Today’s innovation, tomorrow’s prosperity

Released November 2010

In Today’s innovation, tomorrow’s prosperity, the Task Force reports that Ontario’s GDP per capita trailed the median of the 16 North American jurisdictions by $6,900 or 13.5 percent in 2009, up from the 2008 gap of $5,900 in constant dollars (2009). The Report identifies its lower productivity as the key challenge for Ontario in closing this prosperity gap. “Ontarians are among the leaders in developed economies in work effort, hours worked per person, but we are laggards in creating economic value per hour worked,” said Roger Martin, Chairman of the Task Force. “This comes from a poor innovation record. For a variety of reasons, we are not leading the world in creating innovative products, services, and processes in our businesses and workplaces.”

The Task Force applauds recent provincial tax policy changes, including the introduction of the HST, as an important initiative that will stimulate business investment. It is also encouraged by the current trade negotiations with the European Union and recommends that more trade deals be negotiated with China and other emerging economies.

The Report concludes that businesses need to step up their investments in technology – from R&D to patents to adapting existing technology to their businesses. Equally important is the ongoing need to develop stronger management capabilities in our businesses. The research shows that Ontario’s management capabilities are among the world’s best, but there is still room for improvement.

The Task Force recommends that governments improve their innovation polices by shifting their efforts from new-to-the-world inventions to relevant-to-the market innovations. The Report shows how important business-led innovation in product design, service improvements, and processes have propelled our most successful companies to global leadership.

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Topics: Economic policy, growth, and strategy, Government investment and innovation, Business growth and innovation, Clusters, Social policy