Alberta has led all provinces in average annual economic growth over the last 20 years. Our unmatched strengths in agriculture, forestry and petrochemicals have earned us an international reputation but it is the energy sector that is our driving economic force. We are the energy hub in a nation that consistently ranks among the top 10 energy producers in the world. That's huge.
It's no secret that the job market for youth graduating from post-secondary education is competitive and challenging, with youth unemployment rates being twice the national average in Canada. A combination of both education and experience can be the ticket to an initial interview, however, youth are often faced with the 'no experience, no work; no work, no experience' dilemma.
While the concept of creating corporate incubators is sound, the numerous attempts at implementation have been beset by a number of issues, including lacklustre results. With so many of today's corporate incubators having significant problems creating positive results, what can be done to address these issues?
Incremental innovation has a real positive impact for patients -- it brings to bear the latest scientific thinking to improve safety, tolerability, efficacy and quality of medicines. Would we have ever realized the iPhone 5 if not for the hundreds of versions before it, as far back as the first cell phones in the 1980s? Like medicines and vaccines, each new version demonstrates incremental innovation -- tangible improvements that matter to people.
Not enough young people believe they can change the world on a global scale. The problem is a mindset problem, and one I believe is more dire than some might think. Too many young entrepreneurs think they're rock stars by launching another social network, or naming themselves the CEO of the world's 498th messaging app. Honestly, they're probably wasting their time.
Kitchener-Waterloo is already well established as a bastion of innovation. It's already actively adding places where people will want to live, work and play -- the three elements that define a cluster in a place of innovation. Toronto, on the other hand, has yet to truly establish a centralized, cohesive community where technological innovation can flourish.
Much is being made these days of the need for children to put down the tablets, remotes and other tech devices and get outside and play. Medical experts and media pundits are keying on health issues, such as childhood obesity and diabetes, as the key driver for increased play. And they are correct; but there are other important reasons: future jobs and economic growth.
Within our team we spend a lot of time talking about the concept of the 'willing innovator'. At a time where practically every industry needs software, it helps us think about the people we want to partner with -- those who align with our culture and view of the world. To us, this isn't necessarily about having been innovative in the past.
One story that Shapiro shared was of the challenges facing Houston Airport, where luggage would be available within eight minutes but passengers were at the luggage carousel within one minute and disgruntled about having to wait. The answer: airport staff created a longer path to collect luggage which took eight minutes, so luggage and passengers arrived at the same time.
I look forward to a day when there won't be a difference between business and social business, it will just be what we all do. And it is time for organizations to step up and take the necessary risks associated with adopting shared value. Not just because it is the right thing to do, but also because of the economic and competitive advantage we all stand to win.
Rarely, if ever, do we think of farms when we think of small business. But small businesses dot the vast country side as well. While more and more Canadians are living in cities, the farm and agri-food sectors remain economically important. Farms employ 2.1 million people, representing one in every eight Canadian job.