June 1, 2022
by Adrienne Harry
Dan Breznitz’s book, Innovation in Real Places: Strategies for Prosperity in an Unforgiving World (Oxford University Press), has won the 2021 Donner Prize.
Awarded annually by the Donner Canadian Foundation, the prestigious $50,000 prize is given to a book that showcases excellence and innovation in public policy writing by Canadians. The prize was awarded at a gala dinner in Toronto on May 31, 2022.
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 State, The Run of the Red Queen, and 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.
“One of the many strengths of the book is the differentiation between invention and innovation. Breznitz focuses on diverse types of innovation and the role of governments to facilitate – and not impede – the innovation process,” says the Donner Prize jury. “There is little doubt that innovation is a key driver of economic progress, and Breznitz offers a clear explanation of the range of factors at play that can help or hinder the growth of an innovation economy. Essential reading for anyone interested in policy for industry, science, finance, competition, and regional development.”
Innovation in Real Places has garnered widespread critical praise since it was published in 2021. The Financial Times named it one of the best Summer books of 2021, it was longlisted for the FT & McKinsey Business Book of the Year 2021 and it won the inaugural Balsillie Prize for Public Policy in 2021.
The winner and shortlisted titles for this year’s Donner Prize were chosen by a jury that included chair David A. Dodge, Jean-Marie Dufour, Brenda Eaton, Louise Fréchette, Karen Restoule, and Frederic Wien.
Other shortlisted authors for the Donner Prize included Canadian economist Mark Carney; Stephanie Carvin, associate professor of International Relations at Carleton University; business leader Carol Ann Hilton; and Globe & Mail health reporter/columnist André Picard.