Blueprint for the 21st Century
United States of America
|There has been considerable focus on
innovation in a variety of publications, legislation and collaborative research
investments over the years. Roots can be traced back to the Vannevar Bush Report (1945) in
which the government assumed responsibilities for promoting the flow of scientific
knowledge and the development of specific talent. "Science should serve society and,
in turn, society should provide financial support to assure the advancement of
science." (Bush, 1945).
The Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology and Government has produced a series of reports. In Partnerships for Global Development: The Clearing Horizon (1992) and Enabling the Future: Linking Science and Technology to Societal Trends (1992), the extraordinary circumstances of world transformation are outlined. The Cold War is over and there are new opportunities throughout the world.
Market economies are maturing and modernizing. Trends indicate that the international community can find ways to work co-operatively for the benefit of most, if not all, nations:
For the 1990s on into the 21st century, science and technology will continue to be the linchpin in the efforts to achieve most of the worlds social and economic goals. They undergird the research that creates needed knowledge. They help build the education and training systems that advance skills. And they thrive with the freedom of inquiry, communication and association that ensure, and are ensured by, democracy and liberty (Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology and the Government, 1992b).
it is important to recognize the role of international co-operation and development in government decision-making in science and technology. The distinction between domestic and foreign goals for science and technology is obsolete in the face of the explosion of global technology, information, capital and people. If they are to be forward-thinking, our policies must now integrate national and international views (Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology and Government, 1992a).
More recently, a report was issued by the Washingon-based Center for Strategic and International Studies. Study committees sought to understand why the capacity for innovation was so fundamental to the economic strength of the nation. The report concludes that innovation is the engine for growth. Further, innovation as a process does not transfer or replicate easily, and it attracts investment from global partners:
All of the nations basic challenges, including health, defense and global economic competitiveness, ultimately have one fundamental objective: to enhance the quality of life for the citizenry. In the emerging global environment, the nations capacity to innovate will play a dominant, and probably decisive, role in achieving that goal (Brown and Herzfeld, 1996).
In an article included in the report, Deborah Wince Smith, former Assistant Secretary for the US Department of Commerce, outlines the incentives for investment in innovation: human resources; technology; intellectual property rights; physical infrastructure; capital formation and allocation system; regulatory framework; international trading systems; reciprocal access to international investment opportunities; industrial structure for innovation and business, management, and manufacturing practices. She concludes that a national innovation system is a dynamic, holistic system of mutually reinforcing elements. No one element can exist independently from the impact it exerts on the overall system vitality.