So, yesterday Federal Finance Minister Bill Morneau’s Advisory Council on Economic Growth released five (!) papers on innovation, skills, and a bunch of other things. I’m sure there’s a lot of ink on these in today’s papers, mainly around proposals to raise the retirement age (which we actually did two years ago, except the Trudeau government reversed it, but now evidence-based policy FTW, as the kids say). I’ll restrict myself to some brief thoughts about two areas in particular: innovation and skills
Unless you’ve been under a rock for the last twelve months, you’ll have noted that the Government of Canada has become enamoured of “innovation clusters” as a means of raising national productivity levels. What should we make of this?
For some annoying reason, the Liberals act as if cluster theory is something new rather than something which dates back to the mid-1980s (Michael Porter’s The Wealth of Nations gave the idea its first mass-market outing in 1990; six years later, Saskia … [ Read More ]
Yesterday, I described how the key sources of institutional prestige were beginning to shift away from pure research & publication towards research & collaboration with industry. Or, to put it another way, the kudos now come not from solely doing research, but rather in participating in the process of turning discoveries into meaningful and commercially viable products. Innovation, in other words (though that term is not unproblematic). But while we all have a pretty good grasp on the various ways … [ Read More ]
The currency of academia is prestige. Professors try to increase theirs by publishing better and better papers, giving talks at conferences and so on. Becoming more prestigious means offers to co-author with a more illustrious class of academics, increasing the chance of book deals at better university presses, etc. And at the institutional level, universities become more prestigious by being able to attract and nurture a more prestigious group of professors, something which is done by lavishing them with higher … [ Read More ]
We seem to be passing through a period of heavy stupidity with respect to “coding”. To wit:
On Wednesday our Minister of Innovation, Navdeep Bains, took the stage at the Public Policy Forum’s Growth Summit and mused about the importance of coding, why it should be taught in schools, and how it is “as important as reading and writing”. On Thursday , Melissa Sariffodeen, the co-founder and CEO of something called “Ladies Learning Code” managed to get an op-ed published in the … [ Read More ]