America’s current economic problems have been years, even decades, in the making. Developments over the last 20 years have created a perfect storm that has undermined our economy’s resiliency to cyclical downturns, let alone against near-catastrophes such as we experienced in late 2008. The hard truth yet to be accepted by the public and elected officials is that there is no one blanket solution or quick fix. Huge federal injections of cash over the past several years failed to create sustainable job growth.
Clearly, America needs a comprehensive economic recovery plan, benefitting all Americans. The plan must be immediately actionable, with measurable results for continuous job creation and economic growth. With bold implementation, confidence will be restored at the level of both small and large business, as well as among consumers, catalyzing economic recovery. Any true recovery plan must contain these essential building blocks: Investments to foster innovation, entrepreneurship and expansion of businesses in areas of national priority, e.g., health care, defense and homeland security, renewable energy, aging urban infrastructure and public transportation; improved K-12 education and work-force training; and reform of onerous litigation and regulations.
In the 1970s, Americans readily bought the argument made by futurists that manufacturing was doomed, with the service sector pointing the way to a “labor-free” future. No surprise, then, that manufacturing began a downward spiral from its high-water mark of 30 percent of GDP to its current, meager 12.2 percent. The service sector has not, and never will, come to the rescue. Rather than be forced to innovate, US companies have been encouraged to outsource manufacturing, further weakening America’s economic base. Today, America faces fierce competition. Nations like Japan, Korea, Taiwan and Singapore, as well as European countries such as Sweden and Switzerland, have developed policies and invested heavily to grow manufacturing above 20 percent of GDP, with a deliberate focus on high tech, rather than commodity products.
The world is rapidly moving from the knowledge based economy to the innovation economy. Success in this dynamic global environment requires an enlightened cadre of engineers, scientists and managers who have depth in their specific disciplines, as well as a keen understanding of how their work meets the needs of society, business, industry and government. This will be the new generation of innovators and entrepreneurs who become tomorrow’s faculty and leaders in business, industry and government.
Innovation is the process of designing,inventing, developing and implementing new or improved products, services, processes, systems and organizational models and structures for the purpose of creating new value for the university, community, the region and the nation. *
There are startup entrepreneurs who realize the value of a new enterprise, as well as entrepreneurs who realize the value of innovation for their university, company, or government agency. Entrepreneurs are people of vision and courage, capable of managing risk to create value. Nurturing tomorrow’s innovators and entrepreneurs requires an enriched university environment attained by bridging the culture of academe with the culture of the marketplace while building on the strengths of both.
Business and industry must thrive in global competition which entails market dynamics, investor expectations and government regulations. Large corporations and small and medium-sized enterprises (SME’s), encounter difficulties in partnering with universities because of the gap between the culture of academe and the realities of the marketplace. Innovation Strategies International (ISI) helps organizations harvest the value of their research for revenue growth. ISI assists universities and businesses in establishing partnerships for their mutual benefit. ISI works with government agencies to design and evaluate R&D investment and educational strategies that advance entrepreneurship and innovation for economic growth and social well- being. ISI assists companies in partnering with other enterprises to achieve innovation in the global marketplace.
*Modified from Exec Summary of Measuring Innovation & Its Impact on the Economy.US Dept of Commerce.01/08.