Making America Competitive Again: Restoring U.S. Innovation Leadership

February 14, 2013

In the last six months, three major books or reports have been released that raise serious concerns about the faltering state of U.S. innovation and competitiveness. These works share four critical themes: 1) The U.S. economy is losing global competitiveness and its capacity to innovate is eroding; 2) Competitor countries are rapidly making progress, in part because they’ve implemented sophisticated innovation and competitiveness strategies; 3) The United States’ inability to compete is producing harmful economic consequences (as evidenced in the Great Recession and anemic recovery); and 4) The United States needs a robust national innovation and competitiveness strategy.

Harvard Professors Willy Shih and Gary Pisano, authors of Producing Prosperity: Why America Needs a Manufacturing Renaissance, will explain why manufacturing and innovation are inseparable and why America must have a competitive manufacturing sector to restore a healthy economy. Charles Wessner and Alan Wolff will present findings from the National Academies’ new report, Rising to the Challenge: U.S. Innovation Policy for the Global Economy, which compares U.S. innovation policy to nine competitor nations and finds that future U.S. innovation pre-eminence is not assured and that the United States has large gaps in its ability to commercialize innovations. Finally, ITIF President Robert Atkinson will present policy recommendations to foster U.S. innovation and competitiveness based on ITIF’s book Innovation Economics: The Race for Global Advantage and the recent report Fifty Ways to Leave Your Competitiveness Woes Behind: A National Traded Sector Competitiveness Strategy.