White House to seek budget relief deal in Congress

The Obama administration will press Congress next year to ease planned austerity measures that threaten to drag on the economy, a White House official said on Tuesday. Shaun Donovan, director of the Office of Management and Budget, said he wants to build on a deal reached in Congress last year that provided a temporary reprieve against so-called sequestration budget cuts.

Recent Research: Is Bigger Better in Economic Development?

Over the past decade, two ideas have become more and more popular among innovation and economic development leaders. First, that maximizing collaboration between institutions, interest groups, stakeholders and communities is pivotal in building an innovation ecosystem that can succeed and grow over time.

The Global Mercantilist Index: A New Approach to Ranking Nations’ Trade Policies

Countries’ use of mercantilist policies in recent years has expanded dramatically, particularly in emerging economies such as Brazil, China, and India. These practices, such as forced technology transfer or local production as a condition of market access, intellectual property (IP) theft, compulsory licensing of IP, restrictions on cross-border data flows, and currency manipulation, all distort trade and investment and damage the global economy.

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker Announces New Members to Serve on the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship

U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker today announced the 27 individuals who have been selected to serve on the National Advisory Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship (NACIE). NACIE members will advise the Secretary of Commerce on issues related to accelerating innovation, expanding entrepreneurship, and developing a globally competitive workforce.

China Just Overtook The US As The World's Largest Economy

Sorry, America. China just overtook the US to become the world's largest economy, according to the International Monetary Fund. We've just gone past that crossover on the chart below, according to the IMF. By the end of 2014, China will make up 16.48% of the world's purchasing-power adjusted GDP (or $17.632 trillion), and the US will make up just 16.28% (or $17.416 trillion):

SPIE leaders delighted with photonics manufacturing institute announcement by White House

SPIE leadership and researchers in photonics-related industries reacted enthusiastically to the news from the Obama Administration committing more than $200 million in public and private investment to create an Integrated Photonics Manufacturing Institute.

How A National Network Can Spur Manufacturing Innovation

For the first time in more than 10 years both manufacturing output and employment are increasing. Since the end of the recession, the manufacturing sector has created more than 700,000 jobs and currently supports a total of 16 million U.S. jobs, according to NIST. Careers in manufacturing include those of engineers, designers and computer programmers, and the average salary of manufacturing workers is more than $77,000 a year.

A look at the OECD report on Knowledge-Based Capital

Last fall OECD (the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) published Supporting Investment in Knowledge Capital, Growth and Innovation. This book-length report is the culmination of the first phase of its flagship project on New Sources of Growth: Knowledge-Based Capital. In a new Athena Alliance working paper, Knowledge about Knowledge: The OECD Project on Knowledge-Based Capital, Dr. Brian Kahin describes the report and explores the difficulties facing the U.S. government in addressing the issues raise in the report.

As Kahin notes:

The report exemplifies what makes OECD unique: the ability to cast a wide net and marshal diverse intellectual insights, across the OECD and within a large community of experts in government and academia. For national governments, OECD's analysis can be useful for overcoming path dependent, stovepiped, or politically constrained thinking. But in many cases, including the U.S. government, there is no logical port of entry for a report of this scope--for particular chapters, yes, but not the report as a whole.
. . .
OECD's vision of knowledge-based capital (KBC) covers investments in categories with diverse economic characteristics, some of which are difficult to measure. The kind of knowledge represented varies, as does the degree and nature of ownership and control. This diversity enables interaction with a wide range of policies that may ultimately enable or constrain investment in intangibles, but the linkages are less straightforward, more tangled, and decidedly less tangible than the familiar terrain of commodities, real property, and currency. The report is ambitious, connecting what can be quantified with what is emerging or unknown, gathering and developing insights that governments might not make on their own, and providing reference points and benchmarks for sophisticated policymaking.

The task is one of governance:

In a compartmentalized crisis-driven government, how do policymakers engage with subject matter this complex, heterogeneous, and, indeed, intangible? Issues that sprawl across multiple departments, jurisdictions, and policy domains are easier to ignore than those firmly within the remit of an established bureaucracy and chain of command.

He goes on to points out (and explore in some detail) four underlying factors that make it difficult for policymakers (and analysts) to get a handle on the issues:
   • the changing nature of assets and the relationship between sharing and control;
   • the increasing diversity, complexity, and context-dependence of knowledge;
   • accelerated change and growing tension between innovation and the cycles and timeframes of established institutions; and,
   • the latent differences within knowledge-based capital and the effects of availability bias on public policy.
Each of these discussions should be read in full.

In the end, Kahin is both hopeful and skeptical about the report's impact:

In many respects, Supporting Investment in Knowledge Capital, Growth and Innovation is OECD at its top of its form, probing economic frontiers for the benefit of its members and, increasingly, the global public. While it contains few new conclusions, it leaves governments better informed to develop their own in very murky territory. It invites further interaction with the secretariat and OECD peers.

Yet there are many in the U.S. who are skeptical of anything out of Paris and are convinced that the U.S. has little to learn from the rest of the world, let alone others in the OECD. While it has a small, ably staffed office in Washington, OECD lacks an enduring intellectual presence in the U.S. This is unfortunate in that the U.S. experience with new knowledge, innovation, economic competencies, and intellectual property often informs the experience and reactions of other countries--and the shaping of global consensus where that may be possible. It means that venturesome reports like this one do not get the traction they deserve.

Encouraging American innovation

Intellectual property (IP) protection generates value for innovations created during product and service development, across a broad range of industries including software, pharmaceuticals, manufacturing, bio-tech and information technology services.

Data-Driven Cities: Urban Innovation Goes National

With fewer bureaucratic hurdles than both the federal or state governments, and the opportunity for charismatic mayors to drive local change, cities around the United States and the world are experimenting with new ways to use technology to create business opportunities and improve citizens’ lives.

Improving Innovation Climate Critical to US Economic Future

The conclusion of the PAI is simple: “The United States must continue to protect and champion our innovators who rely on intellectual property in our innovation economy… improving the climate of innovation policy is crucial if the United States hopes to retain its global economic leadership.”

Partnership for American Innovation lends support to White House crowdsourcing initiative

In its new “Strategy for American Innovation,” the White House has thrown open the doors, asking American innovators to help crowdsource ideas that will help drive the future of the natioin’s inventiveness and ingenuity. PAI shows support for the Strategy for American Innovation, citing the importance of a strong IP system to the US economy.

US regulator raises alarm for 'Armageddon-type' cyber attack

After a year of prominent hackings of millions of US credit and debit cards, one of the top regulators regulators of the American financial system has said that the prospect of an “Armageddon-type cyber event” is one of the most significant issues he plans to address in the next year.

House Passes Exascale Computing Bill

"The American Super Computing Leadership Act, is an important update to a current statute which will ensure that America stays at the forefront of supercomputing technology for the benefits it brings to our national security, the economy, and, more broadly, our research capabilitiesas a Nation," said Rep. Randy Hultgren (R-IL) describing this legislation which he introduced in June 2013. Hultgren was joined by Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA) in sponsoring the bill, as well as 21 other representatives from both parties.

Industry Group, Internet Innovation Alliance, Warns Against Regulation

Communications network consumers have more choices than ever today, and according to an Internet Innovation Alliance study policymakers should be careful not to invoke broad regulation on a technology platform or service basis.


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