The Manager's View provides solutions and advice based on management and marketing principles that are used by GWR Research (www.gwrresearch.com). Many of the posts are related to or are taken from the author's books "The Manager's Guide to Building a Successful Business" and "Developing Successful Marketing Strategies". More information on the books is available at Amazon.com, BarnesandNoble.com or Businessexpertpress.com
Wednesday, March 20, 2013
Thoughts on America’s Ability to Innovate and Compete
" The only limit to our realization of tomorrow will be our doubts of today. Let us move forward with strong and active faith." Franklin Delano Roosevelt
I have heard a lot of discussion lately about the
U.S. losing its competitive edge and falling behind on its ability to stimulate
the development of game changing innovations.
I think some look at rapid growth in new
technological developments from China, India and South Korea and are concerned
that economic power will shift to those countries at the expense of U.S.
Some may look at the ranking of education systems and
feel that without improvements the U.S. will fall woefully behind other
industrialized nations in the ability to produce a workforce for the new
Still others believe that management focus on
short-term profit prevents companies from investing in innovations for the long
Clearly, there is truth in all of the above points of
view and there is reason to be concerned. But I was once told that half the
solution to a problem is recognizing that it exists. That after identifying and
defining a problem developing a solution is just a matter of focus by people
bent on solving the problem. So I believe we will face and overcome challenges
as we identify them.
As far as the U.S. ability to innovate and compete, I
happen to be an American Optimist. I believe that the U.S. has a special set of
catalysts that spurs innovation and competiveness. These catalysts include:
1)The opportunity for individuals to create wealth that
they can keep. This is under
pressure at times as national spending requires heavier taxation but at present
there is still a strong incentive for entrepreneurs to create new businesses.
2)The U.S. system of governance. U.S. citizens love their freedom and they have an
enormous amount of national pride. They understand that the rule of law should
work for all citizens. This protection of individual freedoms is a powerful
draw to people from all over the world who wait for a visa or green card or are
willing to risk their lives to come here. After arriving they search for ways
to stay and become U.S. citizens.
Because our citizens have been successful in creating personal wealth and
living in a nation that is ruled by law, the U.S. has attracted immigrants from
all over the world to power our engines of ingenuity. These immigrants bring an
understanding of how to do business in the countries of their origin.
I personally have friends that are first or second
generation Americans who have created personal fortunes.
One came from China and started as a short order cook
in San Francisco. After earning his masters degree he and his wife started a
Chinese newspaper that has grown to a publishing group serving the Chinese
communities in most major U.S. cities. He sponsors a lot of community
activities and each time he speaks to a crowd he is passionate about his love
for this country. Interestingly, he has strong connections in both Taiwan and
the PRC and has helped American and Chinese businesses develop.
Another friend is second generation Japanese. His family
was doing well before WWII but lost everything when they were interred. After
the war this family of immigrants fought hard to recreate their wealth. They
did and today have a very healthy multi establishment restaurant business. They
are very proud to be Americans. They also work closely with American and
Japanese companies in developing new business programs.
Another Chinese friend started a plastic resin
company after receiving his PhD in nuclear physics. He has operations all over
the globe and is a very strong believer in the American Democracy.
I am a partner in a medical consulting group that
includes a physician that hails from Columbia. He is laying the groundwork to open
South American countries to our cancer care consulting practice.
Finally, I am involved in a project that will involve
major medical institutions and universities in developing new medical
technologies. Key players in the formation of this organization are first
Over the past two and a quarter centuries we have had
significant economic crises that threatened the strength of our nation. We have
had major challenges to our global leadership role from nations that had the
advantage of newer manufacturing infrastructure and lower labor costs. In every
instance the U.S. found a way to compete and maintain a leadership in
innovation and international competiveness. I would have to say my own personal
experiences have strengthened my faith in the U.S. ability to continually innovate
I think we, as a nation, have challenges but I firmly believe that
we have a system that is resilient and thrives on a continual renewal driven by
the ability to create personal wealth, a rule of law and a population that is
diverse and continually renewing its vitality.