Atlantic Canada’s independent voice on economic issues

The Next Great Idea

September 24, 2015

The Next Great Idea

Saint Mary’s University

September 24, 2015


“Confronted with the short-termism of daily news, market swings and our fast-paced lifestyles, thinking strategically about the future may seem hazardous, but it is a necessity.”

-Eric Noel
 Initiator Canada Towards 2030 Project



Trying to imagine what Canada will be like in 2030 is not a task for the faint of heart, but for 80 attendees attending APEC’s Next Great Idea, the effort was made somewhat easier by Eric Noel, a long-term thinking specialist.

Eric NoelMr. Noel, aSenior Vice-President with Oxford Analytica, took the crowd on a whirlwind visit to the future detailing four megatrends that will reshape Canada: demographics, geopolitics, globalization and science and technology.

He outlined the challenges that accompany our aging and increasingly urban population and the opportunities going forward with trade agreements like the TransPacific Partnership (TPP) and Atlantic Trade and Investment Treaty. While innovations in science and technology will alter business models, a new era of digitally enabled objects and services will offer new opportunities to innovative Atlantic Canadian firms

Innovation will be a challenge, he warned. Developing the best brains with have to be done on miniscule resources – relative to global R&D investment - and in the face of fierce global competitors willing to lure talent away from our shores.

Mr. Noel`s presentation was followed by an interactive quiz designed to poll the room on the issues hindering standing Atlantic progress. Demographics and a lack of opportunities for young people were identified as the greatest challenges and the most untapped growth driver was identified as our skilled labour.

The Great Idea project included 18 video submission from business leaders across the region. They were all shown at the event (and continue to be available for viewing on the Next Great Idea website) but three videos were highlighted: Acadian Seaplants CEO Jean-Paul Deveau`s take on using our natural resources more effectively, Fresh Media President Melody Dover`s call for a small business tax holiday and grocer and vineyard operator Pete Luckett`s plea for more immigration.

Two “Next Great Ideas” were delivered live. Saint Mary’s University President Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray spoke about the value of a more international community and Anne Whelan, President of Seafair Capital advocated for the teaching of financial literacy skills to school age children.

Special thanks go out to our sponsors: Sobey School of Business, Saint Mary's University, Clearwater Seafoods, Emera, Bank of Montreal, Export Development Canada and Atlantic Business Magazine.





Publication Files

September 24, 2015

The Next Great Idea



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