Academic journal article Research-Technology Management

Innovation Critical, Report Says

Academic journal article Research-Technology Management

Innovation Critical, Report Says

Article excerpt

Innovation is critical to economic recovery and future U.S. competitiveness, and the focus on short-term cost-cutting risks is deflecting attention from this crucial economic priority, a new report from The Conference Board says.

Attention and resources must be devoted to better understanding, measuring and fostering innovation, according to Innovation and U.S. Competitiveness: Reevaluating the Contributors to Growth, a study produced with funding from Microsoft Corp.

"Going forward, an economy's competitive edge will depend on its ability to maintain a superior talent pool and knowledge base, along with an environment that encourages and rewards new ideas, products and processes," said Bart van Ark, chief economist of The Conference Board and one of the report's authors. "Our report lays this out for the United States--but it's a universal truth."

New Measurements Needed

Innovation and Competitiveness calls for a more systematic analytical approach to understanding how innovations come about at the country and the company levels, with new measuring tools that appropriately capture expenditures on knowledge and idea generation. Current national and firm-level accounting structures, typically more appropriate for the past's reliance on bricks and mortar, often treat these expenditures as costs rather than investments--and economies and firms generally try to decrease costs and increase measurable ROIs. …

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