Transcript: Will Canadians Learn How To Innovate? | 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 charcoal grey suit and blue tie.

A caption below him reads: Can Canadians Learn How To Innovate?

Steve says, TURNING IDEAS INTO DESIRABLE PRODUCTS AND TRANSFORMING SMALL COMPANIES INTO BIG ONES REFLECTS AND DRIVES ECONOMIC DYNAMISM. CANADA WILL NEED PLENTY OF THAT IN THE POST PANDEMIC ERA. CAN WE LEARN TO INNOVATE AND COMPETE WITH THE BEST? LET'S ASK. IN THE NATION'S CAPITAL, LEAH LAWRENCE, PRESIDENT AND CEO OF SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT TECHNOLOGY CANADA.

Leah has long red hair. She wears glasses and a blue shirt.

Steve says, IN NORTH BAY, ONTARIO: GRAEME MOFFAT. CHIEF SCIENTIST AND COFOUNDER OF SYSTEMS2 NEUROTECHNOLOGY. A SENIOR FELLOW AT U. OF T.'S MUNK SCHOOL OF GLOBAL AFFAIRS AND PUBLIC POLICY.

Graeme has brown hair and a beard. He wears a dark suit jacket over a white shirt.

Steve says, IN HAMILTON, ONTARIO, TY J. SHATTUCK, CEO AT MCMASTER INNOVATION PARK.

Ty is bald with white stubble. He wears a black suit jacket over a light-coloured shirt.

Steve says, AND IN THE PROVINCIAL CAPITAL, HUDA IDREES. FOUNDER AND CEO OF THE PERSONAL HEALTH DATA PLATFORM, DOT HEALTH.

Huda wears a tan and blue patterned hijab.

Steve says, AND WE'RE DELIGHTED TO HAVE YOU FOUR HERE ON TVO TONIGHT. BEFORE WE GO ANY FURTHER, LEAH, I’M GONNA ASK YOU: WHAT'S YOUR TWITTER ACCOUNT?

[Leah laughs]

Leah says, MY TWITTER ACCOUNT IS @NOPRINCESSLEAH.

Steve says, THAT’S A GOOD ONE, YOU WIN THE PRIZE TONIGHT. MAY THE FORCE BE WITH YOU. DAN BREZNITZ WHO WE JUST HAD ON, DESCRIBES CANADA AS QUOTE, “A TRAGIC MORBIDLY FASCINATING, INNOVATION PARADOX.” LET'S GET INTO THAT. LEAH, HOW DOES THAT SOUND TO YOU?

The caption changes to read: Finding the Vision

Leah says, WELL, WHAT I LOVE ABOUT DAN IS HE LIKES TO TAKE IT TO THE EXTREME. BUT I DON'T DISAGREE WITH HIM TOO MUCH. FIRST OF ALL, I THINK THAT IN CANADA WE'VE DONE MAYBE TWO THINGS. WE THOUGHT THAT INNOVATION AND NOVELTY WAS SOMETHING THAT WOULD TRANSFORM THE ECONOMY. IT CAN BUT IT'S JUST THE FIRST STEP, AS DAN TALKS ABOUT, OF FOUR. IT'S TIME FOR US TO START THINKING ABOUT WHAT HAPPENS AFTER INNOVATION AND NOVELTY. HOW DO WE GET THIS STUFF IN THE MARKET. HOW DO WE REALIZE THAT IT'S INCREMENTABLE AND HOW DO WE THINK ABOUT THE EMERGING CLIMATE, BIO, ALL THESE EMERGING SECTORS THAT ARE ARE SO IMPORTANT TO THE ECONOMY AND FUTURE.

Steve says, ALL OF WHICH WE WILL DISCUSS THROUGH THE COURSE OF OUR CONVERSATION. GRAEME, THAT QUOTE FROM DAN BREZNITZ, HOW DOES IT SOUND TO YOU?

Graeme says, UNFORTUNATELY, IT SOUNDS A LITTLE BIT TOO ON THE MARK SO FAR. YOU KNOW, CANADA HAS BEEN A LOW INNOVATION EQUILIBRIUM OR A LOW INNOVATION ECONOMY FOR PROBABLY FAR TOO LONG. THERE ARE A NUMBER OF WAYS YOU CAN MEASURE THAT BUT PROBABLY ONE OF THE BEST ONES IS TO LOOK AT THE BIGGEST COMPANIES IN CANADA AND HOW LONG THEY'VE BEEN ON THE STOCK MARKETS, WHEN THEY WERE FOUNDED IF YOU LOOK AT THE 15 BIGGEST COMPANIES IN THE TSX, WELL, I THINK THE MEDIAN AGE IS SOMEWHERE IN THE RANGE OF 122 YEARS. AND IF YOU COMPARE THAT WITH AMERICAN COMPANIES, THE LARGEST COMPANIES IN AMERICA OR THE 15 LARGEST COMPANIES IN AMERICA MIGHT BE A MEDIAN OR AVERAGE OF 40 YEARS OLD. WE JUST DON'T HAVE THE TURNOVER IN CANADA AMONG THE BIGGEST COMPANIES IN OUR VARIOUS INDUSTRIES, WHICH SUGGESTS THAT WE'RE NOT GETTING ENOUGH OF THE DESTRUCTION AND THE CREATIVE DESTRUCTION AND THAT'S PROBABLY PART OF THE PROBLEM BUT THERE ARE MANY OTHER THINGS WE NEED TO SOLVE AS WELL IN CANADA.

Steve says, TY, WHAT DO YOU MAKE OF THAT DESCRIPTION?

Ty says, I THINK IT'S A GOOD DESCRIPTION OF WHERE WE'VE BEEN BUT I THINK IT DOESN'T REFLECT THAT WE'RE ON A JOURNEY. I THINK THERE'S A GROUNDSWELL HAPPENING. I THINK FOR A LONG TIME CANADA HAS HIT ABOVE ITS WEIGHT CLASS IN TERMS OF RESEARCH AND IN THE FORM OF INVENTION. I THINK WE'RE STILL FIGURING OUT HOW DO WE GO FROM A GOOD IDEA TO AN IMPACTFUL REALITY. BUT I THINK THERE ARE A LOT OF GOOD THINGS THAT ARE BEING WORKED ON RIGHT NOW. AND I THINK WE'RE IN A TRANSITION PERIOD.

Steve says, LET'S DO A REAL-LIFE EXAMPLE. HUDA, IF YOU WOULD, I WOULD LIKE YOU TO TELL THE STORY OF WHAT HAPPENED AT ONE POINT IN YOUR CAREER AS AN ENTREPRENEUR. YOU VISITED THE ONTARIO MINISTRY OF HEALTH AND WHAT HAPPENED THEN?

Huda says, YES, DOT HEALTH IS A MEDICAL TECHNOLOGY COMPANY AND MY FIRST MEETING I REMEMBER IT WAS WITH SOMEONE WORKING IN POLICY FOR THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH. I TOLD THE REPRESENTATIVE ABOUT WHAT WE WANTED TO DO, PRETTY BASIC CONCEPT LET'S GIVE EVERYONE ACCESS TO THEIR OWN HEALTH DATA, SHE SAID I THINK YOU SHOULD GO TO THE U.S. AND YOU START IT THERE AND WHEN IT'S A SUCCESS, YOU SHOULD BRING IT BACK. SHE WAS RIGHT. I WAS VERY UPSET THAT SHE SAID THIS TO ME BUT SHE WAS RIGHT.

