Innovation -- it’s one of the most elusive and yet important concepts in our world. With the rapid pace of technology, the word conjures thoughts of a Hyperloop, SpaceX moon voyages and other grandiose concepts that are part real, part science fiction. We often credit this rise to the boom in Silicon Valley decades ago, where our world seemed to evolve almost instantly. That era was the dawn of many products and services that have become integral to the fabric of our daily lives.
Now in its 12th edition, the GII is a global benchmark that helps policy makers better understand how to stimulate and measure innovative activity, a main driver of economic and social development. The GII 2019 ranks 129 economies based on 80 indicators, from traditional measurements like research and development investments and international patent and trademark applications to newer indicators including mobile-phone app creation and high-tech exports.
The United States reclaimed its ranking in the top five countries in the world for economic innovation, while China climbed from 17th to 14th position in the new list of nearly 130 nations released Wednesday. The Global Innovation Index 2019 released by the U.N. intellectual property agency, one of its co-sponsors, says “innovation is blossoming around the world” despite an economic slowdown, brewing trade battles and high economic uncertainty.
The Justice Department is launching a sweeping antitrust review into whether the nation's biggest online platforms are reducing competition or stifling innovation, a development that threatens to heighten the risks for Silicon Valley in the ballooning Washington scrutiny of the power wielded by companies like Google and Facebook.
Closing the broadband gap has proved tricky because private internet providers often don’t have financial incentives to build broadband infrastructure over long distances in sparsely populated areas. Some technologists believe the super-fast next generation of wireless technology, 5G, could provide a solution. But there are many skeptics who worry that the same business model issues will leave rural America out, possibly widening the digital divide.
Apollo 11 Astronaut Buzz Aldrin called out a lack of innovation in the aerospace industry during his speech at the U.S. Space and Rocket Center Wednesday night, "that is not very good for 50 years of development," said Aldrin. Aldrin said we as a civilization have not lived up to the famous words of Neal Armstrong when he set foot on the moon. He said he has been waiting for the next giant leap for man kind for 50 years.
In the 30 years since Tim Berners Lee first documented his vision for what would become the World Wide Web, the US has been the primary leader in innovative infrastructure and products that are now core to everyday life. This innovation mostly occurred with startups shielded from legal constraints. That time is coming to a halt, with Europe positioned to overtake Silicon Valley as the ideological heart of the tech industry.
Far more inventions could qualify for patents in the US if a reform bill making its way through the Senate becomes law. The changes would not only increase the disconnect between European and American rules on what can be patented. They also have the potential to stifle innovation and create greater uncertainty for companies that want to protect their intellectual property globally, experts warn.
NASA's Apollo programme was one of the most challenging technological achievements in the 20th century. Beyond the space race and exploration, it contributed to several inventions and innovations that are still having an impact on our lives. But at the same time, there are several myths regarding what technologies actually came out of it.
Positive economic signs like low unemployment, rising wages, and strong growth are masking a troubling trend, which is that the United States has an innovation problem. We are less entrepreneurial today than we were decades ago. The decline in innovation is consistent across sectors. From manufacturing to agriculture, Americans today are starting businesses much less frequently than their parents or grandparents.