Unfortunately for Newfoundland, with a small population it’s difficult to be all over the place in what you want to be good at. Every talented cold water engineer (a natural fit for Newfoundland) is a loss of a talented computer programmer (not so much).
Innovators must have real problem-solving mindsets, noted panel member Emad Rizkalla, CEO of St. John’s-based Bluedrop Performance Learning. “And we have to solve unique problems, because we can’t be a me-too economy on an island in the North Atlantic.” When you’re either first or best, he says, “You can be a thought leader, and you can do it from anywhere in the world.” To demonstrate his case, Rizkalla said Bluedrop has produced custom courseware for partners such as Cisco, the TSX and Johns Hopkins Hospital. “Collaborate with someone who matters,” he advises. “It’s easier for me to collaborate with Johns Hopkins [in Baltimore, Md.] than to try to get Gander General Hospital as my first customer.”