India Calling

CBC’s Jacques Poitras recently spent a week in India studying the rise of call centres, business process and IT outsourcing in that country.

Most troubling is Peter Mesheau’s comments (Minister of BNB). He spends most of his time lately disclaiming economic development in New Brunswick. If Mesheau was smart, he would study the India example in detail and learn from what they have done. Further, he would get on a plane and fly over there and convince these outsourcers that New Brunswick is the place for their ‘nearshore’ operations. I find it absolutely incredible that these very large Indian IT firms are setting up their Canadian operations in Toronto – the highest cost location in Canada – right under our noses.

This is a sobering wake up call for places like New Brunswick. We need to strip away all the biases about ‘low wages’, ‘mundane work’, etc. This is about India defining a clear, competitive advantage in the world and then going and getting investment. Silicon Valley did the same thing around higher end jobs and other regions such as Ireland have also been very successful at growing clusters of industry just by being deliberate about the ‘product’ development and the sales and marketing of the region.

It’s a bit bizarre that it takes a CBC journalist to get BNB interested in India. Journalists traditionally report news – but in the economic development realm, I guess Jacques figures he has to go find/make the news out there because there’s not much happening here.

Listen to his documentary here.