e-Talk Radio: Rubin, Howard, 12 September 2000

[article]
Rebroadcast 24 October 2000

at the success of, potential success and strength of nations, in sort of the Cyber Age, the issue really becomes quite different. What you want to understand is the strength and completeness of a nation's digital infrastructure. You want to understand access to labor and knowledge jobs. You want to understand the globalization potential of a nation, how well it can do business in the global economy. You want to understand economic dynamism and competition, which has to do with how productive the nation is. But what's happening internally, in terms of venture capital and entrepreneurship and processes, you also would want to know about the innovation capacity of the nation itself, what's going into R&D, how well it can produce intellectual capital and things like that. So if you back up and you say you wanted to be able to measure or judge the health and new economy wealth of nations, really the big categories have to do with where is the availability of qualified engineers and people with IT skills, of management, higher education. It's globalization, which has to do with export positioning, potential and policies. It's dynamism and competition in terms of productivity and worker motivation and how well it's transforming to a digital economy, which has to do with its digital infrastructures, as I mentioned before. And then the final category was innovation capacity. So in terms of creating a cyber map of the earth, we've built these tentative measures and said, suppose we can judge the strength and positioning of nations, and this is one way we've gone about it.

Carol: And we are going to have to go to a break real quickly. We've been talking to Dr. Howard Rubin, who is an expert in the area of cybergeography. And we will be back after a few more minutes.

And we're back. I'm Carol Dekkers, and you're rejoining my guest this week, Dr. Howard Rubin, as we talk about some cyber geography issues. We've been talking a little bit about digital divide and really how we've made a cyber map, in terms of some of the work that Howard's been doing in his consultancy. Howard, I know that you did a worldwide benchmark study that's been very famous at a lot of IT conferences. And I think that was originally funded by the Canadian government.

Howard: Right, in 1994, Industry Canada, which is the equivalent of the Department of Commerce of the Canadian government, working on the …. I believe of various ministries up there and the Prime Minister, were trying to do an analysis of how to formulate policies to effectively make Canada a major player in the IT world. Not to belittle it, but to literally to move Canada to a dominant position and help Canada become the India of the Western hemisphere.

Carol: And there are some surprises that came out of that first study, that Canada fared very well, particularly with relation to us.

Howard: And actually what happened in that study, we looked at national competitiveness with an IT view, which is it had to do with software engineering, processes, and productivity and quality. And then that first study, it was sort of difficult to present those results, because in fact Canada funded the study, but the results actually showed in that snapshot, this goes back to 1994, that the highest productivity IT workers that we found in the world were actually in Canada itself. And then distributed around the world we found countries like ……… and actually found the productivity in countries like India, where conventional wisdom for

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