Volume IV: What works, what matters, what lasts

A Nation of Innovators

Continuing an examination of ideas and insights captured in PKAL’s Report on Reports II, 2006, we explore the nature of the visions articulated by the authors of these various reports. From a broad brush perspective— even appreciating the particular perspective of the various authoring groups— the visions are in sync. As such, they challenge the stakeholder community, offering a target for individual and collective action.

The "call to action" in the Council on Competitiveness report is most compelling:

Innovation has always been deep in America’s soul. From the nation’s birth, we have most fundamentally been about exploration, opportunity and discovery, about new beginnings, about setting out for the frontier. America’s focus on the horizon reflects our collective faith in a better future. These are the qualities that have made our country a beacon to people around the world for the past 228 years. America, in the end, is about hope. And innovation is the societal and economic manifestation of hope. Perhaps most important is [the question of] whether the United States will continue its historic and unique role as a leader among nations, exporting the vision and tools of hope and the power of innovation. America must champion and lead a new era of openness and competition–fueled by agility and constant motion, and enabled by lifelong learning, technological prowess and the infinte creativity of the innovation process itself. – page 8

Council members also addressed the "new shape of innovation."

We believe that the bar for innovation is rising. And, simply running in place will not be enough to sustain America’s leadership in the 21st century. Innovation itself— where it comes from and how it creates value— is changing.
  • It is diffusing at ever-increasing rates. It took 55 years for the automobile to spread to a quarter of the country, 35 years for the telephone, 22 years for the radio, 16 years for the PC, 13 years for the cell phone, and only seven years for the internet.
  • It is multidisciplinary and technologically complex. It arises from the intersections of different fields or spheres of activity.
  • It is collaborative— requiring active cooperation and communication among the scientists and engineers and between creators and users.
  • Workers and consumers are embracing new ideas, technologies and content, and demanding more creativity from their creators.
  • It is becoming global in scope— with advances coming from centers of excellence around the world and the demands of billions of new consumers.
The innovation economy is fundamentally different from the industrial of even the information economy. It requires a new vision, new approaches and a new action agenda. The United States must create the conditions that will stimulate individuals and enterprises to innovate and take the lead in the next generation of knowledge creation, technologies, business models and dynamic management systems. A new relationship among companies, government, educators and workers is needed to assure a 21st century innovation ecosystem that can successfully adapt and compete in the global economy.
– page 37

See page 6 of PKAL's Report on Reports II, 2006 for more information about the Council on Competitiveness Report.