More Affordable Internet to Increase Canadian Market
In various economic sectors, Canada resembles the United States. Like the United States, it adopted the market oriented economic system as well as the similar pattern of production. Canada had been economically successful that it had quite a high living standard. Its impressive economic growth had started since the end of World War II as a result of healthy growth in mining, service, and manufacturing sectors.
However, today Canada is experiencing economic hardship. The drop in oil price back in 2008 -2009 has caused a global financial crisis, and Canada is no exception. Canada is highly dependent on the oil and gas sector. For this reason, the country is forecasted to be experiencing a massive lost of almost 40% in its revenue in 2015. In addition, the currency has been experiencing the worst fall since 2009 with passing $ 1.30 per US. Dollar as the Bank of Canada is predicted to perform another interest rates cut. (Nguyen, Lananh. 2015)
Drastic measure should be taken in order to help the country to recover from the economic problems, and innovation is the right answer to the problem. This paper will discuss about innovation, innovations in Canada, successful innovating countries, and the innovations in internet regulation as well as diversification of market should be considered in order to improve the current economic condition in Canada.
Providing fast and affordable internet connection in Canada have become one of the largest issues that the country should be able to solve. “Canada ranks 53rd in the world and below the global average of 7.6 Mbps, according to the Net Index from Montana-based speed-testing firm Ookla.” (Nowak, Peter. 2014). With the growing importance of internet for all sectors of live, especially in handling the current economy situation, the innovation on the field is urgent. In addition to that, trading with more countries would certainly provide the necessary income for Canada.
There are numerous ways to define innovation, and this understanding is necessary before coming to the discussion on the beneficial innovations for Canada. In its basic principal, innovation can be defined as the translation process of conversing plans and ideas into valuable practical usefulness. Innovation refers more to the numerous changes occurring in a short period of time, than to a single inspiration. The main point of innovation is that, despite the possible lack of tangibility, it must be able to solve problems. Another criterion of innovation according to Philip Herzog would be the presence of commercial exploitation of the idea itself (2011). He also added that “the process of innovation refers to the temporal sequence of events that occur as people interact with others to develop and implement their innovation ideas within an institutional context.” (P. 9). Innovation is often being related with “newness.” However, “Someone may have known about an innovation for some time but not yet developed a favorable or unfavorable attitude toward it, nor have adopted or rejected it.” (Rogers, Everett. M. 2003. P. 12). Thus, an idea could be considered innovative even though it is not completely new.
All organizations, regardless the size, need to survive and thrive. Thus, they need innovation to keep up with the constant change of the world. In The Ten Faces of Innovations, Kelley and Littman agree to an excerpt from The Economist, “Innovation is now recognized as the single most important ingredient in any modern economy.” (2006). A country, in its essence, is an organization. It is larger and more complex than most of the organizations as it involve more sectors, but it is still a form of organization. In this understanding, Canada also needs innovations to solve the issues at hand.
Brands like Nokia and Kodak were once the leader on their own fields. Nokia was even once selected as one of the most innovative brand as it provided their customers with choices of cellular phone casings and appearances. In addition to that, it was also one of the first brands to incorporate fun into cellular phones by providing games. However, its innovation seemed to come to a halt that it was not able to keep up with the growing demands of customers. Today, it fell so low in the market share that it was not able to make profits. Similarly, Kodak missed its opportunity to keep up with the innovation of the digital world. After decades of decline, finally the company had to file for bankruptcy.
Governments all over the globe have started to realize the importance of innovations. An example can be found in the UK government that provides incentives to foster the growth of innovations (UK Trade & Investment. 2015). Canada seems to agree with the UK government. Since February 1997, the Government of Canada had founded the Canada Foundation for Innovations in order to manage the world-class research and technology development which could be beneficial for the people in Canada (Canada Foundation for Innovation. 2015). Such incentives also aim to create more jobs and to increase the market share. People are more accustomed to innovations nowadays, that without innovations, a country would lose its market share.
