A nation focused only on the present generation would not invest in the future. Why pay higher taxes and prices to support government and corporate investments in research, education, and infrastructure when the benefits accrue to future generation? In other words, innovation is fundamentally a selfless act: it’s about giving up some of our current consumption for future innovation benefits, some of which, at least, will benefit our children. You might say, “so what.” Here’s what. There is a growing selfishness and preference for current consumption today in America and around the world. And this plays out it in the two critical drivers of innovation: creation of knowledge (e.g., research and development) and the presence of large markets to ensure adequate revenue to reinvest back into knowledge creation. Both are under threat today.
Ready for an Uncertain Future? Revitalizing the Organizational Skill Set
Growth? Recession? Disruptive change? New competition? Social unrest? Rarely has even the near term future seemed so uncertain. Market-leading firms must be ready for whatever is to come. ITIF president Rob Atkinson will present at this one-day conference to iscuss how firms are revitalizing their workforces to prepare for a highly uncertain business future where increasingly “the readiness is all.”
Revenge of the Luddites
In a world where innovation is consciously limited, incomes will increase more slowly and technological progress to improve health and provide new products and services will be impaired. If Americans want the country to regain its position as global innovation leader, replacing neo-Ludditism with good old fashioned American risk taking and faith in the future needs to be at the top of the agenda.
Europe's Real Innovation Challenge
Europe and America possess real innovation strengths. But unless they recognize the global nature of the innovation competitiveness challenge, and respond to it, we must expect slow growth, anemic job creation and rising budget deficits to be the dominant features of tomorrow, wrote Rob Atkinson in this special op-ed of the Spring 2013 issue of Europe's World.