How local innovation drives global advancement
If you’re even slightly interested in how policy shapes innovation, the latest report from the ITIF (Information Technology and Innovation Foundation) makes fascinating reading.
(If you’re not really interested in policy, the main thing you need to know is that the UK does really well on supporting innovation, and pretty well on not restricting how that innovation contributes to global advancement.)
The report looks at how government policy supports or restricts a country’s ability to innovate, for example through funding for R&D and science, or investment in education. The really interesting aspect though, is that it also examines how countries sometimes adopt other, simultaneous policies that restrict how much they contribute to global levels of innovation.
Essentially, if countries adopt policies designed to protect their economic turf such as export subsidies, failing to protect intellectual property rights locally, or propping up local areas at the expense of free trade, this can harm global innovation even while creating pockets of local innovation for that country.
So it is possible for a country to foster high levels of innovation, while simultaneously not contributing to global advancement, which isn’t ideal.
The good news is that the UK is very near the top of the charts for fostering innovation, and doesn’t indulge in too many negative policies towards global innovation. We still have some way to go to match Finland and the Netherlands, however, who lead the way on both measures.
You can read the report here – in a week when schools have been focusing on STEM careers for STEM Clubs Week 2016, it’s a good reminder that supporting innovation happens at all levels – the individual, institutions, and government.