How A National Innovation Policy Could Give U.S. An Edge (Maybe)

“This idea of innovation as a new business process is of course older than modern capitalism itself,” writes Silicon Valley venture capitalist Len Baker. We speak of innovation to ad nuseaum when it is really “that thing” business is expected to do.

The ideas below on how to support innovation on a national scale are similar to China’s Innovation policy. In fact, such a policy is how China secured Apple. I could go on and on. A national innovation policy isn’t new in the U.S. The rail road not to mention every major event was subsidized by the federal government.

Fareed Zakaria wrote about the need of a national innovation policy quite some time ago. Read the quote below from Len Baker. Sounds surprisingly similar to Disruptive innovation. 

“My favorite example is Isaac Merritt Singer, who invented the first commercially successful sewing machine. The real benefit to society was that he was the first person to sell to women, because prior to this it was assumed that women couldn’t operate machinery. His company invented the installment plan and the trade-in. That’s innovation. Think of eBay: eBay didn’t create new technology. It used technology and revolutionized the way people do things.” This idea of innovation as a new business process is of course older than modern capitalism itself. The system of accounting called double-entry bookkeeping, invented in Renaissance Italy, was powerfully connected to the development of trade and commerce. New ideas in all kinds of fields can fuel economic growth. Future of U.S. Innovation: Can Americans Keep Pace? 

“Below are just some of the prescriptions the panelists, who included IdeaLab’s Bill Gross and Harvard University Professor Clayton Christensen, offered to lawmakers for helping entrepreneurs and small businesses.

Offer matching funds. Gross, a long-time entrepreneur who runs an incubator in Silicon Valley, proposed that the government offer matching funds to fledgling startups. “Its probably easier to raise $1 million once you have clients and traction, than it is to raise $10 or $20k to just formulate an idea when you just have a napkin sketch.”

Trim barriers. He’d also limit the number of barriers standing in the way of startups. “You want to give much more opportunity, so the fewer things that the government can put as barriers to get a company started the better,” says Gross. “Startups are still risky, so you need lots of at bats. You need lots of shots on goal.” He adds that the greatest innovations happen when the government doesn’t require entrepreneurs to ask for permission–calling it “permission-less innovation.”

Reform immigration laws. Panelists pointed out that 66 percent of engineers in Silicon Valley are foreign born. But Gross noted that since 9/11 the rules have grown stricter–causing a lack of available talent in the U.S. His suggestion? Reform immigration now. “We can have better immigration policies to allow us to bring in smart immigrants to participate in startups.”” […]

Read full article via How Policy Could Help Drive Innovation | Inc.com.

Ignite Action. Break down Barriers and Transform Thinking

Jim Woods is president of InnoThink Group and Leadership Matters.  He is a leader in workplace learning, productivity, performance, and leadership training solutions. For over 25 years, we have helped companies improve their performance, productivity, and bottom-line results. Contact us See a partial list of Jim’s clients. Hire Jim Woods to Speak  | Follow us: Facebook | Follow us: Twitter | Skype ID – jim.woods79 http://www.innothinkgroup.com

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Jim Woods is president of The Jim Woods Group. A management consulting firm. Go here to see his work www.jimwoodsgroup.com. He advises and speaks to organizations large and small on how to increase top line growth in times of uncertainty and complexity. Some of his speaking and consulting clients include: U.S. Army, MITRE Corporation, Pitney Bowes, Whirlpool, and 3M. See more at his website www.jimwoodsgroup.com.

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