22 March 2006

Innovation: at last

From Wednesday's Throne Speech, the Williams administration announced that it will shortly release something called Innovation Newfoundland and Labrador: A Blueprint for Prosperity.

This is a much-welcome and long-overdue initiative.

The central premise of the 1992 Strategic Economic Plan (SEP)was the need to diverse the provincial economy and to build on our collective strengths. The SEP has lasted as government policy to the present day because it represents a genuinely strategic approach to long-range economic development.

The new Williams document will fit nicely within the overall framework of the SEP's economic diversification by focusing on areas where entrepreneurs in this province have already shown their ability to compete successfully around the globe. The new plan will apparently focus on marine-related technology, health sciences and information technology.

Interestingly enough all the examples cited in today's Throne Speech have developed since 1992, several with assistance from the programs developed under the SEP. Missing from the list was Northern Radar which continues to develop a commercially viable offshore surveillance radar system out of a concept that was originally intended to detect surface ocean currents.

This innovation policy is something to look at more closely once it is released.