New York Times writer Tom Friedman devoted his latest column to the innovation challenge facing the United States–and mentioned Democracy Journal‘s innovation symposium while doing so.
The column is focused on a conversation Friedman had with Paul Otellini, the leader of Intel. Friedman describes their discussion:
I asked if his company was being held back by weak science and math education in America’s K-12 schools, Otellini explained:
“As a citizen, I hate it. As a global employer, I have the luxury of hiring the best engineers anywhere on earth. If I can’t get them out of M.I.T., I’ll get them out of Tsing Hua” — Beijing’s M.I.T.
It gets worse. Otellini noted that a 2009 study done by the Information Technology and Innovation Foundation and cited recently in Democracy Journal “ranked the U.S. sixth among the top 40 industrialized nations in innovative competitiveness — not great, but not bad. Yet that same study also measured what they call ‘the rate of change in innovation capacity’ over the last decade — in effect, how much countries were doing to make themselves more innovative for the future. The study relied on 16 different metrics of human capital — I.T. infrastructure, economic performance and so on. On this scale, the U.S. ranked dead last out of the same 40 nations. … When you take a hard look at the things that make any country competitive. … we are slipping.”