The history of Canada has shown that innovations are not new to the country. It is one of the world leading countries in innovations that it can generate over 4 percent of global knowledge although it only has 5 percent of the total world population and since 2006, it also has over $9 billion in support for various innovative firms (The Canadian Trade Commissioner Service.2015). In addition to that, the government also expands the market by singing no less than 43 free trade agreements, making the country one of the freest countries in the world. The agreements have been able to contribute about two third of its GDP. It was the 1989 free trade agreement between the United States and Canada and the 1994 NAFTA (North American Free Trade Agreement) which have boosted Canada trade. Without these agreements, Canada would not be enjoying the economic growth that they have been enjoying for years.
However, in only a few years, the country has transformed from one of the world’s most economically developed into one of the worlds’ most vulnerable. Many have predicted that the country may hit another recession.
“Concerns that the country has fallen into a recession have grown since Statistics Canada figures released last week showed that the economy contracted in April, marking the fourth straight monthly decline. The next round of GDP figures come out July 31.” (Omand, Geordon. 2015)
However, in the same article, the Finance Minister, Joe Oliver, said that despite the sharp fall in the economy, with the numbers not out yet, it is just too early to say that recession has hit Canada again (2015). Regardless of whether or not the recession has hit Canada, the country needs a solution to recover from the current economic condition.
In The Biggest Risks To Canada’s Economy In 2015, And Beyond, Sunny Freeman explains that there are possibly 10 other factors that could contribute to the failing economic condition of Canada (2014). Among these factors are the carbon bubble idea, the Keystone and other pipelines which were dependent on the United States’ consent, big funded Canadian elections all over the world, the fall of the commodity prices, increase in interest rates, growing debt loads, global instability, Russia’s (as one of the largest source of Canadian’s export) sinking economic condition, chain reaction by China’s slowdown, Greece political issue, and the tanking of oil prices (Freeman, Sunny. 2014). As can be seen that many of the risks are actually caused by the global condition, which would be harder to tackle. With the change in the market, it is time to make the necessary changes in order to adapt. Thus, the ability to come up with an alternative solution in innovation is highly important. After all, the sustainable growth as well as innovation goes hand in hand.
South Korea has become one of the most innovative countries in the world according to the data compiled by Bloomberg (Bloomberg, 2015). The country is the leader of innovation in electronics and telecommunication products. Not only that they are able to produce high technology for cheaper price, they are also able to equip their products with environmental friendly features. The government of the country has given any acceleration on innovation program a top priority. This is understandable because, thanks to the country’s innovation, it has been able to enjoy a remarkable economic growth. Five decades ago, South Korea’s economic condition was worse than countries like Mozambique and Bolivia. Amazingly, today, the country is even more prosperous thank Spain or New Zealand. The annual economic growth is averagely seven percent.
Another Asian country to sit at the top of the Bloomberg innovative country list would be Singapore (2015). The country’s strongest sector is manufacturing especially in the petrochemicals and pharmaceutical industries. These sectors have attracted foreign investment for years and the government constantly nurturing the innovations in those sectors. The economical success of the country is to be applauded. It was only five decades ago that the country started to be separated and became independent. With no natural resources and underdeveloped condition, the world seemed to be pessimistic and underestimated its ability to grow. But today, Singapore has become economically mature, like Japan.
Despite the innovation incentives from the Canadian government and the urgent need of invention in the country, a recent study shows that “Canadian feel less able to contribute new and useful ideas in the workplace compared with their American counterparts.” (Meredith, Doug. 2014). Without the ability to be too dependent on oil, Canadian other products and services should be able to fill in the gap. But with Canada falling behind in innovation, it would seem that the incentives would not be sufficient to trigger innovations. The ideas to create innovations, weather radical or not, can happen anytime and anywhere, even at the time and place when people least expect it. However, without the right climate, it is less likely to happen. Learning from its neighbor, Canada should be able to improve the creative environment at work as well as gap in gender in general through the right leadership, education, and infrastructure.
