Toronto, Canada

The ‘innovation agenda’ isn’t just tech – it’s also social

Just like Norway, Canada is moving from a resource-based economy to one based on knowledge, creativity, sustainability and social responsibility. Both countries are full of vibrant entrepreneurs, creating meaningful work, new innovations and building the economy of the future. Entrepreneurs and innovators are our greatest “natural” resources – up for the challenge of creating jobs and growing our economies. Creating the environment and culture for innovation to flourish will, in both countries, require collaboration among entrepreneurs, organizations, institutions and governments.

By Pål T. Næss, Innovation Norway Canada. With courtesy of The Globe and Mail, this blog was inspired by and partly copied from a blog written by Tonya Surma, co-founder and CEO of the Centre for Social Innovation, and Victoria Lennox, co-founder and CEO of Startup Canada

Canada’s unique differentiator, as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau himself has said, is that “they care.” The country makes a commitment to building an economy driven by entrepreneurs who are creating innovative health solutions, facing the challenges of social cohesion, finding solutions to poverty, climate change and sustainability. The population is diverse, smart, productive and capable of balancing social and economic imperatives. They are the best in the world at figuring out how to work together and collaborate.

Toronto, Canada

Norway and Canada can contribute in positioning our countries as economies that care. (Foto: Hamza Ullah / Unsplash)

Norway is getting more diverse, and faces the same social, environmental and economic challenges as Canada. We like to believe Norwegians also “care”, that they are as smart, as productive and as good balancing social and economic imperatives. Innovation Norway Canada is therefore launching an initiative where social innovators from Norway and Canada start working closer together, challenging and learning from each other.

Meaningful work a goal

The goal for entrepreneurs should not be just to create jobs, but to create meaningful work for people from every background, age and ethnicity. They should not create just any economy, but an economy that cares for one another – that puts people and planet first, while remaining fiercely competitive. They should not want just any innovation, but innovations that are solving real problems that unlock a higher quality of life for all.

Many entrepreneurs will grow the economy and scale as large, globally oriented, job-creating anchor companies. But many will not. Instead, they will build small, community-based, locally relevant businesses that meet real needs in real communities. Together, they will weave together a resilient, agile and robust economy that includes, engages, solves and serves.

Norway and Canada can contribute in creating the enabling environment and incentives that will position our countries as economies that care. What an amazing and unique value proposition for a close cooperation.


Foto: Unsplash / Hamza Ullah

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