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Can culture act as an enabler to innovation? Exploring the Germany-Ontario experience regarding the introduction of green energy
The Journal on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics
  • Bill Irwin, Huron At Western
  • Jan Klakurka, Huron At Western
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This paper explores the role that societal culture may play in terms of acting as an inhibitor or enabler when creating conditions conducive to innovative enterprise. To further understanding of this concept, the paper’s authors explore different cultural influences and traditions of the country of Germany and the Canadian province of Ontario against the backdrop of the introduction of a government green energy policy and how local business reacts to new opportunities forthcoming from this shift in policy direction. The authors contend that the current Ontario psyche has contributed to an overall cultural drag on innovative activities. They demonstrate that in no place is this cultural impact more evident than the apparent lack of home-grown innovative activity surrounding green energy entrepreneurship; where, in spite of progressive and favourable provincial government policy, continued manufacturing growth is led by offshore companies The Ontario experience is in sharp contrast to current and historical German activity, when it comes to local innovation and advances in green energy. While Germany officially enacted their green energy act at the turn of the last century, experts agree that the German tenure with going green is in fact 35 to 40 years in the making. Although it has been contended that unique historical conditions such as postwar reconstruction and the reunification of the former East and West Germany have been significant contributing factors to Germany’s embracing of sustainable energy, the authors of this paper contend that cultural factors such as the German sense of naturfreund; an overwhelming sense of being a nature-lover, may also play a significant role. In their exploration the authors build upon Hofstede’s cultural dimension theory unpacking specific cultural components, as they compare actions and responses made by German and Ontarian policy-makers and business decision-makers.

Citation Information

2015. Irwin, Bill and Jan Klakurka, “Can culture act as an enabler to innovation? Exploring the Germany-Ontario experience regarding the introduction of green energy”, Journal on Systemics, Cybernetics and Informatics: 13 (1), 42-47