Knowing the areas where innovations in Canada is more urgent would require the ability to assess the countries deficiencies. Although Canada has been in various free trade agreements with countries all over the world, most of its products went to the United States. For years, the mutual partnership has been strong. However, it may be eroding due to various problems. Their natural partnership has been the result of the geographic proximity, and diversifying the market by maximizing the other free trade countries would be beneficial for Canada’s trade. With new partners, Canada would be able to increase not only the volume, but also the variety of products being imported. Addressing this issue would be important. It may not be a radical innovation, but it is a necessary one. When the trade is increasing, the economic would also be improving over time.
Canada should be able to provide the necessary facility for its people to be innovative. One of which would be by providing low cost internet. Internet plays an important role on so many sectors nowadays. Not only that internet becomes one of the most leading facilities of learning, it is also a major telecommunication facility which has the ability to eliminate geographical barriers. As one of the most restrictive country to regulate foreign ownership of telecommunication companies, the price of internet in the country is sky high. The innovation in regulation of internet would be able to reduce the cost of communications in many companies as well as invite foreign investors.
“The Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission says, on average, Canadian families spent $191 per month for cable, cellphone, Internet and home telephone plans. This is up 3.2 per cent from $185 per month in 2012.” (Canadian Press. 2014).
These two kinds of innovations would be beneficial for the overall economy of Canada, however, the group of men and women on their productive ages would be most benefited. Cheap internet and market extension would be interconnected. This is because internet has been playing an important role in the modern commerce. The cheaper and the easier it is for people to access the internet, the more market it would open for them. After all, Canada has signed free market agreements to many countries until today. They only need to maximize these agreements and reduce the dependency to the United States.
Innovation is the key to economic success for any organizations. A country is one of the largest and most complex forms of organization. Thus, a country needs innovation in order to develop or maintain its current economic growth. Innovation may not be easy to achieve and finding the ideas that could be turned into practical uses are certainly a creative process that cannot occur whenever it is required. However, ideas of innovation can emerge anytime and anywhere, even at the places and times when people least expect it.
The government of Canada is one of the governments in the globe that has applied incentives for companies which could provide the country with beneficial innovations. However, the country is lacking behind in innovations. When its neighboring country could come up with radical innovations like Facebook, Apple, and Google, Canada seemed to be quite inactive for such radical innovations. Failing to innovate would mean economic problems. Examples can be seen in brands like Nokia and Kodak. They used to be the leaders in cellular phones and photography. However, their lack of innovations has caused them to lose their positions. After years of financial loss, Nokia was bought by Microsoft while Kodak filed for bankruptcy.
Studies show that Canada is lack the supporting creative environment and budget in research and development. Although there are no guarantees that both factors would be able to create innovations, but they are certainly the right triggers. Some of the most innovative countries have proven their uses. South Korea is one of the best examples. The country has raised themselves as one of the most innovative countries in the world with massive budget of $ 14 billion for research and development. As a result, the country which was once very poor, have become one of the country to have the largest economic growth.
Faced with financial issues caused by various global economic conditions, Canada is on the verge of another financial crisis. For years, Canada has been too dependent on oil and trade with the United States. The falling global price of oil has caused the country billions. In addition to that, the trade relationship with the United States has faltered in the last few years. To save the country from the imminent issue, Canada must be able to come up with radical innovations.
The government should innovate in providing cheaper internet for the people as well as expanding the market to other countries. With the number of free trade agreements, Canada should be able to utilize these existing agreements. In addition to that, reviewing the internet provider regulation would invite more foreign investments as well as cheaper facility to the people. Internet would also be able to play an important role in the global commerce. More affordable internet could also mean larger market.
Successful in these innovations would help to improve the overall economy in the country. Thus, everyone in Canada would be benefited by these improvements. However, the group of women and men at the productive age would be the ones being benefited the most as they would be the ones taking the direct advantage of the innovations.
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