Steve says, AND SHE WAS RIGHT, BECAUSE WHY?

Huda says, I THINK CANADA HAS THIS ALMOST FOLLOWER MENTALITY WHERE IT'S VERY RISK AVERSE. SO INVESTORS, EVEN CUSTOMERS, THE GOVERNMENT, THEY DON'T REALLY WANT TO ADOPT OR BECOME CUSTOMERS OF A PRODUCT THAT IS BRAND NEW EVEN IF IT IS HOME GROWN. THEY WOULD MUCH RATHER TAKE ON A PRODUCT OR ADOPT IT AFTER IT'S BEEN VETTED IN THE U.S. WHERE COMPANIES AND GOVERNMENTS AND EVERYONE ELSE IS A LOT MORE RISK-PHILIC, IF I CAN CALL IT THAT.

Steve says, OUT OF CURIOUSITY -- WHEN THIS ADVICE WAS GIVEN TO YOU FROM AN OFFICIAL AT THE MINISTRY OF HEALTH HOW DID YOU TAKE IT?

Huda says, I THINK MY INITIAL REACTION WAS I WAS QUITE UPSET ABOUT IT BECAUSE THIS IS CLEARLY SOMETHING WE WERE TRYING TO DO WITHIN CANADA. DOT HEALTH AS A COMPANY, I THINK HAS BEEN SUCCESSFUL BECAUSE IT STARTED IN CANADA. SO I HAVE LOTS OF SORT OF ALMOST CONTRADICTORY POINTS TO IT. I AM GLAD I DIDN'T LISTEN TO THE ADVICE RIGHT AWAY BUT WHEN WE DID ROLL OUT INTO THE U.S. WHICH WAS EARLIER THIS YEAR IT HAS ACCELERATED OUR GROWTH QUITE A BIT. SO PERHAPS WE SHOULD HAVE DONE IT EARLIER. AND I AM NOT SURE. I THINK HINDSIGHT IS 20/20. BUT I DO THINK ADOPTION IN CANADA EARLY ON WAS REALLY DIFFICULT FOR US FOR THE SAME REASONS I WAS TALKING ABOUT A LITTLE BIT EARLIER.

Steve says, GRAEME, LET ME PUT SOMETHING ELSE THAT DAN BREZNITZ SAID. HE SAID INNOVATION DEMANDS VISION AND HE SEEMS TO THINK WE HAVE PLENTY OF, I GUESS,
REGIONAL VISION IN THIS COUNTRY BUT NO NATIONAL VISION. DO WE NEED A NATIONAL VISION TO PUT THE PUCK IN THE NET HERE?

Graeme says, I MEAN MAYBE WE DON'T. ONE OF THE CHALLENGES OF INNOVATION POLICY IS THAT WE TEND TO TRY TO DO IT AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL, WHICH IS NOT REALLY THE BEST WAY FOR CANADIANS TO THINK ABOUT THIS. WE HAVE SOME VERY DIFFERENT ECONOMIES IN CANADA. THE WEST IS VERY DIFFERENT FROM ONTARIO. THE EAST IS VERY DIFFERENT FROM THE WEST. SO, WE HAVE A NUMBER OF REGIONAL STRENGTHS. AND WE HAVE SOME REAL CLUSTERS OF INNOVATION. I'M SURE TY WILL TELL US ABOUT HAMILTON AND HOW THAT'S A GREAT EXAMPLE OF MANUFACTURING INNOVATION, BIOTECH AND HEALTH TECH. BUT IN REALITY, THERE'S NOT NECESSARILY A RIGHT WAY TO THINK ABOUT INNOVATION FOR THE ENTIRE COUNTRY. EVEN THOUGH WE’VE TRIED INNOVATION POLICY AT THE NATIONAL LEVEL, MAYBE ONE OF THE REASONS WE HAVEN'T SUCCEEDED IS THAT IT'S MUCH MORE DIFFICULT TO MAKE IT WORK ON A BROAD BASIS THAN WE CAN, SAY, AT THE PROVINCIAL OR THE -- OR EVEN THE MUNICIPAL AND REGIONAL LEVELS.

Steve says, WELL, TY, LET ME ASK YOU DIRECTLY IS MCMASTER’S INNOVATION PARK AN EXAMPLE OF REGIONAL INNOVATION OR IS THERE A NATIONAL VISION TO WHAT YOU’RE UP TO?

Ty says, I THINK IT'S BOTH. AT THE END OF THE DAY INNOVATION BOILS DOWN TO FRNAKLY INDIVIDUAL LEADERSHIP. IT'S ABOUT THAT PERSON WHO HAS TO STRIVE TO BRING AN IDEA TO LIGHT. I THINK, THOUGH, THAT IT HAS TO BE AN ENVIRONMENT THAT IS SUPPORTIVE OF BRINGING THAT IDEA TO LIFE. SO, I THINK WHAT'S HAPPENING AT MCMASTER INNOVATION PARK – AND I AM OBVIOUSLY BIASED. TO BE PERFECTLY FRANK, HAMILTON IS MAKING A BIG LIFE SCIENCE DEVELOPMENT. BUT TO BE FRANK, HAMILTON DOES NOT HAVE EVERYTHING IT TAKES TO TAKE ON THE WORLD TO BE GLOBALLY COMPETITIVE IN THE REALM OF INNOVATION. BUT I WOULD ARGUE NOR DOES MISSISSAUGA, CALGARY, NOR DOES TORONTO. AND SO I THINK WE HAVE TO STOP THINKING ABOUT INDIVIDUAL MUNICIPALITIES AND WE HAVE TO THINK ABOUT HOW DO WE LEVERAGE ASSETS ACROSS THE PROVINCE AND FRANKLY ACROSS THE NATION. SO IF THAT'S WHAT YOU MEAN BY A NATIONAL STRATEGY, THEN I THINK IT'S A GOOD IDEA. HOW DO WE MAKE DISTANCE LESS RELEVANT. THEN THINK THAT WOULD BE HELPFUL. WE HAVE TO THINK NOT JUST ABOUT THE MUNICIPALITY OR THE REGION. SO WE'RE A PIECE OF THE ECOSYSTEM. WE'RE NOT THE ECOSYSTEM OURSELVES. SO IT IS NOT ABOUT ONE PERSON OR THE OTHER, IT’S ABOUT HOW THEY STITCH TOGETHER TO CREATE A NATIONAL MOSAIC, IF YOU WILL, FOR AN INNOVATION ENVIRONMENT.

Steve, LEAH LET ME GET YOUR TAKE ON WHETHER WE NEED A NATIONAL VISION TO BE SUCCESSFUL, OR IF WE'RE OKAY WITH THESE DIFFERENT REGIONAL OPPORTUNITIES.

