Canada’s low rank in innovation – a culture of mediocrity
Posted by E on July 12, 2007
Last month an international study reported that when it comes to creativity and innovation, Canada ranks abysmally low when compared to other industrial nations.
When chalked up against 17 other countries, Canada ranked highest in complacency. Promptly upon the distribution of the findings, released by the think-tank Conference Board of Canada, waves were made and a lot of people began clucking and shaking their heads.
“This country is doing dismally in the critically important area of innovation,” wrote Anne Golden, board president of the Conference Board of Canada. “And the implications of that failure . . . show up in the absence of creative policy and investment decisions across all the other domains.”
Although doing fairly well in the arenas of education and health care, when it came to the area of innovation, Canada scored 14th out of 17, behind the US and most countries in Western Europe.
“Canada’s scientists don’t keep up with their global peers in the number of articles published, and its inventors don’t keep up in the number of patents, the report shows. For its competitive advantage, it relies on natural resources, and adds little value to goods or services. Canada has a shortage of skilled labour and graduates a low share of science, engineering and trades experts.
The country doesn’t take advantage of high technology, or keep up in the commercialization of knowledge.
“Canadians are complacent and generally unwilling to take risks,” the report points out. “This culture holds Canada back.”
Hmmm, why does this sound so familiar? Could it be because I’ve been saying this for years?
Canada’s deplorable lack of innovation is nowhere more visible than in the Arts field. There is such resistance to anything new, fresh, and vibrant.
In literature today, if one can even call it that, there are very few noticeable talents. Most writers will not get published unless they copy the old style of the same snub-nosed literati who can be discerned by their penchant to stop by the Governor General’s residence for a mid-afternoon tea and a spot of ditty.
Innovation is not only unrecognized in the Arts, it is punished. The only rewards come from being rewarded for staying well within the ranks of a mediocre culture that doesn’t even recognize it has no culture anymore. It hasn’t for a long, long time.
For an in-depth analysis of this topic, please see my previous posts: Integrity vs. Literary Prizes, and Impending Downfall of the inbred Canadian literary world.