The magazine QuickJapan vol. 81 published interviews with the authors Ohba and Obata, and the editor Soichi Aida. Aida stated that:
Like how the number of players who play a sport would increase after a manga on the sport gets popular, I do think about people who would think "I might try drawing a manga" after reading Bakuman. If Bakuman does well, we would see more people aspiring to be a manga artist. If we have more manga artist candidates, the future of Jump is bright. As an editor, I do dream about those stuff.
He might be drawing an analogy with how the population of Go players increased significantly after Obata's earlier work Hikaru no Go. More competitors + survival of the fittest = only the best of the best can remain... that's the editor's point of view.
Meanwhile, Obata has stated that he has always loved Fujiko Fujio A's Manga Michi (a semi-autobiographical work about the Fujiko Fujio duo), and the idea for Bakuman started from wanting to do a Manga Michi of his own. So, you can say that it was less about "bringing in fresh air to the industry" for the authors, at least; but there was no reason to keep the editors and the publisher from anticipating it.
As for the effect on the industry, the number of young people bringing their manga to Jump office did increase, according to the QJ magazine.