By Peter Engelke – Americans like to think of themselves as the most innovative people in the world. At least since 1945, they have had good reason to believe so. During the Cold War, the United States built the most formidable technology-producing innovation system the world has ever seen.
Coordinated action by the U.S. government, the private sector and academia, combined with America’s unique postwar culture, crafted this system.
But the American system has seen better days. America’s leaders, at federal and state levels, have failed to maintain this system much less upgrade it.
As a result, America’s long list of difficulties includes falling public investment in research and development (R&D, a critical and under-appreciated factor in national innovativeness), an under-skilled workforce, flagging support for public higher education, decaying infrastructure and much more.
The global tech-innovation economy therefore is more than a just crowded place. It is also crowded where it counts: at the very top, where it no longer can be said that the U.S. stands alone. Several of the countries listed here, plus others, routinely score higher than the United States in global innovation rankings.
The U.S. will not long remain the global leader in innovation unless it takes decisive action across several fronts. more>