Ask Not What Innovation Can do for You; Ask What You Can do for Innovation

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.