING WHATEVER WE WANT IT TO DO. ACTUALLY PUNCHING WAY ABOVE ITS WEIGHT. AND THEN YOU ACTUALLY LOOK AT HOW THIS TRANSFORMS TO BUSINESS COMMERCIALIZATION, PRODUCTS ALL ACROSS THE PRODUCTION NETWORK, RIGHT? NOT JUST NEW PRODUCTS AND COOL COMPANIES. BUT ALL ACROSS. AND IT'S A DISASTER. IT IS SUCH A DISASTER THAT YOU LOOK AT ALWAYS, ALWAYS COUNTRIES WHERE FOR THE LAST 20 YEARS, THEIR GDP TO R AND D RATIO. SO HOW MUCH YOU INNOVATE GOES LIKE THIS.

Dan tilts his one hand up.

Dan says, YOU LOOK AT CANADA AND IT'S THIS.

Dan crosses his hands to make an X.
Dan says, THE ONLY RICH WEALTHY, EDUCATED COUNTRY, IN THE WORLD GOING DOWN FOR 20 YEARS. AND LET ME REPEAT IT. THE ONLY. AT THE SAME TIME, WE'RE SO SUCCESSFUL ELSEHWERE. IF THAT'S NOT A FAILURE AND IF THAT'S NOT A DESCRIPTION OF HOW THINGS DON'T WORK, WE PUT MORE MONEY IN TO GET LESS FROM THE PRIVATE SECTOR, I DON'T KNOW WHAT FAILURE IS. AND I DON'T KNOW HOW THIS IS NOT A DERELICTION OF DUTY ON THE PART OF A PRIVATE BUSINESS OR PRIVATE SECTOR IN CANADA. AND I UNDERSTAND HOW WE DO IT BY THE WAY. THEIR PROFITS ARE IMMENSE. THEY'RE VERY PROFITABLE. IF I WAS AN INVESTOR I WOULD INVEST IN CANADIAN BUSINESSES. AS A CANADIAN, I'M VERY, VERY WORRIED ON THE BUSINESS SIDE.

Steve says, WELL, AND I WAS GOING TO SAY, AND YET YOU CALL YOURSELF A HOPEFUL CYNIC IN THE BOOK. I GET WHY YOU'RE CYNICAL. WE’VE TALKED ABOUT 2 FOR THE LAST 20 MINUTES. WHAT MAKES YOU HOPEFUL?

Dan says, I'M HOPEFUL BECAUSE OF INNOVATION. INNOVATION IS THE ABILITY OF HUMANS TO PUT IDEAS INTO REALITY. AND IF WE DON'T LIKE THE REALITY WE INNOVATE. WE CHANGE IT.
SOMETIMES FOR WORSE – CLIMATE CHANGE. BUT I THINK IF YOU LOOK FOR ALL OF OUR HISTORY AND IF YOU TRULY BELIEVE, WHICH I BELIEVE, IN THE GOOD PART OF HUMANITY, I THINK THAT OVERALL, WE'RE CHANGING AND CAN CHANGE THINGS FOR THE BETTER AND HAVE I A LOT OF HOPES IN CANADIANS. THIS HIGHLY EDUCATED, REALLY GOOD CANADIAN – WITH GOOD NATURE AND GOOD SKILLS. THAT ONES THEY REALIZE THE FAILURE OF OUR PRIVATE SECTOR, AND ONCE BUSINESS LEADERS REALIZE IT, WE CAN CHANGE OUR WAY AND ACTUALLY REACH A MUCH, MUCH HAPPIER OUTCOME.

The caption reads: Produced by: Wodek Szemberg @wodekszemberg

Steve says, DAN, THAT'S OUR TIME. SO, I HAVE TWO THINGS TO DO. NUMBER ONE, CONGRATULATE YOU AGAIN ON YOUR WRITER'S TRUST BALSILLIE PRIZE FOR PUBLIC POLICY INNOVATION. I BELIEVE THEY WILL MAKE THAT ANNOUNCEMENT IN THE NEXT COUPLE OF DAYS SO WE'LL CROSS OUR FINGERS FOR YOU. IF THAT’S ALLOWED.

Dan crosses his fingers.

Steve says, THERE YOU GO. AND REMIND EVERYBODY THAT YOUR BOOK IS CALLED "INNOVATION IN REAL PLACES." LIKE HAMILTON. LIKE REGINA. STRATEGIES FOR PROSPERITY IN AN UNFORGIVING WORLD."
AND WE'RE GLAD IT HAS BROUGHT DAN BREZNITZ TO OUR STUDIO VIRTUALLY AT LEAST TONIGHT. THANKS SO MUCH, DAN.

Dan says, THANK YOU SO MUCH, STEVE. HOPE TO SEE YOU AGAIN SOON.

Watch: Economic Change For The Better Isn't Easy