Leah says, STEVE, I THINK I'D START WITH SAYING, YOU KNOW, WHERE IS SIT WE FUND HUNDREDS OF MEDIUM AND SMALL SIZED BUSINESSES ACROSS THIS COUNTRY EVERY YEAR. WE'RE THE LARGEST FUNDER OF CLIMATE TECH SMES IN THE COUNTRY. AND AN ENTREPRENEUR CAN'T DO IT ALONE BUT THERE ARE REGIONAL STRENGTHS OF TALENT AND SKILLS THAT CAN REALLY BE ELEVATED. AND SO IT'S ABOUT BRINGING THEM TOGETHER AND THINKING ABOUT HOW YOU SUPPORT THEM. I WOULD BE SO FRUSTRATED IF I WAS IN HER SHOES AND SOMEBODY SAID WELL, YOU KNOW YOU SHOULD GO TO THE UNITED STATES. THAT'S FRANKLY JUST NONSENSE. WHAT YOU WANT TO DO IS BRING PEOPLE TOGETHER TO UNDERSTAND WHERE THE INVESTMENTS ARE COMING ABOUT, HOW THE TALENT AND SKILLS ARE GONNA WORK AND ABOUT HOW YOU CAN CONNECT WHEN THAT GROWING AND
EMERGING GROUP OF ENTREPRENEURS MIGHT NOT HAVE ALL THE SKILLS THEY NEED TO GET TO SCALE. HOW DO YOU CONNECT THEM TO A NATIONAL ECOSYSTEM THAT MIGHT BE ABLE TO DO THAT. YES, I AGREE COMPLETELY WITH GRAEME THAT THE TALENT AND SKILLS ARE LOCAL. YOU NEED TO CONNECT THEM TO GLOBAL WHEN THEY’RE READY THROUGH THOSE OTHER STAGES OF INNOVATION AND YOU FRANKLY HAVE TO REALLY FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET THOSE BIG MONOPOLY, 100-YEAR-OLD PLUS COMPANIES INVESTING IN R&D AND SCALABLE FIRMS, HOW DO YOU GET TO DISRUPTIVE INNOVATION AND HOW DO YOU MAKE SURE YOUR POLICY ENVIRONMENT SUPPORTS THAT. FRANKLY IT'S NOT ABOUT FIRE IN THE BELLY AT ALL. THAT'S RIDICULOUS. THESE ENTREPRENEURS LIKE HUDA, THEY ARE HITTING BARRIER AFTER BARRIER AFTER BARRIER WHEN THEY TRY TO SCALE IN CANADA AND IT'S ABOUT TIME WE TRY TO FIGURE THAT OUT AND HELP THEM RATHER THAN TELL THEM TO GO TO THE UNITED STATES.

Steve says, LET ME FOLLOW UP. LEAH WHEN YOU SAY THAT ADVICE IS NONSENSE. DO YOU MEAN IT'S NOT TRUE OR DO YOU MEAN THAT THEY SHOULDN'T HAVE GIVEN IT BUT IT MAY BE TRUE?

Leah says, I THINK IT'S THE PATH OF LEAST RESISTANCE IF YOU DON'T WANT TO CHANGE ANY OF OUR REGULATORY INFRASTRUCTURE IN CANADA. BUT THAT'S NOT GOOD ENOUGH. WE HAVE TO CHANGE THAT. THAT'S WHAT WE TRY TO DO AT SDTC EVERY DAY. FOR EXAMPLE, WE HAVE TO FIGURE OUT HOW WE DO INPUTS TO MATERIALS AS OPPOSED TO INDUSTRIAL WASTE WHICH RIGHT NOW IS AN OLDER REGULATORY SYSTEM BASED ON DIFFERENT KINDS OF PRODUCTS AND SERVICES. THIS IS TECHNICAL, IT’S TECHNOCRATIC. HUDA DOESN'T HAVE TIME TO FIGURE THAT OUT. OR THE REGULATORY SYSTEM IF THAT WAS THE BUSINESS SHE WAS IN. SO IT'S INCUMBENT UPON SOME OF THE OTHERS OF US, TY, GRAEME AND OTHERS TO MAKE SURE TO ANTICIPATE THOSE BARRIERS AND GET THEM OUT OF THE WAY.

The caption reads: Ambition and Drive

Steve says, HUDA, GET BACK IN HERE, IF YOU WOULD AND GIVE ME YOUR TAKE ON THIS. WE KNOW CANADIANS. THEY HAVE SOME IDEAS ON PUBLIC POLICY. I SUSPECT THEY'RE VERY INTERESTED IN TAX POLICY, HEALTH POLICY AND EDUCATION POLICY AND FROM TIME TO TIME THE JUSTICE SYSTEM AND SO ON. HOW ENGAGED DO YOU THINK THEY ARE IN THE WHOLE RANGE OF ISSUES AROUND INNOVATION?

Huda says, I THINK THE AVERAGE CANADIAN IS LIKELY, YOU KNOW, FOLLOWING A LOT OF WHAT IS ALREADY STATUS QUO. AND I THINK A LOT OF THE TIMES THE WAY WE PRESENT SUCCESS IN THIS COUNTRY IS HOW PEOPLE WILL EXPECT THE PATTERN TO LOOK LIKE FOR OTHER COMPANIES AS WELL. AND I THOUGHT THAT WAS REALLY INTERESTING. DAN'S BOOK TALKS ABOUT THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN RIM AND SHOPIFY AS COMPANIES. AND I THOUGHT THAT WAS A REALLY GOOD PARALLEL TO DRAW. BECAUSE I THINK THAT THE AVERAGE CANADIAN TODAY SAYS SHOPIFY WAS A SUCCESS. DESPITE THE FACT THAT THEY WERE MOSTLY AMERICAN BACKED MOST OF THE MONEY FLOWED THROUGH WALL STREET COMPARED TO A LOT OF CANADIANS. THAT IS THE SORT OF FORMULA. THAT I THINK THE AVERAGE PERSON THINKS WE SHOULD FOLLOW. ADD THAT TO THE WHOLE V.C. BUZZ WHERE EVERYONE WANTS TO BE A VC BACKED START-UP AND BELIEVES THAT IT IS THE ONLY WAY TO GROW. MOST OF THEM WILL SAY - AND I GET THIS QUESTION ALL THE TIME, THEY’LL SAY, WHEN ARE YOU MOVING YOUR HEADQUARTERS TO THE UNITED STATES? WE’RE HEADQUARTERED IN TORONTO. IT'S VERY COMMON KIND OF RECOGNITION FOR THE AVERAGE PERSON. WHEN IT COMES TO POLICY IN GENERAL, EVEN FOR SOMEONE LIKE ME WHO I WOULD LIKE TO THINK I'M REALLY ENGAGED IT WASN'T UNTIL I STARTED DOT THAT I STARTED BECOMING VERY INTERESTED IN HOW POLICY DICTATED WHAT YOU COULD DO OR NOT DO, NOT JUST AS A ENTREPRENEUR BUT EVEN AS AN ENGAGED CITIZEN. WHAT YOU WERE ABLE TO ASK ABOUT AND KNOW ABOUT, IF YOU LOOK AT OTHER COUNTRIES AND YOU LOOK AT CANADA, WE HAVE A MUCH HARDER TIME NOT ONLY AS ENTREPRENEURS TRYING TO FIND OUT BASIC INFORMATION IN THIS COUNTRY. BECAUSE ACCESS TO INFORMATION IN CANADA IS SO DIFFICULT. LET ALONE FOR AN ENTREPRENEUR LIKE ME WHO IS GOING INTO SOMETHING THAT'S SO ENTRENCHED LIKE HEALTH CARE, WHERE THESE POLICIES ARE HUNDREDS OF YEARS OLD THEY'VE NEVER BEEN TOUCHED. AND TO BE ABLE TO UPDATE THAT I DO THINK YOU NEED THAT INNOVATION THREAD TO COME IN TO ALMOST CREATE A REASON FOR THIS POLICY TO CHANGE. BECAUSE I DON'T THINK THE MASS MOVEMENT OF PEOPLE WILL EITHER BE THERE OR WILL GET TO THE POINT WHERE WE CAN ACTUALLY CREATE CHANGE.

