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Introduction

This is fast becoming a knowledge-oriented world. Creation and distribution of wealth, jobs, education, and health will depend greatly on the ability of a society to make use of knowledge and convert it to products, services, and income. The so-called knowledge economy is characterized by unprecedented competition among jurisdictions and countries, and less importance is given to geography or low wages for finding niches in global value-chains. Each jurisdiction must develop its own strategies for entering the knowledge economy. These strategies should be tested by seeing how they would foster new knowledge-based enterprises and expand markets.

Knowledge Assessment is a diagnostic method to support this type of strategy. It identifies hurdles to access to and use of knowledge and adoption of new technologies, and proposes actions to improve knowledge strategies and infrastructure. It does not try to predict the future, and it is not a substitute for developing a common, progressive vision. Rather, it focuses on eliminating impediments, both to thought and action, so that rational and responsive technology development can take place.

The concept of Knowledge Assessment arose explicitly at a symposium in 1994 on the topic Marshaling Technology for Development,1 sponsored jointly by the National Research Council (NRC) and the World Bank. Several speakers emphasized the impact that new technologies are having on business practices, spurring the development of new products and services and creating niches in the

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Marshaling Technology for Development, National Research Council, 1995.



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--> 1 Introduction This is fast becoming a knowledge-oriented world. Creation and distribution of wealth, jobs, education, and health will depend greatly on the ability of a society to make use of knowledge and convert it to products, services, and income. The so-called knowledge economy is characterized by unprecedented competition among jurisdictions and countries, and less importance is given to geography or low wages for finding niches in global value-chains. Each jurisdiction must develop its own strategies for entering the knowledge economy. These strategies should be tested by seeing how they would foster new knowledge-based enterprises and expand markets. Knowledge Assessment is a diagnostic method to support this type of strategy. It identifies hurdles to access to and use of knowledge and adoption of new technologies, and proposes actions to improve knowledge strategies and infrastructure. It does not try to predict the future, and it is not a substitute for developing a common, progressive vision. Rather, it focuses on eliminating impediments, both to thought and action, so that rational and responsive technology development can take place. The concept of Knowledge Assessment arose explicitly at a symposium in 1994 on the topic Marshaling Technology for Development,1 sponsored jointly by the National Research Council (NRC) and the World Bank. Several speakers emphasized the impact that new technologies are having on business practices, spurring the development of new products and services and creating niches in the 1   Marshaling Technology for Development, National Research Council, 1995.

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--> Prince Edward Island at a Glance Status: Province of Canada Land Area: 5,660 Km2 Population (1996): 134,557 Urban Population: 59,460 Rural Population: 75,097 Population Density: 23.8 per sq. km (highest in Canada) Working Age Population (15 and over), 1997: 107,300 Labor Force, 1997: 71,100 Employment Rate: 56.4% Unemployment Rate: 14.9% (second highest in Canada) Capital: City of Charlottetown, Population 32,531 Legislative Assembly: 27 members Counties and their Population, 1996   Kings: 19,561 Queens 70,430 Prince: 44,566 Climate:   Summer average daytime high, July and August: 23.0 degrees Celsius Winter average daytime high, January and February: -3.5 degrees Celsius Average yearly snowfall 275 centimeters global economy for a new class of players, including formerly developing countries and specialized jurisdictions within larger countries. The Bank asked the NRC to develop a "Knowledge Assessment [process] . . . to assess a country's ability to capture and generate knowledge, turn it into action, and become . . . a 'learning nation."'2 The National Research Council formed the Committee on Knowledge Assessment, which included among its members senior scientists, engineers, and executives from university, government, and the private sector, to help design the methodology. The result was published by the National Academy Press3, and it led NRC to approach several developing countries to initiate a pilot project to test the effectiveness of the process. 2   Jean-François Rischard, quoted in Prospectus for National Knowledge Assessment, National Research Council, 1996. P. 6. 3   Prospectus for National Knowledge Assessment, National Research Council, 1996.

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--> Transportation:     Airports in Charlottetown and Summerside Confederation Bridge to New Brunswick Ferries to Caribou, Nova Scotia, and to Grindstone, Magdalen Islands GDP, 1997: $2,943 million   Average annual growth in GDP, 1992 -1997: PEI: 4.7%; Canada: 3.8% International exports     1992: $174 million   1997: $424 million   Distribution of employment, 1997 PEI Canada Primary sector: 12.6% 5.1% Manufacturing: 9.4% 15.5% Public sector (including education, health care) 26.8% 22.3% Other high-knowledge services* 11.5% 20.3% Other 39.7% 36.8% Educational Levels, 1996: PEI Canada Degree 12.9% 17.3% Diploma or Certificate 31.4% 30.7% Some Post-Secondary 8.6% 9.6% Secondary Graduation 18.6% 21.6% Less than Secondary Graduation 28.5% 20.8% *Includes transportation and communications, storage and utilities; finance, insurance, and real estate; and services to business. At the same time, Prince Edward Island was beginning to explore its own role in the global knowledge economy. The Institute of Island Studies at the University of Prince Edward Island was leading a three-year public policy initiative to explore strategies for self-reliant economic development for the small islands of the North Atlantic. In a related initiative, the Institute planned a one-day public forum on the knowledge economy to explore opportunities for export of knowledge-based services. In the process of assembling an agenda for the event, a consultant to the Institute found a reference on the World-wide Web to the NRC Knowledge Assessment program. The staff director of the NRC Committee on Knowledge Assessment was invited to visit PEI in July 1997 to discuss the methodology with a wide array of stakeholders. Shortly afterwards, the agreement between the Institute of Island Studies and the Committee to carry out a Knowledge Assessment in Prince Edward Island was formalized. The Institute concluded that the methodology, although intended for developing countries, held considerable promise to build a better understanding of the knowledge economy

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--> and its potential for PEI. The NRC Committee felt that PEI was an ideal venue to test the Knowledge Assessment methodology, where it would not be tied to the promise of a development bank loan and would receive the critical scrutiny normally accorded by jurisdictions to proposals to carry out actions for their own good with their own money. The Knowledge Assessment was supported financially by a number of partners: the Knowledge Economy Partnership, an innovative alliance of the federal and provincial governments, PEI's academic institutions, and the private sector; the Atlantic Canada Opportunities Agency (ACOA); Human Resources Development Canada (HRDC); PEI Executive Council Office; and the province's telecommunications firm, Island Tel. In-kind support also was received throughout the project from PEI's two post-secondary institutions, the University of Prince Edward Island and Holland College. The purpose of this report is to describe the barriers to development of a knowledge economy in Prince Edward Island and suggest some proposed initiatives for creating opportunities for knowledge-based enterprises, as they arose from the Knowledge Assessment methodology. Thus the report is directed at the stakeholders in Prince Edward Island, including the educational institutions, the private sector, and the government, and is intended to be used as a basis for action. The evaluation of the methodology itself, based on this report, will be presented elsewhere.