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Opinion

Time for a more inclusive innovation economy

By Daniel Munro      

While innovation can generate substantial economic and social benefits, often those benefits are captured by a select few. When a small cohort captures a large share of benefits, others have fewer resources to pursue education, start and grow businesses, and contribute to innovation and economic growth as consumers. We do a poor job of providing opportunities and resources to all people to effectively contribute to innovation that can stimulate growth and address a range of health, environmental and social challenges.    

Canada’s first Inclusive Innovation Monitor will help to generate a better understanding of innovation and inclusive growth and provide insight into the relationships between different indicators of innovation, participation, and distribution. An innovation agenda that neglects inclusion, equity and empowerment is both unjust and unwise, writes Daniel Munro. Photograph courtesy of Pixabay

TORONTO—Canada performs below its innovation potential. We have exceptionally well-educated and creative people producing world-class research and a handful of innovative and growing firms making a mark on the world stage. Yet, innovation and commercialization across the economy more widely are lacklustre. Canadian firms continue to falter on business spending on research and development, technology adoption, and patent generation and protection. While previous analyses point to a range of structural, policy, and behavioural factors for Canada’s weak innovation performance, an overlooked explanation may be a persistent failure to adequately include, empower and reward a more diverse labour force of innovators and entrepreneurs.  

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