Steve says, TY, CAN I GET YOUR SENSE OF HOW MUCH YOU THINK EVERY DAY CANADIANS ARE SEIZED OF THE ISSUE OF INNOVATION AND THE SIGNIFICANCE IT CAN PLAY IN THEIR LIVES?

Ty says, UNFORTUNATELY I DON'T THINK THERE ARE SEIZED AT ALL BY IT. I THINK YOU'VE LISTED A BUNCH OF POLICY AREAS FOR TAXES SAND SO ON AND SO FORTH. THE REALITY IS INNOVATION IS NOT SEPARATE FROM THAT. IT IS PART OF IT. INNOVATION IS LARGELY A
MISUNDERSTOOD WORD THAT PEOPLE AND FRANKLY POLITICIANS THROW AROUND. INNOVATION, ECOSYSTEMS, THESE ARE ALL IMPORTANT THINGS BUT DOES THE AVERAGE CANADIAN SIT AROUND DINNER AND TALK ABOUT THEM? NO, THEY TALK ABOUT THE ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT AND THEIR TAXES. BUT THE REALITY IS INNOVATION IS THE MEANS BY WHICH WE IMPROVE THE ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT. IT'S THE MEANS BY WHICH WE CREATE BUSINESSES AND EMPLOYEES THAT ARE ABLE TO PAY TAXES AND STUFF LIKE THAT. I DON'T THINK THEY SIT AROUND THE DINNER TABLE AND TALK ABOUT INNOVATION PER SE. I THINK THAT'S SOMETHING WE SHOULD WORK ON TO UNDERSTAND IT'S A MECHANISM, IT'S A MEANS TO IMPROVING THE ECONOMIC ENVIRONMENT. BUT THE AVERAGE CANADIAN DOESN'T THINK ABOUT IT.

The caption reads: Ambition and Drive

Steve says, LET ME PUT THAT TO GRAEME RIGHT NOW. YOU ARE IN NORTH BAY RIGHT NOW. I SUSPECT A LOT OF AVERAGE CANADIANS SIT AROUND THE DINNER TABLE TALKING ABOUT HOW THEY'LL PAY THEIR BILLS AND WHAT'S HAPPENING NEXT WITH COVID-19. THEY MAY NOT BE THINKING TODAY ABOUT HOW INNOVATION TODAY WILL HELP INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY TOMORROW AND MAKE MY LIFE BETTER THE DAY AFTER. SO HOW WOULD YOU IMPRESS UPON THEM THE SIGNIFICANCE OF WHAT YOU ARE UP TO?

Graeme says, SO ONE THING ABOUT INNOVATION IS IT'S REALLY THE SOURCE OF ALL INCREASES IN PROSPERITY. PRODUCTIVITY GROWTH, WHICH IS WHAT INNOVATION CAN ACHIEVE FOR US IS DOING MORE WITH LESS. SO BEING ABLE TO PRODUCE MORE GOODS AND SERVICES WITH EVEN THE SAME AMOUNT OF MATERIALS AND LABOUR INPUT OR FEWER. SO REALLY IF WE'RE GOING TO BECOME RICHER AS A SOCIETY AND THIS IS ESPECIALLY AS THE AGE AND WORKING AGE OF CANADA DECREASES AND THIS IS TRUE ACROSS THE WHOLE WORLD, WE'RE GOING TO REQUIRE MORE AND MORE INNOVATION TO MAINTAIN OUR LEVEL OF PROSPERITY AND I THINK THIS IS ABSOLUTELY CRITICAL THAT THIS COMES ACROSS. THE OTHER POINT I WANT TO MAKE IS THAT I THINK WE TEND TO TALK A LOT ABOUT INNOVATION AS SOMETHING THAT HAS TO DO WITH TECHNOLOGY MAYBE EVEN HIGH-TECH AND NEW COMPANIES AND BIG TECH AND THINGS LIKE THAT. WHEREAS, IN FACT, REALLY WHAT HAPPENS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT WAY TO THINK ABOUT INNOVATION IS THIS IS SOMETHING THAT ALL FIRMS SHOULD BE DOING AND CAN BE DOING. SO THIS DOESN'T JUST HAPPEN IN BIG CITIES. IT DOESN'T JUST HAPPEN IN SILICON VALLEY. IT HAPPENS IN PLACES LIKE NORTH BAY AND, FOR EXAMPLE, IN THE MINING TECHNOLOGY SECTOR WHICH IS -- OF WHICH NORTH BAY IS A MAJOR IMPORTANT SECTOR. THERE IS LOTS OF INNOVATION HERE IN COMPANIES THAT YOU WOULDN'T TRADITIONALLY THINK ABOUT INNOVATION COMPANIES. THE SAME IS TRUE IN HAMILTON AND THE STEEL INDUSTRY AND TRADITIONAL INDUSTRIES. INNOVATION IS SOMETHING THAT HAS TO HAPPEN EVERYWHERE IF WE'RE GOING TO CONTINUE TO IMPROVE OUR PROSPERITY.

Steve says, LET ME -- I SUSPECT WHAT I AM ABOUT TO READ WILL BE LIKE WAVING A RED FLAG IN FRONT OF A BULL HERE BUT I WILL READ SOMETHING THAT'S IN YOUR FACE FROM TOBIAS LUDKE, THE GERMAN BORN CANADIAN BILLIONAIRE, FOUNDER AND CEO OF SHOPIFY. HERE IS WHAT HE SAID ABOUT CANADA’S CULTURE OF COMPETITIVENESS AND WHAT WE'VE BEEN TALKING ABOUT THIS EVENING.

Text appears.

Steve reads: IT IS JUST AN UNFORTUNATE TRUTH THAT CANADA IS AT-BEST, A GO FOR BRONZE SOCIETY. JUST IN TERMS OF ITS AMBITIOUSNESS. THIS IS WHY THESE AMAZING COMPANIES ARE BEING CREATED AND THEN SELL WAY TOO EARLY, USUALLY TO AMERICAN INVESTORS. I WANT TO FIND THE BEST CANADIANS I CAN AND TELL EVERYONE WE ARE ALLOWED TO GO FOR GOLD. TRY TO BUILD A WORLD-BEATING COMPANY.

Steve says, I'D LIKE TO KNOW, LEAH, WHY DON'T YOU START US OFF WITH THIS. IS HE RIGHT THAT – WE CERTAINLY DON'T HAVE IT IN THE OLYMPICS ANYMORE. WE HAVE AN OWN THE PODIUM APPROACH IN THE OLYMPICS. BUT WHEN IT COMES TO INNOVATION ARE WE STILL A GO FOR BRONZE NATION?

