Odd that in a country that has so many safety nets we are generally risk averse as a society.
It comes off as a bit odd actually, we live in a country that is huge and has a ton of opportunities to branch out and do something amazing, yet we’re an often (self-proclaimed) risk averse culture. This doesn’t simply just hold true across the board nor does it sound like sensationalism to anyone other than those that are not, but we as Canadians like to stay in our lanes, ask for a lot of forgiveness and are often overly polite – often to our own detriment.
In tech, specifically in Silicon Valley, LA, Seattle and New York, founders are not afraid to fail even though most do. When they fail, it’s a celebration; they wear it like a badge of honour. Then they fail again and again after that, each time learning from their mistakes. Some folks assume those places, especially the Valley, has a magical formula they employ to generate a higher success rate for startups than anywhere else. Their formula is simply to try more things more often and more quickly than anywhere else.
Not always and definitely not in all sectors. Calculated risk is what you really want to make sure to keep your eye on – risk for the sake of risk doesn’t work out so well. A little bit of risk aversion in the right places (such as shady trading practices) is what made our banking sector the envy of the world during the financial meltdown of 2008, but in the #startup game, it’s a hindrance.
A large majority of Canadians believe that business leaders should be open to taking more intelligent risks in order to foster #innovation. According to a recent Microsoft study 84% of Canadians believed leaders in business need to take more calculated risks for the sake of innovation, yet only 53% felt the company they worked for was doing so.
An overwhelming 97% of Canadians felt that companies must embrace new technologies to remain competitive, while 96% say that #technology is shaping the future of how they conduct their work.
What we need to do is overcome the misconception that risk automatically equates to danger. We need to transform the idea of risk into a true opportunity. Business leaders need to empower their teams and drive forward innovation.
From personal experience, having moved to Canada when I was a child, I know that my parents have always touted a secure, well paying, corporate job as the pinnacle of my career existence. Luckily (I think) I did not really listen to them and instead educated myself as much as possible on all sides of this “risk” coin, making my own decisions. I am certain I have passed up some lucrative opportunities to instead stay in #Toronto and build up my chosen community (as well as the startup community), however it’s meant a lot of fun, exciting, anxious and trying days.
When we moved to Canada in the mid 80s my parents were able to get in as highly skilled tradespeople. I have seen and heard of many skilled business people (in other people’s families) that were not able to get into our Visa system. The Visa systems in the North America rewards workers (and well off students) but keeps a very high barrier for entrepreneurs (#Entrepreneur visas are very rare and require a high level of #investment). I have met many families where there are many entrepreneurs who run successful businesses in Europe and Aisa but none of them will be (easily) eligible for our work visas. This leads to a lot of lawyers, engineers and scientists moving to Canada, while the best of the businessmen stay put at home.
Entrepreneurship requires a very large lot of local networks. This often takes time to find and become a part of, and for the second, third (and beyond) generations there are plenty of networking opportunities (school, neighbourhood, sporting teams, relatives, college, grad school, etc…). For many immigrants, those networks are not fully built in the US when they come there. It takes a lot of years to build them.
Whatever the reason for Canadian business’ aversion to risky R&D, it is important to note that funding riskier projects does not automatically lead to R&D success. Although Canada does not have a large global competitor pursuing R&D such as Google or Facebook, there may be good reason for Canadian business’ and funding agencies’ safer approach to R&D.
Canada’s innovation has been affected in the past by the failings of Blackberry and Nortel. These experiences may have had an adverse effect on the enthusiasm at which riskier R&D projects in Canada are initiated and funded. However, diversifying the projects by funding some high risk (but not so much that the risk of failure would be monumental to business and the government) and other, lower risk projects may provide the boost that Canadian innovation needs and may appease critics of Canada’s R&D funding programs.
So what do you do when all signs point to having to go to University to gain any sort of advantage? Unfortunately it’s the current state of affairs that most employers will not hire you unless you have a degree for even junior or starting jobs. Once you have that degree, coming to my Mentor Program, with 1000ml with our Patent Pending training system, the only such system in the world; is the only way to gain the practical knowledge and experience that will jump start your career.
Check out our next dates below for our upcoming seminars, labs and programs, we’d love to have you there.