The Alberta Government is merging the four existing corporations into one entity with four subdivisions. The leaner entity is aimed at saving administrative money to the tune of $2 million a year…and it should.
The governance has changed too. The new 10 person Board was appointed in mid April and is Chaired by Judy Fairburn, the current Executive Vice-President Business Innovation with Cenovus Energy.
Six of the new Board are women including Arlene Dickenson of Dragon Den television fame…although her credentials are much more substantial than that.
The next challenge is to ensure that the changes sustain and enhance the efficiency and effectiveness of the nexus between the new entity and the various innovators, researchers and job creating opportunity seekers Alberta Innovates already collaborates with, and hopefully even more new ideas come knocking on their door.
I am optimistic that this will save money, improve innovation and generate positive outcomes, including some significant level of 21st century jobs. Lets hope this does not become an administrative rabbit hole during the transition that discourages innovation instead of encouraging it. Time will tell on the reorg and the standing up time of the mandate for the new entity. But like I said, I am optimistic.
Speaking of mandate, the New Alberta Innovates will focus on building Alberta’s strengths in health, environment, energy, food, fibre and emerging technologies. Timely for the health care initiative alignment with the City of Edmonton’s recently announced “Canada’s Health City” economic development focus.
Lots of work is in process on environment and energy that will hopefully continue. Food innovation is fascinating and along with fibre, does not always get the attention it deserves. Maybe they will now. Emerging technologies are always the bigger risk areas but the rewards are also greater when the work turns out to be successful.
Another good new accountability policy move is the set up of a performance measures framework. It is intended to “ensure Albertans receive the greatest return on their research and innovation investment.” These performance measure results will be reported to the government annually and made public one would presume.
What is more the Auditor General has been invited in early to “assess the intended outcomes of the performance measurement framework and to examine whether the necessary processes are in place to achieve the desired results.”
Good idea to get the Auditor General into the picture sooner so you get the wisdom of the office but also so they get a better handle on what the new entity is aspiring to do for Alberta’s benefit.
This is one of the major outcomes of the government review of agencies boards and commissions. Pretty sure it is not the last of the big changes pending.