TOOC Module 4

Week 4 Building an Innovation-Based Economy


This module’s objectives are:

  • to understand the importance of regional investments in the infrastructure (ie. the Internet) and educational programming needed to promote and sustain an innovation environment in the North
  • to compare Circumpolar realities with conditions in southern locations

Governments have decided that S&T innovation is key to the future prosperity.  They say, almost uniformly,that the workforce of tomorrow requires advanced skills and that society must be prepared for global technological competitiveness.  This is a real challenge.  How, for example, does northern Quebec compete with Boston, Mass for innovation work?  What must Lulea, Sweden do (a lot it turns out, and successfully too) to attract big name companies to the region?  How can a remote community in Alaska really make itself ready for the innovation economy?  These are huge questions.  Scholars and policy makers have written with growing concern about what they describe as the “digital divide,” the gap between those with ready access to digital technologies (computers, smartphones and Internet connectivity) and those who do not.  When the world focused on hard-wire connections — a computer connection in the home, office or school — the challenge was really formidable.  How could a country possibility wire up a network of small and widely scattered towns? The answer was that it cost a fortune and was very difficult.  Satellite technologies helped a great deal, with special northern challenges associated with operating in high latitudes and enormous costs of installation.

The wireless revolution helped a great deal, as the costs of expanding services were much lower than for conventional Internet and communication systems.  Over the past 20 years, wireless coverage has expanded through much of the North, although there are major gaps in sparsely populated areas.  But, as is almost always the case with new technologies, achievement in one area creates other challenges.  If wireless is an inexpensive way of bringing the new economy into the North, it is even cheaper to expand the service in China, India and Sub-Saharan Africa.  In very short order, hundreds of millions of formerly marginalized workers, companies and communities have capitalized on the opportunities created by new digital infrastructure.  So, the expansion of the Internet — to focus on one technology — did not given the Far North an advantage.  Instead, it merely kept the region in the digital game. Oh, and to make matters worse, the wireless services in the South, including the poor southern regions, are cheaper, faster and more reliable (in some areas) than those in the North.  While remote Arctic communities are adjusting to the possibilities of the Internet, tiny villages in China, schooled in the Alibaba (about which more later) “university” system are developing global businesses from next to nothing.

There is more to the new economy infrastructure than the Internet, although that is an important to the 21st century as electrification was to the 20th century.  Here are some of the key infrastructure areas that merit serious attention as the Far North seeks to create a competitive environment and to lay a foundation for business development, work and an improved quality of life.

  • Energy: The Far North is a a major disadvantage in this area, with higher requirements for energy (cold and distance) and much higher costs. Transformation is required here — and solar power is only a small part of the solution.
  • Transportation Systems: The modern economy requires access to safe, cost effective and reliable transportation systems, including roads, railways, airfields and port facilities  For the North, this means a transportation system that works effectively in extreme conditions.
  • Education and Training:The new economy requires highly skilled and well-trained workers, ready to tackle the technological challenges of the modern era. The Far North, which generally has lower educational outcomes than southern areas (although Scandinavia does much better than most other Circumpolar area, particularly for Indigenous peoples), faces serious challenges here.  If elementary and high school services are deficient — and particularly if the problem rests with science and math training — then the society will face serious challenges adapting to a science and technology-based system.
  • Health Care and Other Services: Northern residents expect (and deserve) comparable services to other, southern areas.  The high costs of northern service delivery — in medical case, social welfare, counseling and addiction support, etc — combine with the small population in the region to produce lower quality services and greater difficulty getting professional attention.
  • Business Incubators and Commercialization offices:Advice and support for converting scientific and technological ideas into viable commercial products and services.
  • Financial Support: Northern businesses require access to investment and operational capital.  This means regionally sensitive banking institutions or, even better, regional sources of venture capital (venture capital provides start-up funding for new companies or money to expand into new product lines).

While the North’s deficiencies in all key areas are evident, the S&T revolution also provides solutions.   The possibility exists that new technologies will help the North address its challenges.  But remember that the same improvements are coming to almost all other areas in the world. The North lags behind in almost all of the most crucial infrastructure areas and needs to race to catch up.  Meanwhile, those areas with advantages are moving further ahead and other areas that were not competitive in the past are catching up to the North and competing with the leading industrial nations.  Just take a look at the  remarkable achievements of Taiwan and China in recent years — and try to figure out how the Far North is going to compete with these areas.

