A collision of trust, innovation, and politics

The 2024 Edelman Trust Barometer reveals a new paradox at the heart of society: rapid innovation which offers the promise of a new era of prosperity is exacerbating trust issues, leading to further societal instability and political polarization.

In a year marked by natural events and geopolitical crises, Canadians maintained neutral trust towards institutions in general; however, significant increases in the belief that business and government leaders are purposely trying to mislead people could degrade our neutral position. When it comes to innovation, concerns about governments’ inability to effectively regulate innovations as well as the fear that science has become politicized is putting innovation at risk.


The decline of authority

Trust in government and business leaders remains low while peers and fellow citizens keep growing as trusted sources of information.

Regulation concerns

Respondents question governments’ ability to regulate innovations and strongly reject Artificial Intelligence as a safe and beneficial innovation.

Finding the truth about innovation

While expressing some concerns around politicization of science and its lack of clear communications, Canadians take the matter into their own hands and will turn to a range of sources to get the truth on innovation.

Restoring innovation trust

For institutions to be seen as good managers of change, their action plan is simple: listen to citizens’ concerns and answer their questions. 

Restoring Trust in the Promise of Innovation


1. Implementation is as important as invention

Mismanaged innovations are as likely to ignite backlash as advance society. With breakthroughs like AI, vaccines, and green energy on the line, explaining the science and managing impacts is essential.     


2. Meet people where they are

Respondents expect to find information online and in traditional media channels, and through both scientists and people like them. This balanced approach should be at the core of any communication around innovation.    


3. Science must integrate with society

Scientists are still trusted—but increasingly subject to public scrutiny. To build trust in expert recommendations, explain the research, engage in dialogue, and harness peer voices as advocates.    


4. Innovation as a dialogue

When people feel in control over how innovations affect their lives, they are more likely to embrace them, not resist them. Listen for concerns, be open to questions.    

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The 2024 Edelman Trust Barometer is the firm’s 24th annual survey. The research was produced by the Edelman Trust Institute and consisted of 30-minute online interviews conducted between November 3 and November 22, 2023. Learn more >



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