Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Human Ingenuity as Metric of Innovation

Statscan recently published a report that indicates that the potential for innovation in Canada is just as strong as in the United States; the report release was picked up by the Globe and Mail. The study gauges innovation capabilities based on employment data, particularly employment in science and technology-based occupation (as measured by scientists and engineers).

While I believe that talent is a key driver of innovation, I am concerned that simply counting the percentage of engineers in a region is not a sufficient indicator of drive toward innovativeness. While technological invention is mostly created by engineers and scientists, if there is insufficient managerial talent to drive the innovations to market, then the areas may remain stagnant (or technologies may be acquired by companies in other regions that do have the managerial talent - and funds - to commercialize inventions).

This makes me curious: what percentage of the technologies developed and seemingly originating in Silicon Valley were actually spawned in other regions of the world and licensed for development (or relocated) to the Valley?

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