Changes in Innovation Ecology

Science  01 Jun 2007:
Vol. 316, Issue 5829, pp. 1253
DOI: 10.1126/science.1145598

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Globalization has introduced both uncertainties and opportunities worldwide. In the United States, a flurry of recent books and reports has told the country how to be competitive in the 21st century, from Thomas L. Freidman's The World is Flat, to the National Academies' Rising Above the Gathering Storm, and at least a dozen more. All note the historic strength of the United States in innovation and suggest that reinvigorating this capability is key to future prosperity. The resulting recommendations relate to an "ecology" of interrelated institutions, laws, regulations, and policies providing an innovation infrastructure that entails education, research, tax policy, and intellectual property protection, among others. Unfortunately, this ecology is more fundamentally broken than is generally recognized.