Leah says, I DON'T KNOW WHO IS A GO FOR BRONZE NATION. THE ENTREPRENEURS I WORK WITH EVERY DAY WANT TO STAY HERE, WANT TO BUILD THEIR COMPANIES AND BUILD THEM TO SCALE. I THINK WE HAVE THE POTENTIAL TO BE A GO FOR GOLD. THE CHALLENGES THAT WE SIT AROUND TALKING ABOUT THIS LIKE IT'S ESOTERIC, THAT WE DON’T HAVE ANY GOOD EXAMPLES OF COMPANIES THAT COULD SCALE. I THINK THEY COULD. AND WE DO, THEY JUST DON’T GET THE LIMELIGHT. THEY DON'T HAVE THE LOBBYING MIGHT, THEY DON'T HAVE AGENCY TO USE THE TECHNICAL TERM. BUT AND SO HOW DO YOU UNDERSTAND HOW THOSE COMPANIES ARE, HOW DO YOU RAISE THEM UP? I CAN SEE COMPANIES IN REGENERATIVE AG, IN WATER, IN DIGITALLY ENABLED CLEAN TECH AS WE APPLY A.I. TO SUPER ENERGY EFFICIENCY TO MINING, FOR EXAMPLE. YOU KNOW, THESE ARE ALL THINGS THAT I THINK CANADA CAN LEAD IN GLOBALLY AND I THINK IT'S A QUESTION OF HOW DO WE DECIDE TO SUPPORT THOSE GO FOR GOLD COMPANIES AND HOW DO WE, YOU KNOW, REALLY IDENTIFY THEM AND HELP PUT THE RIGHT SUPPORTS AROUND THEM? AND I THINK THAT'S SOMETHING THAT DAN REALLY SPEAKS TO IS WE HAVEN'T THOUGHT ABOUT IT GETTING TO SCALE. WE HAVEN'T THOUGHT ABOUT THE FACT THAT WE NEED TO HAVE THOUSANDS OF DEPLOYMENTS OF TECHNOLOGIES OR PRODUCTS TO BE ABLE TO THEN GET INTO THE OTHER STAGES OF INNOVATION. BY FOCUSING ON NOVELTY AND SINGLE ENTREPRENEURS AND V.C.-BACKED WE MISS THIS WHOLE UNDERSTANDING OF WHAT GO FOR GOLD REALLY MEANS.

Steve asks, HUDA, CAN I GET YOUR VIEW ON THAT? DO YOU THINK YOU ARE PART OF A GO FOR BRONZE ECOSYSTEM?

Huda says, JUST FOR A RECORD I DON'T AGREE WITH MOST OF WHAT TILDE SAYS BUT THIS ONE I DO AGREE WITH HIM ON. I DO THINK THERE IS A CULTURE OF MEDICOCRITY IN CANADA AND IN THE INNOVATION ECOSYSTEM IN GENERAL -- I FIND IT VERY FUNNY THAT HE IS SAYING THIS BECAUSE WHEN THEY LISTED THEY PICKED LIKE ALL AMERICAN BANKERS SO I THINK IT'S A LITTLE CONTRADICTORY THAT HE IS SAYING THIS. I DO THINK CANADA -- YEAH, HAS A CULTURE OF MEDIOCRITY FOR SURE. AND THE COMPANIES HAVE TO FIGHT UPHILL BATTLES IN ORDER TO BECOME THOSE – DOT HEALTH HAS GLOBAL ASPIRATIONS FOR SURE. WE DO BELIEVE WE’LL BE HEADQUARTERED IN CANADA AND BUILD FOR THE REST OF THE WORLD. THERE’S LOTS OF COMPANIES THAT DO THAT. BUT IT IS A LOT MORE DIFFICULT THAN IF YOU ARE SURROUNDED BY A MIND SET OF WINNING AT ALL COSTS. AGAIN THAT COMES WITH ITS OWN SET OF PROBLEMS. BUT THERE'S DEFINITELY THIS CULTURE OF MEDIOCRITY THAT I HAVE EXPERIENCED HERE.

Steve says, TY, MAYBE YOU COULD FOLLOW UP ON THAT. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT'S BEEN REFERENCED ALREADY IN OUR CONVERSATION, ONE OF THE THINGS WE HEAR ABOUT CANADA THAT MAKES IT SUCH A DIFFICULT PLACE TO GO FOR GOLD IS THAT WE CAN'T SCALE UP THE WAY THAT OTHERS IN OTHER COUNTRIES CAN. WHY IS THAT?

Ty says, SO WE CAN SCALE UP THE WAY ENTREPRENEURS IN OTHER COUNTRIES CAN. IT'S NOT A MATTER OF CAN OR CAN'T YOU. WE ABSOLUTELY CAN. BUT IT'S MORE DIFFICULT. I THINK, YOU KNOW, THE REALITY OF THE POLICY LEVEL THAT WE TOUCHED ON THIS A LITTLE WHILE AGO IS THE BATTLE 10, 15 YEARS AGO IS HOW DO WE MOVE IDEAS OUT OF THE RESEARCH BENCH INTO START-UPS? AND WHILE IT'S NOT PERFECT YET WE CAN DO THAT. TODAY'S BATTLE IS YOU KNOW, HOW DO WE SCALE THESE QUALITY COMPANIES. HOW DO WE LEAD THEM AND FINANCE THEM, HOW DO WE MARKET AND SELL THEM. WE CAN ABSOLUTELY DO THAT. BUT A LOT OF PEOPLE AT A POLICY LEVEL ARE FIGHTING, JUST LIKE A GENERAL FIGHTS THE LAST BATTLE. THEY’RE THINKING ABOUT HOW DO WE CREATE START-UPS. STARTUPS ARE A NECESSARY PART OF THE ECOSYSTEM BUT ONLY A FIRST STEP. TODAY IS ALL ABOUT SCALING. WHAT WE NEED TO DO IS THINK ABOUT HOW DO WE FUND THESE COMPANIES ARE CANADIAN CAPITAL, HOW DO WE CONNECT THESE COMPANIES WITH DEMAND OUT OF CANADIAN
ENTERPRISES. THE WHOLE ISSUE OF YOU SHOULD GO TO THE U.S. THAT'S LARGELY DRIVEN BECAUSE YOU HAVE EARLY ADOPTERS. WHY AREN'T WE NOT ONLY FINANCING THESE COMPANIES BUT ACQUIRING PRODUCTS. IT IS THIS HOLISTIC ISSUE. WE ABSOLUTELY CAN, WE'RE STARTING TO SEE IT. BUT THE PROBLEM IS HOW DO WE GROW AND SCALE THEM? AND THAT'S WHAT WE NEED TO TURN OUR COLLECTIVE ENERGIES TOWARD TODAY.

Steve says, GRAEME MAYBE YOU COULD GIVE US A SENSE OF HOW DIFFICULT YOU HAVE FOUND IT GOING FROM IDEA TO START-UP TO SCALE UP.

