The rise and fall of CyberNB: Not the same as the cybersecurity sector
Let me state right up front I have no real idea why CyberNB went bust. I know what happened as it has been reported in the news. Why things went sour with GNB and other issues, I don’t have any special insight. But I will say a couple of things.
One, I still believe in the concept of setting up ‘teams’ to work on larger, complex sector initiatives. Ideally these teams would be made up of players from across stakeholder groups - not just government. For example, if you wanted to grow a cybersecurity cluster there could be merit to pulling together PSE, research organizations, government and industry to figure out the best model and put it in place. Without any alignment, you end up with ONB out hustling companies to move here. UNB is doing interesting things. Maybe NBCC/CCNB. Ignite is doing stuff. There are incubators/accelerators. There are private sector players - Beauceron, etc. I still see value in trying to work together on a strategy and then delivery. But maybe my teamwork - strength in numbers - the whole is greater than the sum of the parts - is considered lame in the current context. We seem to be living in a you do your thing and I’ll do mine environment - when it comes to sector development.
Two, the other issue is that the demise of CyberNB doesn’t mean the demise of cybersecurity in New Brunswick. As I have said many times before this is one of the most competitive sectors right now -every jurisdiction wants in, so we should be thinking hard about how we differentiate ourselves - but we have some core strengths and assets and I suspect there are still folks working away in the background here to try and move things forward.
I would encourage my counterparts in economic development organizations not to give up on collaboration. We used to say that one of the strengths of being a small province is that you can more easily bring all the players to the table. We need to amplify that idea not let it wane.