Innovation and Policy – February 6, 2018

Happy Wednesday, PPGR enthusiasts!

Innovation has many faces. Depending on the transformation, changes can be exciting, concerning, confusing, or a mix of all three. Innovation is often risky, but it tends to be this risk that offers the largest possibility of reward. Policy makers must operate within these uncertain boundaries, deciding what, when, and if a policy response is appropriate. This week, we’ve collected some articles that highlight this dilemma.

This week’s Morning Brief was prepared by Katerina Stamadianos. Sign up here to receive the Morning Brief directly to your inbox.

Innovation and Policy 
  • Adding to the long-standing debate over whether the mature themes of video games are appropriate for younger audiences, the emergence of ‘loot crates’ within these platforms introduces a new concern: the exposure of youth to gambling. Read on to learn how loot crates have transformed the gaming sphere and what they may mean for policy makers. [Smolinski and Phillips/PPGR]
  • It’s been over thirty years since the Toronto Harbour was designated an Area of Concern by the Government of Canada. Since 1986, the harbour has suffered from water quality issues due to high levels of contamination from storm water overflows and spills. Ian T. D. Thomson suggests that bioharvesting ribbed mussels may be the innovative answer to this long-standing issue. [Thomson/PPGR]
  • Part of what makes the sharing economy an interesting policy case is the manner in which companies such as Uber and Airbnb have utilized tech to innovate an established mode of business: peer-to-peer marketplaces. Diverging from the humble origins of yard sales and farmers markets, the peer-to-peer market has exploded due to its accessibility and ease of use, but with its rise in popularity comes several policy issues. [Klain and Maloney/PPGR]
  • The fall 2017 announcement that Google’s parent company Alphabet would develop part of Toronto’s waterfront into a mixed-use neighborhood supported by urban design and digital technology was celebrated as a new age of innovation in city planning. While many are excited by the project, Susan Crawford warns that the City of Toronto may have been on the losing end of a high-stakes deal. [Crawford/Wired]
  • No longer a thing of science-fiction, driverless cars are a reality in which auto companies are investing and for which policy makers are preparing. But while the majority of car accidents today are caused by human error, driverless technology has not yet evaded concerns over physical safety. Additionally, issues of data collection and cybersecurity may cause apprehension amongst citizens. Bob McDonald explains how the road ahead for driverless technology is rockier than expected. [McDonald/CBC]
We hope these articles got you thinking about innovation in Canada and beyond. The next morning brief will make it to your inbox on February 14th!

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