To promote growth, Canada needs to fixate on data before credentials

Nobina Robinson, Globe, Mail, Oct 28, 2016
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The proposition is this: "If innovation is going to be the means through which we achieve growth and talent is the driving force behind innovation, let’s start by measuring this key input to growth correctly." For example, writes Nobina Robinson, "Canadian firms use individuals holding technologist designations, BAs, and Master’s degrees more than they use PhDs for R&D." So are we overproducing PhDs? The data don't tell us. What's key in drawing this sort of assessment is the explanation for what we are seeing. Maybe, for example, Canadian firms don't use PhDs for research because PhDs aren't available, or are too expensive. And over-reliance on data is a but like using stock market data the day before a market crash. In many models, what is happening now is far less important than our assessment of what is going to happen.

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