The incentive to innovate has never been higher. “Investing in innovation is critical to raising long-term economic growth,” says Francis Gurry, WIPO director general. “In this economic climate, uncovering new sources of growth and leveraging the opportunities raised by global innovation are priorities for all stakeholders.”
Freedom of speech and innovation
The US, however, remains well positioned to continue its successful record of invention and innovation. From its diverse population and tradition of free speech to federal investment and the high level of academic and commercial co-operation, many factors combine to ensure the environment is a supportive one for entrepreneurs intent on developing the next breakthrough product or service.
“An environment that supports the expression of multiple perspectives stimulates innovation,” says Soumitra Dutta, co-author of the GII report and dean of the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management at Cornell University. “Greater competition also pushes firms to be creative, invest more in R&D and become more innovative.”
In addition, the US education system and private sector have a symbiotic relationship, with universities, according to Dutta, forming the core of local innovation ecosystems in many parts of the US, including Silicon Valley, Southern California, New York, Minnesota and North Carolina.
“Universities serve as magnets attracting global talent – both students and professors,” Dutta explains. “Then talented graduates seek employment in local firms and start-ups. And the commercial sector in turn feeds universities with practical problems which increases the real-world relevance of university research.”
US universities have also earned reputations for excellence that ensure they can compete internationally for talent. “The quality of universities is critical as global talent is very mobile and the best professors and students naturally gravitate to the best concentrations of peers,” Dutta adds. “The best talent combined with an active engagement with the private sector provides strong foundations for creating an effective innovation ecosystem.”