Tech industry advocates could easily spot some longstanding items from the innovation agenda within President Obama’s State of the Union address Tuesday night. President Obama said “innovation demands basic research.” He warned Congress not to gut these programs when they balance the budget. Obama reminded them that federal research is what led to innovations like…
Innovation is far more than invention; it is the creation, implementation, and marketing of new processes, products, and services. Innovation contributes to productivity, economic growth, social benefits, and capacity for future innovation and growth. A wide range of policies are needed to support innovation, since successful innovation depends on people, investment, infrastructure, markets, and freedom to create and act. These many factors and lag times means that innovation policy must take a long-term perspective.
Encouraging innovation should be a paramount policy goal in all policy domains, not just those that are traditionally linked to it, such as the funding of basic research, patents, and technology transfer. Policies should take a long-term view attuned to future innovators, rather than rewarding past innovators. The former are likely to be underrepresented, while the latter have usually reaped the benefits of innovation and are able to make their needs heard. Policies should recognize that innovation practices and patterns vary widely – especially across different industries – and that digital technology is playing a major role in enabling new forms of innovation.