Canada’s culture of risk aversion

The National Post has such an important story on Canada and its risk aversion.


Q  During your presentation, you mentioned Canada’s culture of risk aversion. Do you believe this can be changed?
BC  When you get to post-secondary education, our educational systems are built on a 150-year-old model that’s not set up for today. We reward tenure, not innovation. Our faculties are strong political silos, and what we need are students graduating who have diverse backgrounds. Business people who have a fine arts background are more innovative and creative and take more risk. The challenge is it takes a generation. So, first you have to get change in our university system, which is challenging. Second, you have to give it time to catch. You can’t change culture overnight.
JR  To me it’s the embracing of failure that is a big difference I see, particularly in Silicon Valley where entrepreneurs use failure as a badge of honour, and in Canada we don’t really do that. We view that as something you do not disclose or something that you’re ashamed of. I would have a far higher propensity to invest in an individual after three failures as opposed to seeing zero failures, because I now know that when that individual is going to be working on their next opportunity they’ll know where to pivot around. They move much faster and are able to get to the same point they were at the previous opportunity within a fraction of the time. So, when the company starts to scale; when the problems become far more complex, somebody who has dealt with failure, I believe, is able to navigate and pivot around those and not completely panic at a situation.

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