Richard Ogle, who penned the book Smart World, says New Brunswick has done this before when it was a leader in creating a thriving call centre industry, and needs to get behind another new “big idea” if it wants to see another such boom.
He sees potential for New Brunswick’s next big thing in environmentally-friendly technologies, praising the arguments in Thomas Friedman’s book Hot, Flat and Crowded. “The opportunity for industrial development with really high-paying jobs in energy and environmentally related technologies is huge,” says Ogle. “I mean a huge upside including exporting to the rest of the world.” Friedman uses the term “ET” or environmental technologies to describe potentially hot new emerging industry.
“ET is like the IT of the 1970s,” says Ogle. “It is a huge hot spot and you can have a piece of that if you get it early.” But to capitalize on any breakthrough idea there are a number of forces that must work together: government investments, tax incentives, mobilization of work force, “you’ve got to alert the universities so that they get their research centres going and they’re turning out the right kinds of graduates” and “you’ve got to get the venture capital, the investments flowing in.”
First of all, in this industry, many of the technologies are well into development so I am not sure about ‘breakthrough ideas’. We are way behind the curve if we want to develop an ET sector.
But Ogle is right. It is about creating the value proposition (tax incentives, government investment, workforce, R&D as he states) and selling it “getting the venture capital and investments flowing in”.
But talk continues to be the cheapest commodity around. NB has been talking about “aerospace” development for 15 years and still is. Does this look like a growing sector to you?
Total Exports from New Brunswick
NAICS 3364 – Aerospace Product and Parts Manufacturing
2002 $ 61,534,906
2003 $ 5,324,029
2004 $ 2,103,844
2005 $ 13,436,021
2006 $ 3,290,869
2007 $ 3,514,565