Americans rank last in problem solving using technology. In the 1970s, the US had the most educated workforce in the world. Since 2000, the skills and knowledge of US high-school graduates have stagnated while those of other countries have increased rapidly. That failure to adapt means global employers can get cheaper, better educated labor in many other countries.
In the U.S., to maintain our place as a leader in space exploration and the development of technology and capability, we must continue to invest in our most valuable resource -- today’s elementary, high school and college students. They are tomorrow’s space designers and travelers. If we don’t invest and drive change, the consequences could be severe.
Innovation has become a religion in business today, with "innovate or die" as its mantra. When a company succeeds, people attribute its good fortune to superior innovation. When it fails, people say it lacked the ability to innovate, no matter how many new products it launched. The message is simple: you need to disrupt to survive.
In the last decade or two, fundamental changes are taking hold in how science, technology, engineering and mathematics are actually performed. Globally, we are making significant and accelerating progress in moving the frontiers of the natural sciences, engineering disciplines and mathematical methods employed in many economic domains from their traditional techniques to new kinds of applied computational science.
This presidential election has the country captivated. As many commentators have pointed out, the primaries are more focused on personalities than policy. While the parties focus on who is going to represent them in the fall, I want to make the case for something that I hope every candidate will agree on in November: America’s unparalleled capacity for innovation. When the United States invests in innovation, it creates companies and jobs at home, makes Americans healthier and safer, and saves lives and fights poverty in the world’s poorest countries.
Dr. Tonya Matthews, President and CEO of the Michigan Science Center, writes about what we can do to resist bias against girls in science education and hiring. Googling “teaching girls about bias" might ruin your day. The top results are not encouraging.
When our principals speak, we can see that they care deeply about their students and school communities. The natural result of this is to be care-ful. We know that innovation requires a risk-taking mindset. Yet, we also know that taking risks with the education of children is very different from taking risks with money. Understanding this brings principals to a place of vulnerability - and an almost mama-bear like instinct to protect their cubs.
Mathematics is a fantastic tool, revealing more about the universe than we could've ever dreamt when the first scientists started applying rigorous methods to their natural philosophy. But that blessing is also a curse. Mathematics, the language that proves so adept at describing nature, is not the easiest language to translate into, say, plain English. That difficulty -- the same difficulty in translating from any language into another -- is at the root of much of the distrust some people have of astronomers and scientific findings.
The whole premise behind a Chief Innovation Officer goes beyond useless to completely and utterly counterproductive. If one person is in charge of innovation, everyone else are not. And they must be. Anyone not innovating is falling behind those that are. Darwin taught us that that is a bad thing. So: No Chief Innovative Officers. No distinctions between scientific, artistic and interpersonal leaders. Everyone is responsible for innovating, creating and leading.
The phrase “national security” brings to mind the goals of keeping our homeland safe from intruders, maintaining a strong military, and encouraging sound foreign policy. These aspects are essential; however, ensuring a top-notch education for our students should also be included in that list. Without a properly educated country, we jeopardize our standing in the world, as well as our economic future and physical safety.