Graeme says, WELL, I MEAN I WOULDN'T SAY THAT OUR COMPANY IS A SCALE UP YET. WE'RE STILL IN THE START-UP PHASE. BUT THERE ARE SOME SIGNIFICANT CHALLENGES. WE ENCOUNTER MANY OF THE SAME CHALLENGES THAT HUDA FACES IN ACCESSING CUSTOMERS WITHIN, SAY, FOR EXAMPLE, THE HEALTH CARE SYSTEM. SO, YOU KNOW, TO BRING THINGS FULL CIRCLE BACK TO MY COMMENT ABOUT THE TURNOVER IN CANADIAN COMPANIES, ONE OF THE CHALLENGES I THINK THAT WE FACE, CANADIANS TEND TO THINK OF COMPETITION POLICY AS BRINGING PRICES DOWN OR INTRODUCING MORE SELLERS INTO THE MARKET. BUT ANOTHER PROBLEM WE FACE IS THE MONOSTOMY PROBLEM IN CANADA. IF YOU ARE TRYING TO SELL A PRODUCT OR SERVICE, IF YOU ARE A SMALL COMPANY TRYING TO SELL UP AND TRYING TO SELL INTO ENTERPRISE OR GOVERNMENT THERE JUST AREN'T THAT MANY BUYERS OUT THERE AND THERE'S NOT A LOT OF COMPETITION AMONG PURCHASERS. IF WE'RE GOING TO GET BETTER AT THIS, ONE OF THE THINGS WE'RE GOING TO HAVE TO DO IS HAVE MORE
COMPETITION AMONG PURCHASERS. WE HAVE TO GIVE THE BIGGEST COMPANIES IN CANADA REASONS TO INVEST IN INNOVATION AND TO BUY, PURCHASE AND SOURCE INNOVATIVE
PRODUCTS AND SOLUTIONS SO THAT THEY CAN COMPETE. AND IN ORDER FOR THEM TO WANT TO COMPETE THERE HAS TO BE SOME COMPETITION. I THINK WE HAVE TO THINK ABOUT POLICY BROADLY IF WE'RE GOING TO CHANGE THINGS, IF WE'RE GOING TO IMPROVE THINGS HOW DO WE MAKE CANADA MORE COMPETITIVE NOT JUST AT THE INNOVATION LEVEL, NOT JUST AT THE INVENTION AND PRODUCT DEVELOPMENT LEVEL BUT HOW DO WE MAKE OUR ECONOMY MORE COMPETITIVE TO BE ABLE TO SELL INTO, FOR EXAMPLE, HEALTH CARE OR TELECOM OR MEDIA OR SO ON.

The caption changes to read: Capital Problems

Steve says, LEAH, HOW MUCH OF THIS PROBLEM THAT WE HAVE HERE IS THE FACT THAT WE JUST HAVE A TINY FRACTION OF WHAT THEY'VE GOT IN THE UNITED STATES AS IT RELATES TO VENTURE CAPITALISTS?

Leah says, I DON'T THINK THAT'S THE KEY ISSUE. I THINK WE COULD REALLY LEARN FROM WHAT WE JUST SAW IN TERMS OF VACCINE DELIVERY AND THE PANDEMIC. SO YOU SAW SOME RELATIVELY SMALL COMPANIES PARTNERING WITH LARGE GLOBAL MANUFACTURERS AND, YOU KNOW, WHO HAVE DISTRIBUTED SUPPLY CHAINS AROUND THE WORLD AND THEY WERE ABLE TO COMMERCIALIZE IDEAS AND PRODUCTS VERY QUICKLY. AND SO I THINK THAT FIRST OF ALL SPEAKS TO YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE A BIG CONSUMING NATION WITH HUGE INDIGENOUS DEMANDS TO BE ABLE TO GROW INTERESTING COMPANIES AND HAVE THEM BE WORLD LEADERS. YOU CAN ACTUALLY THINK ABOUT -- AND I THINK DAN TALKS ABOUT THIS IN HIS BOOK HOW YOU SPECIALIZE IN KEY AREAS OF COMPETITIVE ADVANTAGE. THAT’S ONE THING. I DON'T THINK WE'VE GOTTEN OUR HEADS AROUND IN CANADA AND CERTAINLY FOCUSING ALL THE DISCUSSION ON START-UPS WITHOUT MAPPING THAT BROADER ECOSYSTEM AND WHO THE KEY PARTNERS MIGHT BE TO GET TO SCALE THAT THEY COULD PARTNER WITH ACROSS THE COUNTRY WOULD BE A FIRST STEP. AND THAT WOULD INCLUDE BOTH FINANCING -- NOT JUST VENTURE BACK FINANCING ALTHOUGH THERE
ARE FIRMS IN CANADA THAT ARE LARGER AND CREATING VENTURE FUNDS BUT OTHER KINDS OF FINANCING. OTHER KINDS OF KNOW HOW, TALENT AND SKILLS THAT ALLOW FOR THE COMMERCIALIZATION OF A PRODUCT OR SERVICE ON A GLOBAL SCALE. I MEAN I THINK ONE OF THE CHALLENGES THAT A START-UP HAS IS THAT IT JUST DOESN'T HAVE THAT GLOBAL KNOWLEDGE AND KNOW HOW. AND SO IT TAKES SOMETIMES 8 TO 12 YEARS TO REALLY UNDERSTAND HOW TO HONE A PRODUCT AND THEN FIGURE OUT HOW TO GET IT TO THE SUPPLY CHAIN. THESE ARE COMPLEX, COMPLEX THINGS. THIS IS THE KIND OF PERSPECTIVE WE NEED TO BRING TO BEAR. WE NEED TO BROADEN THE DISCUSSION BEYOND VENTURE CAPITAL.
WE ARE AWASH IN CAPITAL PROBABLY FOR OUR COMPANIES IN NORTH AMERICA AND THE QUESTION BECOMES, WHAT ARE THE OTHER BARRIERS TO GET THEM TO SCALE.

Steve says, TY, GIVEN THAT YOUR NAME IS MCMASTER INNOVATION PARK YOU SEEM THE RIGHT PERSON TO ASK, HOW IMPORTANT ARE UNIVERSITIES IN WHAT WE'RE TALKING ABOUT TONIGHT?

Ty says, I THINK THEY'RE A CRITICAL PART OF THE OVERALL ECOSYSTEM. I THINK WE HAVE TO UNDERSTAND THAT UNIVERSITIES ARE REALLY GOOD AT EDUCATION, RESEARCH AND DISCOVERY. WHAT THEY'RE NOT NECESSARILY GOOD AT IS BRINGING THOSE PRODUCTS OR PRODUCTIZING THOSE TECHNOLOGIES OR, YOU KNOW, CREATING START-UPS. BUT THE PEOPLE WITHIN THE UNIVERSITIES COULD BE. SO I THINK WE HAVE TO THINK OF THE UNIVERSITIES AS A HUGE ASSET BUT THEY'RE ON THE INVENTION SIDE OF THE EQUATION. HOW DO WE PARTNER WITH UNIVERSITIES OR CONNECT WITH INDUSTRIES THAT ARE IN NEED OF NEW TECHNOLOGIES, LEADERSHIP AND PROCESSES, HOW DO WE TAKE ADVANTAGE OF IT.
RIGHT NOW UNIVERSITIES SIT IN ONE AREA AND INDUSTRY SITS IN THE OTHER. WE NEED TO CONNECT THOSE TWO THINGS WHICH WILL FUEL THE GROWTH OF THE INDIVIDUAL VENTURES. BUT THEY'RE CONNECTED NOT HOW DO THEY PLAY INDIVIDUALLY.

