America still confuses the two, seeing increased R&D spending as the way to growth. Time to take some lessons from the East
George W. Bush’s proposal to increase federal government R&D spending is revealing on two levels. It suggests a growing sense of urgency about the need for the U.S. to strengthen its innovation capability. At the same time, it provides insight into the mindsets that are making the U.S. more vulnerable to global competition.
While executives of large Western companies and policy-makers of Western governments continue to view innovation through 20th century lenses, entrepreneurial companies in Asia are harnessing the opportunities of the flat world to pursue broader forms of innovation appropriate for the 21st century.
In the West, we still confuse invention with innovation. Even worse, we tend to focus narrowly on breakthrough technology or product invention — that’s what really gets the adrenaline going. Anything else is marginal and uninteresting.
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