As President-elect Obama continues with the process of preparing to assume the office in January, the Washington Post reports that he has named a team to create an Innovation Agenda for the U.S. On the surface this is a very encouraging sign. Urgent attention is needed in this area. However, we will have to wait and see if anything substantive is delivered by the team.
Why the skepticism? The background of the team leaders (Blair Levin, Sonal Shah and Julius Genachowski) suggests that we are unlikely to see strongly innovative thinking in setting the Innovation Agenda. I suspect that we will see some interesting approaches to revamping how government interfaces with the people. But in the area where we need it most, building the innovation capacity of America as a participant in the Global arena, we are most likely going to treated to a variety of the same old tired recipes: a bit of cheer leading, a smattering of funding haphazardly sprinkled about, and lot of hoping that if you simply talk about being innovative we will somehow be more innovative.
I sincerely hope I am unnecessarily cynical about this issue. Innovation is vital not only to America’s future but also to the entire global community. We, as members of the global community, have many issues that need to be addressed, and as the world has evolved it has become clear that some new paradigms are needed to resolve these issues. Will the new Innovation Agenda make a contribution in this direction? What do you think?