Program

Innovation is Key to Competing in the Global Economy

Point of View by Kent Hughes, Director, STAGE, from June 2005 Centerpoint

Jun 03, 2005

The 21st century will be marked by the rise of Asia and a global economy increasingly shaped by the spread of science and technology. Foreign policy, military power, and economic growth will all be heavily influenced by the pace and geographic location of innovation.

Recognizing the growing importance of innovation to America's as well as the world's future, the Woodrow Wilson Center has established a new Program on Science, Technology, America, and the Global Economy (STAGE). Building on the strong regional programs at the Center, STAGE will work to add the dimension of science and technology to their work.

New technologies are already posing significant policy and ethical questions. STAGE will help clarify the choices that the United States and other countries will have to make. Science and technology have contributed mightily to America's 20th century prosperity and given America a critical military edge. Now, the world is focused on building its own innovative capabilities. Europe and Japan are seeking to adopt America's innovation system. China, India, and others are emerging as economic powers with the potential to become major innovators.

Much of the world is now competing to attract the global talent that has been coming to America for much of seven decades. How should America respond to these new challenges and opportunities?
STAGE seeks answers to that question.

In Building the Next American Century: The Past and Future of American Economic Competitiveness (Woodrow Wilson Center Press, 2005), I spell out how the competitiveness strategy that worked so well in the 1990s can be deepened and adapted to the challenges of the 21st century. By creating the conditions that foster public and private investment and taking a system-wide approach to innovation, learning, and global engagement, the United States can remain the leading innovator in the 21st century.

The beauty of economic competition is that both parties can win—emerging stronger and more prosperous. But you cannot win if you do not take the field. STAGE will work to clarify the questions that need answers and the policies that can provide them.