Former BlackBerry CEO and current Chair of the Council of Canadian of Innovators Jim Balsillie claims that overall, Canada could be a better innovator.
The Canadian Council of Innovators aims to help shape public policy to help Canadian companies scale globally. Balsillie told Canadian Business that federal policy-makers don’t understand that competition in the tech space is “fundamentally different from how it’s done in traditional industries.”
Balsille says making Canadian companies more competitive starts with broadening and blurring the definition of innovation. Innovation, according to Balsillie, is defined as the commercial sale of ideas. In addition, he claims that Canada’s policy community “has not updated its thinking for the 21st century.”
He believes that the government’s job is to create the infrastructure and then get out of the way and let the innovators do their jobs. Despite these fallbacks, Balsillie states that Canada has a tremendous crop of entrepreneurs and open minded elected officials.
Balsillie led BlackBerry to its revenue peak of $19.9 billion before stepping down in 2012. While he’s been laying low up to this point, his new challenge as Chair of the Council of Canadian Innovators is to get the law and the ecosystem to speak to each other.