If I could only write one column to promote economic development
strategy in Oklahoma, it would be on the importance of creating an
environment that supports innovation.
Why innovation? Because innovation is the deep-running current
that moves below the surface of the economy. Sometimes the surface
water of the economy can be so calm that it looks like a glass
mirror, while at other times it can be so turbulent that it
resembles the perfect storm. But regardless of what is happening on
the surface, the deeper current is unaffected. Like deep-water
currents, the long-term strength of the U.S. economy moves through
the underlying power of innovation.
The short-term economic metrics of corporate earnings, jobs, and
business cycles are measured in weeks, months and occasionally
years. These short-term indicators can represent acute pain and
Long-term economic development metrics like industrial base,
personal per capita income, education levels, birth rates, teen-age
pregnancies, and infrastructure are measured in decades.
Make no mistake about it -- is no chicken and egg question about
what is most important in affecting change either for the positive
or negative. All aspects of life, whether social, governmental, or
educational are dependent upon the economy, and the health of our
economy is directly related to the strength of innovative capacity.
When developing government policy and allocating scarce
resources, those decisions -- even in the name of humanity -- should
be made in the blinding light of what effect the action will have on
the long-term health of the economy. Even more specifically, the
questions should revolve around how policy and strategic decisions
affect our capacity for innovation -- the making of a change in
something established -- new ideas and new methods.
Without question, innovation is the underlying, fundamental
factor that drives change -- not only in the economy but, also, in
government, education and social systems.
Innovation is a social process of combining resources such as
research, financial capital, infrastructure, human capital,
infrastructure, and entrepreneurs. However, even with the presence
of these resources in abundance, innovation is not guaranteed.
Innovation results from an attitude starting with an individual
and spreading to groups, organizations, institutions and
communities. Individuals have a responsibility to make a conscious
decision to either embrace innovation or not.
Those who choose to embrace innovation don't have to conceive the
ideas that lead to change; they only have to be part of the process.
For example, you as an individual can simply offer a set of
resources to the effort, such as what you know, whom you know, your
reputation, and your energy. …