One of the classic board games of all time is Snakes and Ladders. It’s great fun for the whole family because no one has any advantage over the other players, it’s completely a game of chance. You roll the dice and hope for the best.
Alberta finds itself in a perpetual game of snakes and ladders with commodity prices: we’re a price taker. What drives oil prices higher and lower depends on a complex series of international factors—the ladders and snakes—over which we have no control.
Lately, it appears the snakes are gaining the upper hand.
It’s a new hopeful trend! Albertans have been inspired lately with the enormous power that lies within a good idea. Creativity is where it’s at. I was honoured last week to take part in Canada’s first Imagination Conversation at Edmonton’s Winspear Centre. It was a collection of Alberta’s most innovative business leaders, entrepreneurs, educators and artists, joining internationally known speakers, creativity advocates and education pioneers. Organized by the good folks at Creative Alberta, it was a chance to build a more, well… creative Alberta!
As an economist, I mused about how creative solutions can solve economic and social problems. So here’s my Top Ten List of issues in our province to which I’d like to see more creativity applied:
Albertans know the importance of being a global trader—and these days, the chatter is about new and burgeoning global markets. China is the hottest market in the world! We’ve got a free trade deal with Mexico, don’t we? What about Canada’s talks to expand exports to Europe? And don’t forget the nearly 200 million Brazilians!
I'm a born-and-raised Albertan as proud as they come. But this past week I felt my provincial pride being tested. That feeling came on after a couple of memorable conversations. One in Toronto. The other in Montreal.