The future is not destiny: CEO perspectives on realizing Ontario’s potential

Released September 2017

In Working Paper 30, The future is not destiny: CEO perspectives on realizing Ontario’s potential, the project team (Institute and Boston Consulting Group) present findings from 33 interviews with CEOs and Futurists (those who spend the majority of their role thinking about trends of the future, particularly around technology). Leaders came from seven clusters: Construction, Financial Services (including insurance), Health, ICT, Manufacturing, Marketing, Design and Publishing, and Other.

The project team wanted to understand how well-positioned Ontario is and determine how the province can seize the promise of a better economic future. Leaders were asked to rate nine elements of competitiveness, spanning talent, innovation, government policy, and culture to determine the strengths the province could leverage.

Main Findings

  • Regardless of whether the CEOs and Futurists believe the province can maintain its past levels of economic growth, leaders called for Ontario to change in order to realize its potential.
  • Talent is considered to be the province’s greatest element of competitiveness, but there are niche areas of unmet needs.
  • Risk-taking culture was the most divisive topic discussed with the CEOs and Futurists but only a small minority believe that the province has a risk-taking culture.

The CEOs and Futurists also identified a number of ways to move the dial on the nine elements of competitiveness as well as five Big Ideas to move the province forward.

Five Big Ideas to optimize Ontario’s future

  • Embracing disruption: Investing in technologies with disruptive potential
  • Marketing to the world: Canada’s value proposition
  • Adopting lifelong education: Training current and future workers
  • Taking risks: Capturing the full value of technological innovation
  • The 100: Wooing talent to Canada

The Institute would like to thank the Boston Consulting Group for their partnership on this Working Paper and all of the leaders who took time to speak with the project team. 

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