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THE INDEX—October 9, 2009

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Frank Spring: National Innovation for a Globalized World

The White House’s National Strategy for Innovation, a white-paper from the National Economic Council and the Office of Science and Technology, was accompanied in September by a speech on innovation from President Obama in Troy, New York. Together, these efforts represent the Obama administration’s first attempt at a unified national innovation policy. This is not the first time an administration has unveiled an innovation policy. President Bush released a more limited plan in April 2004, but the latest effort is unquestionably the most comprehensive. This in itself is encouraging; globally, economic innovation policy is a sprawling issue deserving of thorough treatment. More immediately, though, the new American strategy is grounded in an understanding that innovation is not just a business phenomenon to be encouraged—it is central to the nation’s economic survival in an increasingly competitive global marketplace. If the United States is to compete in the twenty-first century economy, its national innovation policy must be internationally competitive. The administration’s strategy can certainly help the United States gain on its competitors. It focuses on increasing government funding for research and development, making the research and experimentation tax credit permanent, improving the country’s technical infrastructure, and producing a better-educated workforce. It also takes a page from President Bush’s 2004 plan, singling out alternative energy and healthcare information technology for special government attention while placing a new emphasis on advanced vehicle technology. Though its recognition of the importance of the issues is commendable, much of the National Innovation Strategy is simply a retroactive reclassification of existing policies.

THE INDEX—October 2, 2009

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MA in International Policy and Development
Middlebury Institute (Monterey, CA): Put theory into practice through client-based coursework. Apply by Feb. 1.

Millennium Project’s State of the Future 19.0: Collective Intelligence on the Future of the World


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