Steve’s Week in Policy: March 11, 2016

Steve Higham is a policy analyst with Mitacs. On the blog, he’ll frequently share links to interesting innovation policy-related articles, videos, podcasts, or websites. This week’s installment covers innovation how-tos, soft skills, and using longitudinal data to measure human happiness.

While those on the West Coast enjoy early cherry blossoms and an explosion of colour, the rest of Canada continues to slog through winter. Here are a few interesting links from the policy world to help distract you from the cold:

  • With support from the European Union, the Government of Catalonia released what is essentially a textbook on how to become an innovative company. From organizational structure to strategic planning, the document covers a lot of ground that may be of interest to innovative companies and those who work with them.
  • You’re probably thinking, “Yeah, but what we really need is some sort of a textbook on how to become an innovative country.” The University of Toronto’s Impact Centre didn’t write a book like that, but they DID write a report that looks at how Canadian attitudes towards innovation measure up against those of our American neighbours. Their findings are a little depressing, but the good news is that among young Canadians, we’re actually pretty competitive. Those over 35 fare less well.
  • A big part of the Mitacs Policy department’s work is conducting evaluations and monitoring program outcomes. One of our big challenges is keeping track of people as they move and change careers over time. So it’s mind-boggling that Harvard has managed to conduct a 75-year (ongoing) study on the factors that contribute to happiness. Even more shocking? It turns out that the answer to happiness is NOT money and fame.
  • Are universities equipping young grads with the range of skills they need to be successful in their careers? Working with the OECD, the Higher Education Quality Control Council of Ontario is launching a project to measure the literacy, numeracy, and problem-solving skills of undergrads at enrollment and again at graduation. This will allow them to determine how successful universities are in providing students with soft skills.

Thanks for reading!

Want to contribute to Steve’s Week in Policy? Send your feedback, ideas, or suggestions to shigham(at)


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