An Open Letter & Invitation for McCain and Obama

Now that the conventions are behind us and the race to November is in full swing, people are looking for the meat around the candidates stances on a number of key issues.  One area that is on everyone’s top of mind issues list is the economy.  The global economic climate affects everyone and every business.  We are faced with challenges and conditions unlike those seen in the past.  New challenges need new solutions.

Innovation is essential in driving the solutions that will lead us to a lasting revitalization of our economy.  So, it is no surprise that questions are raised about the need for a comprehensive National Innovation Policy.  But, what should such a policy address to make it truly effective?  So Senators McCain and Obama, what do you think about this important topic? 

You are respectfully invited to respond here, or better yet contact me to record a podcast on the subject to share your vision for driving innovation in America with our community of innovation practitioners and other members of the internet community.  Should it help get your thoughts percolating, here are some of my views on the subject.

Education
Let’s face it.  The most important resource in the new age of global innovation competition is brain-power, and our educational system is failing.  We need to stop flapping our gums and begin transforming our educational system with the objective of producing the type of innovation workers that future economic success requires.

Infrastructure
While there are several potential dimensions to this, here I simply want to highlight the area of high-speed data connectivity.  The rumors of the death of the information age are highly premature.  The growth in demand for information transmission is causing our current infrastructure to creak. It is definitely time to get ahead of this looming problem.

Intellectual Property
We need to ensure that our intellectual property is adequately protected abroad.  At home, we need to retool the PTO to keep up with the volume of applications.

Bayh-Dole Act
This 1980’s legislation should be reconsidered.  It has its staunch defenders, but it wasn’t the right way to accomplish its goal and hasn’t really done so.  For more on this, see "Time To Rethink The Bayh-Dole Act."

Basic Research Support
Funding for basic research support should be strengthened for public research, and R&D credits protected for private research.

Immigration
This is a delicate issue that must be examined carefully.  We just don’t have all the skilled innovation workers to fill our needs today.  So, we do need to provide access to global resources to fuel our innovation engine.  However, any policy must also consider the transportability of innovation skills and the phenomenon of brain-drain.

Open Markets
We provide the most open markets in the world.  We must work to ensure that we have a level playing field and encourage other markets to move in the direction of becoming more open.

Personal Data Privacy
A growing segment of innovation is built on data.  A looming threat is a meltdown in this sector based on poor data protection and personal security provisions.  We should act to fend off this threat before it becomes a difficult problem to address.

Well Senators, we await your response.

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