2021 Shortlist

2021 Shortlist

Announcing the 2021 Donner Prize Shortlist

Innovation in Real Places (Oxford University Press)

One of the many strengths of the Breznitz book is the differentiation between invention and innovation. He focuses on diverse types of innovation and the role of governments to facilitate – and not impede – the innovation process. He refreshingly considers the need to focus on real economic expansion versus venture capital and financial engineering. Breznitz presents ideas on how best to support innovation, and, as importantly, what not to do. 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.

Dan Breznitz is Professor and Munk Chair of Innovation in the Munk School of Global Affairs and Public Policy, Clifford Clark Visiting Economist at the federal Department of Finance and Co-Director, CIFAR Innovation, Equity & Future of Prosperity.

Value(s) (Signal/M&S)

Carney’s sweeping book draws a distinction between “values” (the general objectives by which social and economic outcomes are evaluated) and “value” (price, monetary value). He measures these on three current critically important topics – climate change, pandemics, and financial market stability, weaving them seamlessly into the arc of values and value. Although the topics are complex, the writing is clear, concise, incorporating varying points of view, adding focus, and humanizing these large issues. Highly relevant and timely, the book offers Carney’s insights for specific and constructive policy suggestions to achieve a values-based economy and society.

Mark Carney is currently the UN Special Envoy on Climate Action as well as Vice Chair of Brookfield Asset Management.  He was previously Governor of the Bank of England (2013-2020) and Governor of the Bank of Canada (2008 to 2013).

Stand On Guard (University of Toronto Press)

At a time when threats to our security and values are becoming more menacing every day, Stephanie Carvin’s book is extraordinarily timely. Accessible, with a minimum of acronyms that characterize the field of intelligence, she describes the different facets of Canada’s policies on security intelligence, and strengths and weaknesses of the various agencies involved. Carvin covers economic espionage, cyber terrorism, and does a deep dive into clandestine foreign influence. She argues that Canada has largely turned a blind eye to this threat. She points out that national security has evolved from espionage and acts of physical terrorism to a modern approach across many fronts, and that Canadian policies have, worryingly, not kept pace.

Stephanie Carvin is currently associate professor of International Relations at the Norman Patterson School of International Affairs at Carleton University in Ottawa.  She has a PhD from London School of Economics, and is a former security analyst working on threat assessments to high levels of government.

Indigenomics (New Society Publishers)

Hilton outlines an issue that is hugely important and relevant to the future of Canada, its economy, its society and, in equal measure, the economy and society of Indigenous Peoples. She shows that Indigenous economic empowerment is not only imperative, and in the interests of the entire country, but also completely achievable, given the real momentum on display across Indigenous communities. She provides context for the bad federal policies, dating back to 1876, that have led to the current situation, and suggests solutions. Hilton’s book is the first that pulls together the whole picture, setting out a vision for Indigenous leadership, participation, and contribution to Canadian economy.

Carol Ann Hilton MBA is CEO and founder of the Indigenomics Institute and most recently the Global Center of Indigenomics.   An adjunct professor at the Royal Roads University’s School of Business, Carol Anne serves as a director on the BC Digital Supercluster.

Neglected No More (Random House of Canada)

The issue of eldercare in Canada is urgent and mammoth. Most Canadians were aware that our eldercare system was headed to the cliff, even before COVID-19 hit. In this compelling, articulate, and accessible book, veteran journalist André Picard outlines the challenges the system faces (societal dynamics, political barriers, the complication of thirteen different provincial/territorial health care systems). The book is in part a public policy analysis (what needs to change now), a call to action (how long will we let this important and ethical issue persist?) and a warning – prepare yourself and your family for this inevitable and difficult journey. Every MP, Cabinet Minister, and civil servant would be well advised to read this book.

André Picard is health columnist for the Globe and Mail, author of five bestselling books and winner of numerous awards for his journalism, including the Michener Award for Meritorious Public Service Journalism and  the first “Public Health Hero” by the Canadian Public Health Association.