Obama and Innovation

In Business Week March 9, there was a plea for President Obama to adopt an innovation agenda to help the country out of its current mess.  I’m not sure about some of Kuczmarkski’s tax credit ideas, since I’m not an economist, but several of his other ideas deserve discussion.

Innovation awards seem to be pretty effective, judging by the growing list of them. Booster grants to bring promising ideas to market could speed things along, as could his idea for intellectual property auctions for patents gathering dust at thousands of corporations.

For long-term growth, however, I love his idea of paying for university-based executive education programs in innovation. (Full disclosure: I teach innovation in the MBA programs at UCI Merage School.) But even though I am not an unbiased observer, I’ve seen the effects of executives trained in innovation, who then create cultures that foster creativity, and eventually an entire organization that creates both incremental and breakthrough innovations every year.

The real wealth in this country, and in the world, is created when people develop better ways to do things—railroads and cars, computers and cell phones, t.v. and the internet. So tell your elected officials that some of the stimulus should be going to build the intellectual capital that will really build the future.

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About Lynda Lawrence

Lynda Lawrence is an innovation consultant with Ideaworks Consulting. She teaches Strategic Innovation and Design Management at the Merage School at UCI, and is an advisor to the Beall Center.