Dan Breznitz shortlisted for the inaugural Balsillie Prize for Public Policy

October 13, 2021
by: Drew-Anne Glennie

Headshot of Dan Breznitz and cover of his book Innovation in Real Places

Dan Breznitz has been nominated for the inaugural Balsillie Prize for Public Policy for his book Innovation in Real Places: Strategies for Prosperity in an Unforgiving World. 

Awarded annually by the Writer’s Trust of Canada, the Balsillie Prize recognizes Canadian non-fiction works that advance/influence “policy debates on a wide range of social, political, economic, or cultural topics relevant to Canadians,” emphasizing their key contributions to public discourse and policymaking. Breznitz is nominated for the inaugural Prize, which boasts an award of $60,000 for the winner and $5,000 for each finalist.  

Breznitz is a leading expert on rapid-innovation-based industries and their globalization. He is a University Professor, serves as the Munk Chair of Innovation Studies and co-director of the Innovation Policy Lab; and co-directs the program on Innovation, Equity and Future of Prosperity as a Fellow of the Canadian Institute for Advanced Research. His other published books include: Innovation and the StateThe Run of the Red Queenand The Third Globalization. 

In Innovation in Real Places, Breznitz challenges dominant ideas about the essential role of high-tech industries in economic growth, calling on cities to instead find where their advantages actually lie in relation to the global production process.  

“Dan Breznitz deftly argues that Canadians often confuse ‘innovation’ with ‘invention’. His research demonstrates that by focusing on the invention side — creating the next new thing — Canadian policy and industry largely miss the major benefits of the innovation train,” wrote the 2021 Balsillie Prize Jury. “Breznitz offers advice for leaders at all levels: you don’t have to invent it; you do, however, have to bring it to market in a better way.”  

The Financial Times named the book one of the best Summer books of 2021. It was also longlisted for the FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year 2021

Other nominees for the Balsillie Prize are former federal MP Jody Wilson-Raybould, the Globe & Mail health reporter/columnist André Picard, and CBC Radio One British Columbia’s Gregor Craigie. 

“These books provide new and thoughtful ideas for a better future for all Canadians,” says prize sponsor Jim Balsillie. “My hope is the shortlist will inspire discussions and debate at home and in policy communities that ultimately contribute to the development of smart public policy for our country.” 

The prize winner will be announced online on November 24th

Read more about Breznitz’s nomination in the news.