A pile of interesting articles today in local newspapers. Don’t forget to subscribe to my Twitter feed as I am now posting these articles as a quick way to get access (Twitter: Jupia).
Peter Lindfield proffers a few ideas on Business New Brunswick this morning. I think much of what he says makes perfect sense and echos what others such as Donald Savoie have been saying.
The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that ‘economic development’ in a place like New Brunswick is better off outside the formal bureaucratic structure. Because BNB is about attracting industry and fostering innovative companies and building key clusters and incubating talent, etc. I think it needs to have a CEO at the top and a board and the flexibility to think and act like a business – like the organizations it is trying to attract here. It needs the flexibility to move quick. It needs the flexibiity to motivate and empower staff. It needs the flexibility to attract the best and brightest talent.
And something that is not as appreciated but I believe is important is the ability for business leaders to deal with business leaders.
The CEO of NB Inc. will be far better positioned to deal with the heads of international corporations than a Deputy Minister. Sure, at that level it is mostly optics but optics matter.
But the broader issue is getting economic development back to the business of development. The ‘banking’ function of BNB should be a secondary consideration. Handing out cash should be one small part of what economic developers do in this province (you know I prefer tax-based incentives anyway).
Economic development involves a bevy of actions that are taken to create an environment where specific industries can grow and prosper here. It’s about selling the value proposition for these specific industries far and wide.
In the end, BNB (or its incarnation) is the single most important organization for the realization of the objective of economic self-sufficiency. It needs to have BHAGs and the resources to achieve them.
I believe NB Inc. is a far better structure to make this happen.