According to a new survey on global innovation conducted by Newsweek and Intel, the United States is suffering from a serious self-esteem problem. The online questionnaire, conducted between Sept. 28 and Oct. 13 of this year, polled 4,800 adults in the U.S., China, Germany, and the U.K. about thoughts on the world's innovation leaders.
To start, the graph below shows that while more than 70% of Americans think the U.S. is a technologically innovative country, only 41% think that the United States is staying ahead of China on innovation. Meanwhile, more than 80% of the Chinese think that the U.S. is innovative and is staying ahead of China on innovation. It seems the world has gotten the recession blues—no one believes in themselves anymore.
One of the most interesting points the survey showed is where we think innovation comes from. Look at the differences in these results.
The most interesting difference is the polarization between math and science versus creative problem solving—the results are almost a mirror image of one another. While more than half of American parents think innovation comes from skills in math and science, only a tiny 9% of Chinese parents think so. Instead, the Chinese believe innovation is born from creative approaches to problem solving—45% versus the mere 18% of American parents surveyed.
Another graph shows that Americans who think the U.S. is lacking in innovation blame it on American schools lagging in math and science education. Forty-two percent blame the schools, while 11% blame a plain lack of skill. Ouch.
Finally, nearly 80% of the Chinese surveyed are convinced the next big innovation will come in energy or computers and electronics, but a mere 4% see anything big happening in health care. Across the Pacific, Americans believe equally in energy and computers and electronics, but have a little more hope for innovation in health care.