 

Northern Institutions

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Arctic University of Norway – University of Tromso

 

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University of Lulea

 

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University of Alaska

 

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University of Northern British Columbia

 

Percentage of Internet Users (by countries)

The Internet has become a key symbol of the innovation economy. So many contemporary innovations – from e-commerce to tele-health – rely on the Internet that the availability and reliability of the Internet has become a central determinant of innovation engagement and competitiveness. Check out the data in this table – and note the rapid rise in global Internet use, the widespread use of the Internet in the wealthier countries, and the lag in Greenland and Russia. Within each country, rural and North areas typically do significantly worse than southern and urban areas, although the Scandinavian nations generally stand apart from that pattern.

Percentage of Individuals using the Internet 
2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013
Canada 51.30 60.20 61.59 64.20 65.96 71.66 72.40 73.20 76.70 80.30 80.30 83.00 83.00 85.80
Denmark 39.17 42.96 64.25 76.26 80.93 82.74 86.65 85.03 85.02 86.84 88.72 89.81 92.26 94.63
Finland 37.25 43.11 62.43 69.22 72.39 74.48 79.66 80.78 83.67 82.49 86.89 88.71 89.88 91.51
Greenland 31.75 35.46 44.15 54.53 56.10 57.70 59.36 61.07 62.82 62.83 63.00 64.00 64.90 65.80
Iceland 44.47 49.39 79.12 83.14 83.88 87.00 89.51 90.60 91.00 93.00 93.39 94.82 96.21 96.55
Norway 52.00 64.00 72.84 78.13 77.69 81.99 82.55 86.93 90.57 92.08 93.39 93.49 94.65 95.05
Russia 1.98 2.94 4.13 8.30 12.86 15.23 18.02 24.66 26.83 29.00 43.00 49.00 63.80 61.40
Sweden 45.69 51.77 70.57 79.13 83.89 84.83 87.76 82.01 90.00 91.00 90.00 92.77 93.18 94.78
United States 43.08 49.08 58.79 61.70 64.76 67.97 68.93 75.00 74.00 71.00 71.69 69.73 79.30 84.20

 

Northern Broadband

The following series of reports and documents explore one of the most important infrastructure elements in the innovation economy in the North.  Read through them as you wish.  The reports detail several key aspects of the northern broadband sector, including:

  • The high cost of building Internet capabilities in the North.
  • The unique challenges associated with providing and maintaining Internet services in the Circumpolar World.  This particularly relates to the reliability of Internet service.
  • The typically high costs paid by consumers and business users living in the Far North.

These reports outline the implications of the Far North’s status in terms of Internet services and usage.  The digital highways in the Arctic are not as strong and dependable as those in southern regions.

Mapping the Long-term Options for Canada’s North: Telecommunications and Broadband Connectivity

Download Mapping the Long-term Options for Canada’s North: Telecommunications and Broadband Connectivity (3.48 MB)

BroadBand_Final_PPF_en northern connections.pdf

Download BroadBand_Final_PPF_en northern connections.pdf (2.19 MB)

Broadband – Northern Public Affairs.pdf

Download Broadband – Northern Public Affairs.pdf (1.88 MB)

https://www.viestintavirasto.fi/en/aboutthesector/supplyandpriceinformation/internetservices/availabilityofhighspeedbroadbandconnections.html

Swedes-and-the-Internet-2012.pdf

Download Swedes-and-the-Internet-2012.pdf (2.82 MB)

Circumpolar Educational Attainment

If the Internet is the cornerstone facility of the Innovation Economy, advanced education is the human foundation of engagement in innovation. As you will see from the tables assembled on the next page, Arctic peoples lag significantly behind southern populations and national standards. This is, in significant part, a function of the experience of people in smaller centres (typically with fewer educational opportunities than bigger cities) and Indigenous communities generally.  The educational lag experienced by Indigenous populations is particularly serious, for weak performance in this area will continue to leave Aboriginal people on the outside looking in on the emerging innovation economy. Check out the numbers.  Look at the OECD reports on national educational performance. You will see some real success stories, particularly in Finland. But in other countries, particularly Canada and Alaska (USA), the northern educational challenges remain formidable. Notice how large the educational gap is in some parts of the North. This is not an easily addressed challenge, but will hamper northern development if educational opportunities and outcomes are not improved.

