Sunday, February 28, 2016

The Slow and Stubborn March Away From Tech Transfer

As a specific, tech transfer might as well be generic. Take local inspiration and zap it with the magic of Zeus. Unicorns bound forth and the region prospers as the next Silicon Valley. The tech transfer puzzle is a bit more interesting than that, but not much. A tech transfer office at a university is supposed to be Zeus. Instead of lightening bolts, the world hears farts and the startups stink.

In the wake of the oil bust, Canada has this unicorn lust. Nationalists want the massive valuation. Big egos measure innovation in this way. Zero-sum aspiration:

We need to compete by generating wealth from Canadian ideas and commercializing them globally—from Canada...That starts with a proper innovation strategy, something we haven’t had in 40 years.

The sovereignty of ideas is a losing proposition. Measure Canada by within borders, the map looks unimpressive. Measure Canada abroad, an artificial intelligence powerhouse revealed.

The world isn't waiting for your AI startup. The world is desperate for your AI knowledge and talent. Canada does very well on that score.

But Canada doesn't have a clue how to leverage that AI knowledge and talent because the country spent a decade drunk on China's commodities binge. As resource curses go, yesterday was too late.

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