In a nation of innovators, it’s time to foster a culture of innovation

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By David Johnston Contributed to Globe and Mail, May 19, 2016

Are we, or aren’t we? Innovators, that is. Depending on who you ask or where you look, you’ll get a different answer.

Those who say, “Yes, Canada is a nation of innovators,” will point to the wealth of social, political, technological and economic innovations pioneered by the people of this vast, challenging land. Think of the tepee, the telephone, the electronic synthesizer, Imax film, the snowmobile, instant replay, the Yukon gold potato, the prosthetic hand, medical insulin, the cardiac pacemaker, the kayak, the Canadarm.

Those who say, “No, Canada is not a nation of innovators,” will point to our ranking among our peers – for example, Canada’s current 16th-place standing in the World Economic Forum’s global innovation rankings or our 22nd-place finish when it comes to private-sector innovation capacity.

So which is it? Are we innovative, or aren’t we?

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