Engineering innovation

In the innovation for economic development course I completed a couple of weeks ago, one of the professors said that Cabinets with a large concentration of engineers tend to do a better job of developing innovation agendas.  He cited Singapore as one example of this.  As New Brunswick looks to develop its innovation agenda, I wonder how many people in Cabinet are engineers?

It’s kind of an interesting argument and it does go back to who gets attracted into politics in New Brunswick.  We don’t tend to see a lot of ex VPs of large firms going into politics.  I am not sure about engineers but my hunch is that not too many go into politics either.

In New Brunswick, politicians tend to be lawyers, ex-bureaucrats, small business owners, etc.

I think this is an interesting observation.  If you want a government fostering innovation, would it help to have engineers in Cabinet?

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3 Responses to Engineering innovation

  1. I would say that the significant difference between the government of Singapore and the government of Canada is not that it has engineers in the cabinet.

  2. mikel says:

    I think that would make some sense, since a lot of responsibility falls on the elected officials-at least when they aren’t just towing the party line.

    Anyway, I did some legwork for you, you can do a search and MLA bios comes up pretty readily. It wasn’t a conclusive search, but the days of lawyers ended with the liberals. I think I counted ONE lawyer, and I only saw two or three small business people.

    Of the rest there is quite a variety. Some ex military, some ex cops and ex firefighters. A logger and a couple of realtors, and several whom appear to have spent most of their careers as bureaucrats of one sort or another. One bio makes the point that this particular rep is a fan of ultimate frisbee.

    The closest to engineer that I found was an electrician. No scientists at all, only one with a health diploma, but not a medical practitioner. Oh, and a couple of teachers.

    Not even a computer programmer amongst them. Not sure what Alward did for a living. Most of the people either pad their resume or did so much extracurricular activity in various organizations that it would leave little room for family and a full career.

  3. Richard Reeleder says:

    Wasn’t Higgs an engineer of some kind? Perhaps not a very good one as he seems to have branched into accounting or fin management.

    Alward BTW was a federal civil servant for a number of years. Perhaps he got downsized in the 90s and went into politics.

    I expect that these days a lot of the ambitious and entrepeneurial engineers head West and would not be available to serve in NB politics even if they wished to do so.

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