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President Obama Is Promoting Innovation, Exports and Industry

Posted by: Bruce Nussbaum on March 18, 2010

My good friend and old buddy Rich Miller has an insightful piece in BBW that talks about the NEW MIX—Exports and Business Investment—of economic categories that could well replace the OLD MIX of consumption and housing in the US. This is hugely important because if the US can redesign its economy to focus on making, not just consuming, and exports, not just imports, it can grow faster than current estimates and cut both the budget deficit and unemployment rate a lot faster than most people in Washington now believe.

Obama has already said he wants to double US exports in five years—a very ambitious goal and one no other President has ever prescribed. To achieve that goal, the President will have to push three policies very hard: 1—Turn the US back into a making culture, not just a consuming culture. Innovation is key here and the billions in stimulus funds to promote green tech is a good first step. Bolstering tax incentives for innovation is critical as well.

2—An innovation society needs great universities and public schools that teach creativity, not rote memorization. This requires big money for top universities and a new curriculum for schools.

3— A global currency realignment, with China’s yuan rising against the dollar, is necessary to price US exports competitively. The Great Recession was driven, in part, by huge imbalances in trade between the US and China. To balance that out, China needs to move toward a more consumer-driven economy as the US shifts to exports. A higher yuan gives Chinese consumers more buying power for imports and lifts their standard of living.

Transforming the US into a “making” society that exports requires a consistent set of policies from Washington. It means rethinking the decline of manufacturing and making green tech products in the US.

Reader Comments

Mark Bruns

March 20, 2010 11:05 PM

Government planning necessarily results in mindlessly, irreversibly destroying more resources than would be thinkable under almost any other regime -- government planning cannot be innovation, it is always unnovation (i.e. something that might be politically popular for the emporer, but later will be seen a giant leap backward).

Markets are efficient because they are not about democratic mob rule ... they allow participation by anyone; the true innovator with the good idea gets more resources -- there is NO room for involvement by the emporer; it doesn't matter if the emporer was democratically elected ... product launch is not something that works when submitted to a good speech or a vote that happens once every four years ... markets are efficient because product development choices happen every second; they are driven by entrepreneurial talent which is especially valuable but in scarce supply.

We don't need government unnovation -- it's not necessarily bad that people are unemployed; the risk of starvation is low, but the chance to regain humility is higher; individuals need to chill their consumptive behavior and think, to retool, to re-examine, to rebuild a base so that they can participate in creating products that are genuinely needed -- this government, this nation needs a timeout ... it does NOT need another bailout.

Andrew A. Sailer

April 23, 2011 10:53 PM

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Andrew Pelt

April 23, 2011 11:19 PM

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Want to stop talking about innovation and learn how to make it work for you? Bruce Nussbaum takes you deep into the latest thinking about innovation and design with daily scoops, provocative perspectives and case studies. Nussbaum is at the center of a global conversation on the growing discipline of innovation and the deepening field of design thinking. Read him to discover what social networking works—and what doesn’t. Discover where service innovation is going and how experience design is shaping up. Learn which schools are graduating the most creative talent and which consulting firms are the hottest. And get his take on what the smartest companies are doing in the U.S., Asia and Europe, far ahead of the pack.

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