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Innovation Blueprints for Long-Term American Success

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By Peter Cleveland, vice president, Global Public Policy, Intel Corporation

On Monday, Intel in partnership with The Aspen Institute convened a thought provoking roundtable discussion addressing the topic, “Innovation Blueprints: Key Investments for Long Term American Success.”


The event, moderated by David Leonhardt, Washington Bureau Chief at The New York Times; featured, Dean Garfield, President of the Information Technology Industry Council; Neera Tanden, President of the Center for American Progress and included approximately thirty leaders from academia, government, private sector and media in addition to our host Walter Isaacson, President and CEO of The Aspen Institute.

I had an opportunity to participate and while the discussion was diverse, addressing a wide range of domestic and foreign policy issues, there was an overwhelming sense that as a nation we need to be more strategic in both our policies and long-term investments if we are to maintain U.S. national competitiveness in the long term. 

Below are three common threads from the discussion that I believe are critical to a long-term strategy for American innovation and economic growth:

1. Investing in our Workforce: In a time of economic challenge, increasing global competition and rapidly advancing technology, investing in the education of our young people is critical to American competitiveness and sustainable economic growth – particularly in the fields of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) that will drive future innovation.

And conscious of our history, we need to remember that the next great American inventor isn’t always home-grown; both Intel and the United States have a rich history of immigrant innovators. Smart reform of our high-skilled immigration policies will ensure the U.S. continues to serve as a beacon, attracting the best and brightest from around the world to study, start businesses and create jobs here in America.

2. Building Public-Private Partnerships: Public-Private investment and partnerships have played a critical role in bringing private sector ingenuity and efficiency to bear in meeting national challenges throughout our history. The path to and ultimate achievement of the Apollo project is a perfect example which secured American technological leadership for decades to come.

As competition increases from around the world, the U.S. needs a permanent structure in place that encourages and supports public and private research and development in the basic sciences and emerging technological frontiers that will ensure American innovation leadership in the years to come.

3. Fostering Investment & Entrepreneurship: As the dynamics of the world economy continue to shift, we need to ensure U.S. trade and tax policies are in-line with our national interests and globally competitive, attracting foreign investment and encouraging American companies to build and create the jobs of the future here in the United States.

Looking 15 years into the future, we will undoubtedly see innovations that hardly seem possible today. Already we’re seeing the beginnings of this world though 3D printing, driverless cars and the increasing instrumentation of the world around us. If we take the long view and make the critical investments now, we can pave the road to achieving this future, and foster American innovation and continued economic growth in the process.

The discussion forum we held this week is the latest in a series of events Intel has convened over the years in partnership with The Aspen Institute on the crucial elements the U.S. needs to address to foster innovation and keep the U.S. globally competitive. Learn more about The Innovation Economy.