Trillium Book Awards Author Reading 2015

Ordinary, Extraordinary part 2

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Some time ago, the precise moment of which escapes me, I signed up for regular emails from the Conference Board of Canada. Their missives are not frequent and I occasional take a side-long glance at them, wonder how anyone/everyone studies the economy and then go onto the next page of emails to answer. Yet, one factoid that always seem to pop up, in those interminable assessments of assessing and ranking cities and countries, is Canada's relative poor scores on innovation.

The score reminds me of a meeting I went to in my previous incarnation as a "consumer anthropologist" who worked in marketing/advertising. A Molson (or was it Labatt?) marketing executive, apparently a leading consumer insights guru, was saying how Canadians think we are creative, but we're not. Now, I don't remember much more than that, and the actual thread of the conversation is lost on me. However, it seemed to me that there is a linkage between creativity and innovation and both an executive and a business organization finds Canada falling short.

This takes me back to an earlier post about artists as ordinary/extraordinary. It would seem that, as a whole, if we follow the musings about both the Molson exec and the Conference Board, we might just be ordinary. Anik See has a whole essay about this in Saudade, describing Canadians as concerned about what's "good enough," rather than the vintage American lust for the more/the big/the better.

Maybe it's a feature of our economy: driven on selling our natural resources. We don't need to be like a Singapore which has achieved success through ingenuity and harnessing human resources. Maybe being ordinary works, but something tells me that it isn't going to be enough for much longer. (perhaps because I teach at the college/university level and I see the difference of commitment of international vs. Canadian-raised students).

The views expressed in the Writer-in-Residence blogs are those held by the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of Open Book: Toronto.

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Nitin Deckha

Nitin Deckha is the author of Shopping for Sabzi (TSAR Publications, 2008) and a contributor to Once Upon a Time in Bollywood (TSAR Publications, 2007) and several other publications.

Go to Nitin Deckha ’s Author Page