27 October 2011

Obama on Innovation

I've been working on some writing about innovation and rediscovered my copy of the transcript from this year's State of the Union, which included a substantial section on innovation.  Since I never blogged it earlier, I'll throw in some now, with an emphasis on a couple passages that the GIS community might find more interesting.  First he reminded us of how American innovation can be:
The first step in winning the future is encouraging American innovation. None of us can predict with certainty what the next big industry will be or where the new jobs will come from. Thirty years ago, we couldn't know that something called the Internet would lead to an economic revolution. What we can do — what America does better than anyone else — is spark the creativity and imagination of our people. We're the nation that put cars in driveways and computers in offices; the nation of Edison and the Wright brothers; of Google and Facebook. In America, innovation doesn't just change our lives. It is how we make our living.

He then slipped into a free-enterprise innovation discussion that included a bit of geospatial: "That's what planted the seeds for the Internet. That's what helped make possible things like computer chips and GPS."

Finally, he made it part of a challenge to the country's future.  For GIScientists and technicians interested in the policy implications, this section gives some idea of where his administration is pointing us:

Half a century ago, when the Soviets beat us into space with the launch of a satellite called Sputnik, we had no idea how we would beat them to the moon. The science wasn't even there yet. NASA didn't exist. But after investing in better research and education, we didn't just surpass the Soviets; we unleashed a wave of innovation that created new industries and millions of new jobs.

This is our generation's Sputnik moment. Two years ago, I said that we needed to reach a level of research and development we haven't seen since the height of the Space Race. And in a few weeks, I will be sending a budget to Congress that helps us meet that goal. We'll invest in biomedical research, information technology, and especially clean energy technology — (applause) — an investment that will strengthen our security, protect our planet, and create countless new jobs for our people.
 Whether Democrat or Republican, the comments of a President's speeches often guide the actions of agencies and policymakers.  It is interesting to look to see how much is being said in DC today that reflects this speech given in January.  But without a budget (which is usually a major policy tool) it is hard to figure out who is winning the policy priority tug-of-war.

1 comment:

žogi said...

Better inovative Obama :)