Steve says, OKAY. LET'S TRY TO BETTER UNDERSTAND THE ROLE THAT GOVERNMENT PLAYS IN ALL OF THIS. HUDA I WANT TO GO TO YOU FIRST ON THIS. DO I HAVE THIS RIGHT THAT ONCE UPON A TIME WERE YOU AN ADVISOR TO THE MINISTRY OF INNOVATION, SCIENCE AND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT?

The caption reads: A Role for Government?

Huda says, THAT'S RIGHT, FOR YEARS, ACTUALLY.

Steve says, OKAY. WHAT DID YOU LEARN FROM THAT EXPERIENCE THAT'S USEFUL TO YOU NOW?

Huda says, NOT A TON, IF I'M BEING VERY HONEST. I THINK -- AND THIS IS SPECIFICALLY BECAUSE I'M IN HEALTH CARE. AND HEALTH CARE IS PARTICULARLY A PROVINCIAL MATTER WHEN IT COMES TO CANADA AS A BUDGET LINE ITEM. ALL THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT REALLY DOES IS DOES A TRANSFER PAYMENT AGREEMENT AND THAT'S KIND OF IT. AND, YEAH, I THINK LARGELY IT WAS JUST GOOD FOR ME TO UNDERSTAND HOW MANY LAYERS ARE ATTACHED TO EACH OF THESE THINGS. WE DID PUSH A LOT AND, YOU KNOW, AND A REPORT IS AVAILABLE FOR ANYONE TO LOOK AT. WE WERE CALLED THE 8TH BEST TABLE. WHICH IS AT ECONOMIC STRATEGY TABLES PART OF THE ISO PORTFOLIO. AND A LOT OF WHAT WE TALKED ABOUT IS WHAT THIS PANEL IS TALKING ABOUT RIGHT NOW: HOW DO WE MAKE SURE THERE IS MORE CAPITAL COMING INTO CANADIAN COMPANIES, WHO DO WE SCALE UP COMPANIES, HOW DO WE MAKE SURE WE KEEP I.T. IN CANADA. AND A LOT OF IT, A LOT OF THE ADVICE BACK TO THE GOVERNMENT WAS YOU NEED TO SHIFT POLICY AROUND THIS AND BE BUYING FROM CANADIAN COMPANIES. THE FRUSTRATING PART IS THE GOVERNMENT CYCLED THROUGH SO QUICKLY AND THE FILES CHANGE HANDS FROM MINISTER TO MINISTER IT'S VERY DIFFICULT TO SEE ANY CONTINUITY ATTACHED TO IT YOU WILL GO BACK AND LOOK AT THIS REPORT AND SAY, YEAH, ALL OF THOSE THINGS ARE TRUE TODAY BECAUSE WE NEVER ACTIONED THEM. AND THIS KEEPS HAPPENING ESPECIALLY IN HEALTH CARE. WE HAVE INCREDIBLE PEOPLE LIKE DAVID TAYLOR WHO TALKS ABOUT HOW TO SCALE UP HEALTH CARE ACCESS ACROSS CANADA. THAT REPORT CAME OUT OVER A DECADE AGO AND WE HAVEN'T REALLY ACTIONED ANYTHING. WE'RE NOT SHORT OF IDEAS OR SHORT OF REPORTS. IT'S THAT WE NEED TO HAVE A PLAN IN PLACE AND THAT PLAN NEEDS TO BE LONGER THAN HOWEVER LONG THE CURRENT GOVERNMENT IS GOING TO STAY IN PLACE. IT NEEDS TO BE A LONG-TERM PLAN AND STRATEGY AND IT NEEDS TO BE NON-PARTISAN.

Steve says, IN WHICH CASE, GRAEME FOLLOW UP IF YOU WOULD. HOW IMPORTANT ARE FEDERAL GOVERNMENTS IN DEVELOPING THOSE NONPARTISAN PLANS THAT START NOW AND LAST FOR YEARS?

Graeme says, THEY'RE CRITICAL. BOTH LEVELS OF GOVERNMENT ARE CRITICAL AND THEY NEED TO WORK TOGETHER BETTER THAN THEY DO. SO I THINK WE'RE SEEING AT THE PROVINCIAL LEVEL WE'RE SEEING SOME REALLY CREATIVE THINGS HAPPENING. EVEN INTERPROVINCIAL LEVEL, FOR EXAMPLE, WE SAW ONTARIO, SASKATCHEWAN AND ALBERTA COMMITTING TO THE DEVELOPMENT OF SMALL MODULAR REACTORS WHICH ARE PROBABLY GOING TO BE HOPEFULLY A CRITICAL TECHNOLOGY IN THE ENERGY TRANSITION AND THESE ARE THE KINDS OF THINGS WHERE PROVINCES THAT CAN WORK TOGETHER, REGIONS CAN WORK TOGETHER. AND SPECIALIZE IN THE THINGS THAT THEY'RE BEST AT. TO DEVELOP NEW INDUSTRIES AND TO GROW THINGS. AT THE FEDERAL LEVEL I THINK IT'S A LITTLE LESS ENCOURAGING IN THE SENSE THAT WE DO SEE BUY IN. BUT EVERY FEW YEARS THERE'S SORT OF A MAGIC BULLET APPROACH WHERE PEOPLE WAKE UP AND THEY WANT TO DO SOMETHING INNOVATIVE OR SOME INNOVATION POLICY. THERE IS $1 BILLION OR A FEW BILLION DOLLARS ALLOCATED AND THEN IT'S EITHER -- NOT FORGOTTEN ABOUT BUT THE NEXT BIG THING COMES ALONG AND WE MOVE ON AND THEN TRY SOMETHING ELSE. ONE OF THE BIGGEST PROBLEMS IN INNOVATION POLICY AT THE AT THE FEDERAL AND PROVINCIAL LEVEL IS WE'RE NOT REALLY FOLLOWING OUTCOMES. WE NEED TO FOLLOW UP ON WHERE THE MONEY'S GONE, WHAT'S WORKING, WHAT'S NOT. WE HAVEN'T BEEN DOING THAT TO THE EXTENT I THINK WE SHOULD BE. ONE EXAMPLE OF A POLICY THAT EVERYONE AGREES DOESN'T REALLY PARTICULARLY DELIVER WHAT IT'S SUPPOSED TO, BUT STILL COSTS BILLIONS OF DOLLARS A YEAR IS THE R&D -- FEDERAL R&D TAX CREDITS. WE SEEM TO BE UNABLE TO REFORM THIS DESPITE THE FACT THAT IT'S NOT PRODUCING THE OUTCOMES THAT WE WANT IN THE FORM OF INCREASED R&D SPENDING. SO WE REALLY NEED TO LOOK HARD AT WHERE WE'RE SPENDING THE MONEY AND CONTINUE TO MEASURE THESE OUTPUTS.

Steve says, CAN YOU FOLLOW UP ON THAT--

Graeme says, -- AND INFORM AND REFORM.

