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Innovation Mandate: Has America Lost Its Innovation Edge?

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There are worries that the U.S.'s high-tech global competitiveness is eroding because, among other things, intellectual property devised by U.S.-based companies is leaking overseas, either though the foreign outsourcing of research and development (R&D) and design work, or through outright theft by foreign companies and governments.

Still, a report by the World Economic Forum ranked the United States second among 133 nations, citing strengths that include innovative companies, a first-rate university system "that collaborates with the business sector in R&D," an affordable and flexible workforce, and the scale opportunities "afforded by the sheer size of its domestic economy." The U.S. ranking was only topped by Switzerland, which was cited for factors that include its relatively high number of patents. Accenture's Gary Curtis says that U.S. leadership is "self-evident by the flow of talent that comes into America—technologists, technology innovators, entrepreneurs."

Google CEO Eric Schmidt maintains that innovation now follows a bottom-up rather than a top-down model due to the Internet. "The only way to ensure it can flourish is to create the best possible environment—and then get out of the way," Schmidt says. "It's a question of learning to live with a mess."

From Information Week
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Abstracts Copyright © 2010 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA


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