I have thought through the economic development problem in New Brunswick from just about every angle over the years. I hadn’t advocated for a separate Invest NB organization. I had argued that a private sector-led economic development agency with a broader mandate than just investment might be a good idea.
But times change and my views evolve. I just listened to a Freakonomics podcast tonight while I was cooking supper and it was an analysis of why experts are usually not much better at making predictions than anyone else – this has been validated by research. The reason for this is that the experts have a viewpoint and they follow it hard even when new data starts to show they are wrong. Thomas Khun did a lot of work in this area – I studied his theory of paradigms in college.
Anyway, I evolve and now think that Invest NB – separate, focused, lean, etc. is a good and elegant model for investment attraction. I think, however; it will be critical for the agency to be deeply networked to the key players that will influence their ability to be successful such as NB Power, BNB, Department of Finance, Future NB, etc. And the Premier will still have to crack the whip to get some of these groups working closely together.
I wish them well. I counted a couple of dozen tweets kind of skeptical of Invest NB today. That’s fine. The Twitter world is one that lends itself to this kind of public discourse. I think we should hope Invest NB can do good things. The province needs it.