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Issue 8:
Innovation

How does innovation in America
compare globally? How can we invest in job and tech growth through innovation?

Why is innovation important?

Innovation leads to job growth by…

  • Giving a nation an advantage in being the first to sell new products and services
  • Leading to a cycle of expanding employment
  • Leading to higher productivity, which expands domestic economic activity and creates jobs
Sources: #1

One measure of innovation-based competitiveness is a country’s overall strength in science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) ability.

By 2018, STEM jobs are projected to grow at nearly double the rate compared to all
other occupations.

STEM Jobs  Other Occupations

Sources: #1 #2 #3 #4

While only about 5% of the U.S. workforce
is employed in STEM fields, it’s estimated
that the STEM workforce accounts for
more than 50% of the nation’s sustained
economic growth.

Sources: #1

How strong is america in innovation?

In the late 1990s, the United States was ranked first for innovation-based competitiveness. Today, the picture
is different.

Innovation Leaders
Advancing Innovation Capacity

When measuring progress for innovation capacity, many countries with historically weaker economies are experiencing rapid development, leading to a fast pace of advancement due to modernization.

Sources: #1

The work from STEM-trained graduates, workers, and researchers are a key part of America’s innovation strength.

Percentage of Undergraduates
Studying Engineering
Sources: #1

Because of fewer STEM qualified workers,
the American workforce will face a
shortfall of skills needed to fulfill the
marketplace demand.

By 2018, the U.S. will have an estimated 779K job openings requiring STEM degrees, but only 555K STEM degrees holders.

Sources: #1

How much are countries investing in research and development?

Many innovations come from investing in new or cutting edge research. In the U.S., the business sector predominantly funds global R&D, closely followed by the government, universities, and private nonprofits.

R&D expenditures: 1996–2009

The U.S. has long been the leader in R&D expenditure, though Asian countries have caught up through rapid recent growth.

*10 Asian economies: China, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, Philippines, Singapore, South Korea, Taiwan, and Thailand.

Sources: #1

In 2011, only 4 out of the top 10 companies filing for a U.S. patent were U.S. companies.

Sources: #1

To ensure a steady pipeline of people skilled in science and math, schools need to build a strong foundation starting from elementary level students.

Here’s what California teachers have reported in a 2011 survey:

Elementary school students who receive 1 hour or less of science instructions a week

Elementary school students who receive 30 minutes or less

Sources: #1 #2 #3

The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) tests high school aged students globally to gauge proficiency
in math, science, and reading. How did
the US rank?

Math Proficiency  Science Proficiency

Sources: #1

Can American businesses stay innovative?

Business owners cite some following
ways that make it difficult to start new ventures and introduce new ideas to
the marketplace:

  • Without student loan deferments, financial debt from student loans makes it hard for new grads to start entrepreneurial ventures.
  • Current tax policy is very complex for entrepreneurs and there are not enough tax breaks for business who are trying to also achieve social impact.
  • Innovative research often fails to make it from a lab to the marketplace, as universities are often not equipped to standardize licensing and find commercial funding.
Sources: #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7

America grants businesses only 85,000 H-1b visas for scientists and engineers, yet foreign-born students comprise of:

Engineering  Computers, Math & Stats
Physical Sciences
Bio, Agro & Environmental Science

20% of workers in a STEM-related field are foreign-born. Without enough H1-b visas, skilled foreign students interested in staying in the US are forced to return to their home country, and America loses talented workers and sources of future innovation.

Sources: #1 #2 #3 #4

How easy is it to start or do business in America compared to other countries?

Comparison of countries’ with environments most conducive to doing business:

Starting a Business  Getting Credit
Ease of Doing Business

Sources: #1

The Candidates on Innovation:

  • Obama wants to provide Americans with the best education possible and has addressed the national imperative for STEM with the National STEM Master Teacher Corps and Education to Innovate initiatives.
    “”
  • When it comes net neutrality—which advocates against network providers from imposing restictions on content and sites—Obama favors net neutrality regulations while exempting wireless networks from most of them.
    “”
  • Obama also would rely more on regulations to address issues such as online privacy and security. The president also favors a more robust government role in expanding broadband access.
    “”
  • Romney believes free enterprise and innovation will build a stronger middle class and wants to to simplify the corporate tax code, reform job retraining programs, reduce regulatory burdens, and protect American intellectual property.
    “”
  • Romney opposes net neutrality rules, instead relying on market forces to ensure an open Internet.
    “”
  • Romney would leave broadband demand creation to local governments and the private sector.
    “”
Sources: #1 #2 #3 #4 #5 #6 #7 #8