Steve says, YEAH, GRAEME, FOLLOW-UP ON THAT. IF THIS TAX CREDIT IS NOT DOING WHAT IT'S SUPPOSED TO BE DOING, WHAT'S PREVENTING SOMEBODY IN THE NATION'S CAPITAL FROM TURNING IT INTO SOMETHING THAT WILL DO WHAT WE NEED TO DO?

Graeme says, UNFORTUNATELY IT SEEMS TO BE THE SAME THING THAT'S PREVENTING US FROM ACHIEVING A LOT OF INNOVATION OUTCOMES OR A LOT OF REFORMS TO OUR ECONOMY TO DRIVE INNOVATION -- THAT THERE ARE A LOT OF VESTED INTERESTS THAT HAVE A VERY STRONG INTEREST IN MAINTAINING THESE KINDS OF TAX CREDITS, IN MAINTAINING THIS REVENUE STREAM. SO IT TAKES A LOT OF COURAGE ON THE PART OF GOVERNMENT TO ATTACK WHAT IS ESSENTIALLY GUARANTEED REVENUE STREAM FOR A LOT OF COMPANY THAT IS ARE NOT NECESSARILY DOING THE KIND OF INNOVATIVE RESEARCH AND DEVELOPMENT THAT THIS PROGRAM IS DESIGNED TO ENCOURAGE. AND THERE'S NOT A BIG REWARD TO FIGHTING THAT FIGHT POLITICALLY. SO I THINK IT TAKES A LOT OF COURAGE. THIS MIGHT BE A SORT OF SECOND TERM OR NEAR THE END OF A TERM THING FOR GOVERNMENT TO TAKE ON: BUT WE HAVEN'T SEEN A LOT OF COURAGE ON ANY OF THESE MILES AND REFORMING SOME OF THE LESS SUCCESSFUL PROGRAMS AND WE NEED MORE OF THAT.

Steve says, LET ME THROW FORWARD ANOTHER IDEA HERE THAT MAY TAKE SOME COURAGE TO DO. LEAH LET ME GET YOU TO WEIGH IN ON THIS FIRST. IS THIS SOMETHING WE COULD INSIST ON? HERE'S THE SCENARIO: ALL INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY DEVELOPED WITH THE SUPPORT OF THE CANADIAN GOVERNMENT MUST BE HELD BY A CANADIAN ENTITY. AND IF THAT ENTITY WANTS TO SELL OFF TO A FOREIGN OR AMERICAN BUYER, LET'S SAY, THEY'VE GOT TO PAY BACK THE GOVERNMENT SUBSIDY THAT GOT THEM TO WHERE THEY ARE IN THE FIRST PLACE. COULD WE INSIST ON THAT?

Leah says, ACTUALLY, STEVE WE HAVE THAT POLICY ALREADY AT SUSTAINABLE TECHNOLOGY CANADA. A NUMBER OF YEARS AGO WE STARTED UNDERSTANDING SOME OF THE WORK THAT GRAEME AND DAN AND OTHERS ARE DOING AND SEEING THAT INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY IS REALLY ONE OF THE KEY PILLARS THAT NEEDS TO BE RESIDENT IN CANADA AND REMAIN IN CANADA. AND WE WERE ALSO SEEING THE EXITS OF COMPANIES AND IP BEING TRANSFERRED TO THE UNITED STATES. SO TODAY, IF YOU GET MONEY FROM SDTC IT DOES REQUIRE THAT IF YOU TAKE THAT INTELLECTUAL PROPERTY OUT OF CANADA THE FUNDS WE INVESTED WILL BE REPAID TO US. THERE ARE SOME LIMITS ON THAT BUT THAT IS THE KIND OF POLICY WE'RE EXECUTING AND I THINK IT'S IMPORTANT.

Steve asks, AND IT DOES HAPPEN? YOU HAVE THE POLICY IN PLACE AND IT DOES HAPPEN?

Leah says, WE HAVEN'T HAD TO ENFORCE IT YET, THAT'S A GOOD QUESTION. BUT WE WERE FOLLOWING ON THE RESEARCH AND AS DAN AND OTHERS HAVE SPOKEN ABOUT IT'S TO THE INNOVATION AUTHORITY. WE UNDERSTAND THEIR HISTORY AND THEN WE'VE BEEN ADAPTING TO SUIT HERE IN CANADA. THESE ARE THE KIND OF THINGS WE'RE DOING. WE ALSO LOOK AT HOW YOU FUND LONGER IN TERMS OF SCALE UP ACTIVITY IN TERMS OF THE COMPANIES THAT IS WE SEARCH -- SERVE. AND HOW TO BREAK DOWN THESE BARRIERS THESE ARE DAY IN AND DAY OUT UNSEXY THINGS THAT YOU NEED TO DO IF YOU ARE GOING TO CHANGE POLICY IN CANADA AND THAT’S THE FIRST STEP. I WOULD TOUCH ON ONE THING YOU ASKED EARLIER. ONE OF OUR CHALLENGES IS UNIVERSITIES AREN'T THE BE ALL AND END ALL OF INNOVATION POLICY IN THIS COUNTRY. I CAN THINK OF AN EXAMPLE OF AN ENTREPRENEUR THAT IS CURRENTLY IN SASKATOON, FIRST NATIONS GENTLEMAN, DEVELOPED NEW TOOLS THAT ARE BEING PILOTED IN CANADIAN TIRE. HOW DO WE CONNECT? AND I THINK DAN TALKS ABOUT THIS IN THE BOOK, HOW DO WE CONNECT INNOVATORS THAT MIGHT BE IN THE LOCAL COMMUNITY THAT DON'T NECESSARILY HAVE AN ASSOCIATION WITH LARGE UNIVERSITIES ACROSS THE COUNTRY WHO ALSO MIGHT HAVE GOOD INNOVATION IDEAS AND THAT IS REALLY THE TRUE BASIS OF AN INNOVATION NATION WHERE YOU'RE MOBILIZING EVERYBODY ON THAT JOURNEY.

All four guests are onscreen.

Steve says, GOT YOU. SHELDON KEEP THAT FOUR SHOT UP FOR A SECOND. I GOT 20 SECONDS LEFT. OUT OF THE FOUR OF YOU, HANDS UP, WHO IS BRIMMING WITH ENTHUSIASM AND OPTIMISM ABOUT CANADA'S INNOVATION PROSPECTS. SHOW OF HANDS, PLEASE.

Leah and Ty raise their hands.

Leah says, I AM. I THINK THERE'S POTENTIAL.

Steve says, OKAY. TWO OUT OF 4. TWO OUT OF 4. WE'VE GOTTA RECONVENE THIS PANEL DOWN THE ROAD AND SEE IF WE CAN GET FOUR OUT OF FOUR AND WHETHER IT MERITS A 4 OUT OF 4. I THANK LEAH, GRAEME, TY AND HUDA FOR JOINING US ON TVO FOR A MOST IMPORTANT AND TIMELY DISCUSSION ABOUT INNOVATION. THANKS SO MUCH, YOU FOUR.

All four guests say, THANK YOU.

The caption reads: Produced by: Wodek Szemberg @wodekszemberg


Watch: Will Canadians Learn How To Innovate?