Canadian business's general failure to be productive and innovative is a long-standing problem - a problem that has produced countless studies over several decades now.
But Micheál Kelly, the Dean of the School of Business and Economics at Wilfrid Laurier University, says that the bulk of these studies bemoaning our lack of innovation, with their recommendations for doing things such as increasing private-sector investments in R&D, providing support for venture capital and investing in science and technology talent, are missing the point;
if we want more innovation, what we need to do is focus on management skills and knowledge (If only geniuses knew how to run a business, Financial Post).
Seventy-one percent of firms that fail fail because of poor management, he points out, and a number of studies have highlighted that technology startups in Canada suffer from deficient business and management skills particularly compared to U.S. companies.
Further, as "a key objective of a successful innovation policy is the growth of Canada's technology-based firms into global competitors... our relative failure to do this is seen as a key factor in our poor R&D and productivity performance."
So what do we have to do? Emphasize the development of business and entrepreneurial skills in our education system, says Micheál Kelly.
Granted, Mr. Kelly may have a vested interest here, but his argument is compelling. All the technical expertise in the world won't automatically make you a good business person.
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