Educational Attainment in Northern Regions of the Circumpolar Countries

Canada

Proportion of the population aged 25 to 64 by highest level of educational attainment in 2011

(National Household Survey, 2011)

Geography No Certificate, Diploma or Degree (%) High school diploma or equivalent (%) Trades certificate or diploma (other than Registered Apprenticeship certificate) (%) Registered Apprenticeship certificate (%) College Diploma (%) University Certificate below Diploma (%) University Degree (%)
Yukon 12.3 20.6 6.4 6.5 23.5 4.6 25.8
Northwest Territories 21.6 19.1 5.9 5.5 22.5 2.7 22.7
Nunavut 46 12.4 6.4 3.6 17 1.6 13
Canada 12.7 23.2 7.1 4.9 21.3 4.9 25.9

 

 

United States: Alaska

Educational Attainment by Degree-level and Age-group: 25 to 64

(American Community Survey, 2012)

Geography Percent of Adults 25 to 64 with 2005% 2008% 2012%
Alaska High School Diploma 92.95 93.28 92.99
Associates Degree or Higher 36.06 36.34 38.89
Bachelor Degree or Higher 28.04 27.68 29.18
Graduate or Professional Degree 10.05 9.58 11.34
U.S High School Diploma 86.89 87.21 88.03
Associates Degree or Higher 37.42 37.89 39.49
Bachelor Degree of Higher 29.17 29.52 30.71
Graduate or Professional Degree 10.44 10.53 11.07

 

 

Finland

Educational Level in Northern Regions (person aged 15 or over)

(Statistics Finland, 2011)

Region Land areakm2 Total population2012 Upper secondary education% Higher education%
Finland 303,890.9 5,426,674 39.5 28.2
North Ostrobothnia 35,508.2 400,670 43.2 26.7
Kajanaland 21,499.8 80,685 43.6 21.7
Lapland 92,659.8 182,844 43.8 23.3

 

Educational Structure of Population, 2012

 

Greenland

Educational Profile

(Statistics Greenland)

 No education Primary education  Post-secondary non-tertiary education, general Bachelor and equivalent level, academic Bachelor and equivalent level, professional Master or equivalent level, academic Master or equivalent level, professional Doctoral or equivalent level
Westgreenland
2002 1,523 1,766 20 84 1,366 585 14 17
2007 1,449 1,732 91 123 1,506 701 19 21
2012 1,419 1,483 169 187 1,757 821 34 34
Northgreenland
2002 877 1,036 3 12 459 67 0 4
2007 810 1,058 20 19 419 90 0 1
2012 755 862 29 22 523 98 1 3
Eastgreenland
2002 252 211 0 4 75 10 0 1
2007 229 213 1 6 86 6 0 0
2012 201 208 0 4 96 4 0 0
Other
2002 0 0 0 0 16 4 0 0
2007 0 0 0 1 11 5 0 0
2012 0 0 0 0 6 3 1 0

 

 

Iceland

Educational Attainment of the Population 25-64 years old

(Labour Force Survey, 2013)

2003 2007 2012
% % %
Total 143,100 100 160,600 100 161,300 100
Basic education – ISCED 1, 2 49,100 34.3 49,200 30.6 47,100 29.2
Upper secondary education – ISCED 3, 4 53,700 37.5 61,700 38.4 57,600 35.7
Tertiary education – ISCED 5, 6 39,300 27.5 49,000 30.5 56,300 34.9
Education unknown 1,000 0.7 800 0.5 300 0.2

 

 

Norway

Education level. Persons 16 years and older

(Statistics Norway, 2013)

 Area 2003  % 2008  % 2013  %
Nordland All levels 187166 100 188835 100 196659 100
Basic school level 72570 39.2 67900 36.5 64862 33.9
Upper secondary education 79721 43.1 79689 42.8 81631 42.6
Tertiary education short 27822 15 32430 17.4 36903 19.3
Tertiary education long 4875 2.6 6046 3.2 8025 4.2
Unknown or no completed education 2178 .. 2770 .. 5238 ..
Troms All levels 120041 100 124125 100 131557 100
Basic school level 42609 36.1 41191 33.9 39769 31.2
Upper secondary education 48851 41.3 49062 40.4 50729 39.8
Tertiary education short 20796 17.6 23805 19.6 27254 21.4
Tertiary education long 5914 5 7532 6.2 9694 7.6
Unknown or no completed education 1871 .. 2535 .. 4111 ..
Finnmark All levels 57039 100 57534 100 60974 100
Basic school level 22931 41.1 21826 38.9 21241 36.5
Upper secondary education 22056 39.5 21773 38.8 22546 38.7
Tertiary education short 9201 16.5 10443 18.6 11772 20.2
Tertiary education long 1632 2.9 2056 3.7 2632 4.5
Unknown or no completed education 1219 .. 1436 .. 2783 ..
Norway All levels 3616300 100 3827770 100 4117809 100
Basic school level 1138619 32.1 1116735 30 1103238 27.9
Upper secondary education 1569779 44.3 1597491 42.9 1650483 41.7
Tertiary education short 651238 18.4 763189 20.5 887154 22.4
Tertiary education long 187799 5.3 242178 6.5 316670 8
Unknown or no completed education 68865 .. 108177 .. 160264 ..

