Creating Jobs by Investing in Innovation

Part 3




Meanwhile, other nations have looked critically at the building blocks of innovation and invested strategically to enhance their competitive position. Governments across Europe and Asia have invested in science, technology, engineering, and math education for their children and young workers; in worker retraining programs for the existing workforce; and in fostering regional innovation ecosystems and industrial clusters. They’ve also invested in gathering the metrics and data that their policymakers need to make good innovation policy and have coordinated their governments’ efforts around the interrelated innovation functions of industry, trade, and technology.

While governments of the rest of the major economies of the world are already competing to create jobs through innovation in the 21st century global economy, the United States does not seem to fully recognize it is in competition.

But with Washington finally turning its eye toward the important priority of job creation, perhaps it is time to seize the opportunity to retool our policies to be competitive in the cutting-edge economy of the 21st century. But make no mistake, policy alone cannot produce innovation. Hardworking Americans must do that. But policy can help create the economic and social conditions that promote innovation.

There is no question about what we need to do to create jobs, turn around our economic stagnation, and create optimism for American families and businesses. We know that we cannot simply give tax breaks to big corporations and expect the benefits to trickle down. Instead, we need to invest in the building blocks of innovation and empower the next generation of innovators, entrepreneurs, and motivated, everyday working Americans to “trickle up” and invent their own destinies.

What are these building blocks? Science Progress and the Center for American Progress’s Doing What Works project aim to answer these questions in a series of papers to be released over the course of the next four months. These papers will address six major areas where making smart, progressive investments in innovation can lay the foundation for job creation and future growth.