Do the feds have an innovation strategy? CCI’s Ben Bergen isn’t so sure

Do the feds have an innovation strategy? CCI’s Ben Bergen isn’t so sure

Warning: listening to this podcast could be hazardous to your health while playing any “innovation policy” drinking games.

This week’s episode of the BetaKit Podcast continues our popular AMA series—where we convince a special guest to come on the show and stand before the firing squad of your submitted questions about Canadian tech or tech from a Canadian perspective. But it comes with a funky fresh theme thanks to our guest, Ben Bergen, president of the Council of Canadian Innovators (CCI): all innovation policy, all the time.

“I don’t necessarily know if the government understands what an innovation strategy is.”
– Ben Bergen, CCI

On this episode, we cover most of the big government innovation files—open banking, the newly-named Canada Innovation Corporation, the long-anticipated SR&ED review, and Bill C-27—with a few “branch plant economy” references thrown in for good measure. It might seem a familiar refrain, but there’s a reason for that: the federal government is behind on most every file.

Now, the reason why that is the case is a question we pose to Bergen, and like most of his answers on this episode, he comes out swinging.

“The government knows how to give out money, the government knows how to do announcements.” Bergen says. “But does the government understand how to get to Maslow’s higher pyramid of actual innovation policy? And I don’t know, because we’ve just have really seen them struggle to get beyond some of these beginning steps.”

Is Bergen running to become Canada’s next Minister of Industry? No, but I’m sure he’d be happy with some sort of Grand Marshal role, directing all the relevant stakeholders towards coherent and impactful innovation policy.

Oops. I just said those words again. Everybody drink.

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The BetaKit Podcast is hosted by Douglas Soltys & Rob Kenedi. Edited by Kattie Laur. Feature image courtesy Flickr. Sponsored by Goodlawyer.

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