Academic journal article Advances in Management

America's Growing Innovation Gap

Academic journal article Advances in Management

America's Growing Innovation Gap

Article excerpt

Abstract

Innovation is defined as the introduction of something new: a new idea, method, or device; it is the development of new products, services, or processes. America has always had an economy that is reliant on innovation to allow for prosperity. However, over the past few years, innovation in our nation has seemingly been on the decline: educational struggles, a lack of technological advancements, and a decline in medical innovation all point to a disturbing trend. It seems that today a television or radio cannot be turned on without some statement being made about America's steady slide away from innovation.

A recent study ranked the U.S. sixth among the top 40 industrialized nations in innovative competitiveness, but 40th out of 40 in "the rate of change in innovation capacity" over the past decade. The ranking, published last year by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation, measured what countries are doing-in higher education, investment in research and development, corporate tax rates and more-to become more innovative in the future. The U.S. ranked dead last.24 In the past, our country promoted, encouraged and even applauded innovation from everyone. Sadly, in recent years, the people of America have begun to remove themselves from the idea of innovation as a driving force for growth. But some groups are pushing back and they have big ideas to tackle the growing innovation gap.

Keywords: Innovation, growth, gap, USA.

Introduction

Education: The Key Innovation Factor: President Obama, in his latest State of the Union address, began laying the foundation for an in-depth plan to close the innovation gap and revive the sleeping industries that the United States once displayed prominently. In his outline, the President highlighted the three foundations on which American innovation can be restored: investment in the building blocks of American innovation, promotion of competitive markets that spur productive entrepreneurship and catalyzing the breakthroughs for national priorities. President Obama once said, "Cutting the deficit by cutting our investments in innovation and education is like lightening an overloaded airplane by removing its engine

The President may see what the people of America do not, that innovation is the only way to move forward in today's ever changing society and times. America's economy used to see innovation as a way to progress towards a better future of technology and opportunities for the advancement of our nation as a whole. However, despite America's long and enviable track record of successful innovation, there are disturbing indications that we are now starting to lose our edge in this critical area as well-at precisely the time innovation has emerged as the absolute key to global competitiveness. According to a report issued in July 2011 by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation (ITIF), over the past decade the United States dropped from first to fourth in innovative competitiveness among the world's top industrialized nations. In terms of progress and rate of change, the news is significantly worse. Of the 44 nations and regions surveyed by the ITIF, the United States ranks 43rd in terms of progress over the last decade, ahead of just one country: Italy.

Why, then, in recent years, is the gap between Americans and the innovation they are producing growing exponentially? Why are other countries like China, Japan and Germany, seemingly pushing past the United States of America and making the innovation gap seem even larger? China and India, two nations which have always been in the shadow of the United States, have now begun to become the shadow that is covering America's innovation. According to Bloomberg Business Week, Shanghai, China has become a leadmg innovative city in the form of industrial parks, subways, housing, airports and riverfront development because of these advancements, China has managed to triple per capita income in a smgle generation and slowly ease three-hundred million individuals out of poverty'. …

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