 

 

Russian Federation

Level of education. Persons 15 years and older

(Russian National Census, 2010)

Geography Population total Postgraduate Higher education Incomplete higher education Professional secondary education Secondary education No primaty education No information about education
Russia 122839484 717481 27236403 5468534 43896587 41209389 716815 3594275
Altai Republic 157110 1001 29105 5050 54600 64068 1489 1797
Archangelsk Oblast 1035157 5796 175282 32837 453622 352322 3769 11529
Buryatia Republic 777380 6596 161452 36736 268344 291020 5866 7366
Zabaikalsky Krai 892405 5161 140666 31903 292910 404381 7641 9743
Irkutsk Oblast 1996318 10678 387957 86817 701346 740634 14574 54312
Kamchatsky Krai 270143 972 61205 11375 102266 75616 633 18076
Karelia Republic 546728 2343 102234 17424 221035 183437 2656 17599
Komi Republic 750846 3623 130237 25399 310185 246636 4274 30492
Krasnoyarsk krai 2372997 9343 469840 99814 847336 869857 15940 60867
Magadan Oblast 132263 502 30821 7857 45815 43708 430 3130
Murmansk Oblast 674381 3696 137863 24270 261059 193051 2028 52414
Nenets AO 33095 312 5238 903 14151 12204 215 72
Perm Krai 2204317 12078 351836 73751 869897 792109 14010 90636
Primorsky Krai 1674781 7556 341687 71028 599281 540305 6440 108484
Sakha Republic 749771 7309 154844 37633 268120 262130 4456 15279
Sakhalin Oblast 419625 1558 78950 14193 162396 145731 2208 14589
Tyva Republic 219525 1618 33172 6693 82779 92122 1708 1433
Tyumen Oblast 2765428 16729 618191 125967 1013170 850301 12915 128155
Khabarovsk Krai 1146538 7687 268148 53315 421798 363007 4135 28448
Khanty-Mansi AO 1237454 8011 289018 59485 456985 351348 2518 70089
Chukotsky AO 39910 102 8353 1115 13750 14505 232 1853
Yamal-Nenets AO 415008 2397 108201 20025 156198 116870 1654 9663

 

*AO – Autonomous okrug (district)

 

Sweden

Educational Attainment of the Population: Population 16-74 years old in Northern counties

(Statistics Sweden)

Area 2003 2008 2013
Västerbotten county
Primary and secondary education less than 9 years 17,892 12,262 8,167
Primary and secondary education 9-10 years 22,850 24,479 22,184
Upper secondary education, 2 years or less 54,113 50,197 45,978
Upper secondary education 3 years 32,646 39,052 44,521
Post-secondary education, less than 3 years 26,605 26,243 28,041
Post-secondary education 3 years or more 27,596 33,511 37,916
Post-graduate education 2,020 2,563 3,130
No information about level of educational attainment 1,736 2,353 2,942
Norrbotten county
Primary and secondary education less than 9 years 19,481 13,306 8,587
Primary and secondary education 9-10 years 23,847 25,181 22,613
Upper secondary education, 2 years or less 61,501 57,250 52,573
Upper secondary education 3 years 33,166 38,543 44,539
Post-secondary education, less than 3 years 22,679 21,861 23,333
Post-secondary education 3 years or more 21,383 25,812 28,926
Post-graduate education 752 1,022 1,232
No information about level of educational attainment 1,736 2,201 2,593
Sweden
Primary and secondary education less than 9 years 675,213 515,236 396,175
Primary and secondary education 9-10 years 953,411 1,019,230 959,061
Upper secondary education, 2 years or less 1,700,932 1,617,994 1,535,188
Upper secondary education 3 years 1,205,500 1,404,852 1,605,392
Post-secondary education, less than 3 years 837,377 879,311 987,409
Post-secondary education 3 years or more 930,142 1,161,086 1,377,169
Post-graduate education 51,550 61,983 72,562
No information about level of educational attainment 107,994 133,726 146,600

 

OECD Education at a Glance 2014

  1. Canada
  2. Denmark
  3. Finland
  4. Iceland
  5. Norway
  6. Russian Federation
  7. Sweden
  8. United States