Obama on Innovation

Obama is keen on innovation to cut through current economic travails. Here are nine excerpts sliced from his State of the Union address:

  • The first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation.
  • In America, innovation doesn't just change our lives. It is how we make our living.
  • Our free enterprise system is what drives innovation.
  • But after investing in better research and education, we didn't just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs.
  • With more research and incentives, we can break our dependence on oil with biofuels, and become the first country to have a million electric vehicles on the road by 2015.We need to get behind this innovation.
  • But if we want to win the future — if we want innovation to produce jobs in America and not overseas — then we also have to win the race to educate our kids.
  • All these investments — in innovation, education, and infrastructure — will make America a better place to do business and create jobs.
  • Cutting the deficit by gutting our investments in innovation and education is like lightening an overloaded airplane by removing its engine.
  • Our success in this new and changing world will require reform, responsibility, and innovation.

Obama has articulated a national vision in which innovation plays a key role. He has asked that our work as citizens now be about opening new windows, new gateways into the future. It is a time for novel ways of looking at the world to gain traction and generate growth.

I hear Obama calling for new approaches, door-opening conversations, new relationships, bringing to life new structures and courageous interactions, creative progress and practical results. I hear an unmistakable call for innovation.


Seth Kahan (Seth@VisionaryLeadership.com) is a Change Leadership specialist. He has consulted with CEOs and executives in over 50 world-class organizations that include Shell, World Bank, Peace Corps, Marriott, Prudential, American Society of Association Executives, International Bridge Tunnel and Turnpike Association, Project Management Institute, and NASA. He is the founder of Seth Kahan's CEO Leaders Forum, a year-long learning experience for CEOs in Washington, DC. His book, Getting Change Right: How Leaders Transform Organizations from the Inside Out, is a Washington Post bestseller. Visit GettingChangeRight.com for more info and a free excerpt. Follow Seth on Twitter. Learn more about Seth's work at VisionaryLeadership.com.

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  • Seth Kahan

    I agree that President Obama now needs to back up his vision with resources and practical guidance. Let's see if it's short in coming. He spoke a week ago at the Orion Energy System company in Wisconsin where he said he was proposing bigger tax credits for the research that companies do to promote clean energy, such as wind power and solar panels.

    "This is going to spur new products and technologies... It is going to lead to good new jobs and that is how we win the future by unleashing the talent and ingenuity of American businesses and American workers in every corner of this country." Obviously a great deal more than this is needed - let's keep watch.

  • Andrew Krause

    I think we have differing definitions of the word "articulate" - Obama has done nothing more than spout the most popular platitudes of politicians on both sides of the isle. He's also failed to outline what his administration will do to support innovation.