President Obama will speak about the State of the Union soon and he will talk about many things except, perhaps the most important–the state of innovation in America. In my book, Creative Intelligence, I argue that for the past 30 years, there has been lots of innovation but it has been narrowly focussed in Finance, IT and social media.
In fact, only 9% of all public and private companies in the US do any sort of innovation at all. Think about that. Look at the profits of all US corporations over the past few decades and you can see that where innovation has occurred, profits have done particularly well. Finance, surprisingly to many of us in the Design/Creativity/Innovation space, has seen its profits soar from about 10% of the total of all profits to 40% of the total in the past 20 years because of financial innovation. I would argue that this has been a disaster for the economy as a whole but the fact remains.
What policies do we need out of Washington to spur innovation and creativity? How do we generate a million-fold increase in startups? How do we push entrepreneurial capitalism over finance capitalism? These are the key questions that the President should address in his State of the Union.