The triple win challenge: Serve yourself; serve your community; serve your country

I just finished reading the latest report on Canada’s competitiveness (PDF) released by the Institute for Competitiveness and Prosperity. The report describes our current state in 2008 and the outlook to 2020, and it’s troubling to see that even though our economic performance is among the strongest nations, we are trailing the US by a whopping $8,800 in GDP per capita.

So what does this mean?
It means that we have opportunities to improve the value we add to our human, physical and natural resources, that will in turn contribute to our national prosperity and standard of living.

The late management guru, Peter Drucker, spoke of the responsibilities of leaders:
“Successful leaders don’t start out asking, “What do I want to do?” They ask, “What needs to be done?” Then they ask, “Of those things that would make a difference, which are right for me?” They don’t tackle things they aren’t good at. They make sure other necessities get done, but not by them. Successful leaders make sure that they succeed! They are not afraid of strength in others.”

Entrepreneurs are a specific form of leader. They build new opportunities and with this in mind, I want to challenge those who are thinking along these lines to review the following list in search of inspiration for what needs to get done. Here are some specific areas of focus detailed by the report that relate to the investment in people and technology that will lead to improving Canada’s future prosperity:

  • Invest in innovative ways to attack poverty (raise the valleys)
  • Raise awareness among all Canadians of the benefits of education
  • Continue investments in post secondary education
  • Assess the trade-off between university research and teaching
  • Step up investments in information and communication technology

We need to shed our complacency, and tap into the latent creative and innovative spirit that makes us Canadian. Serve yourself; serve your community; serve your country. Create a win-win-win situation.