The Innovation Nation: What the Next President Needs to Know

The U.S. is going to elect a new president which will shape the future direction of the nation and influence the future of the world for generations. But I have not heard the one game-changing vision I know that will prepare the U.S. for the future from any of those that would be president. Will the U.S. continue to be a leading Innovation Nation? Will the U.S. continue to invest in innovation as it has in the past? Will the U.S. continue to inspire entrepreneurs and leaders by leading investments in innovation?

The automobile, the light bulb, the computer, the mobile phone, the Internet, mapping the human genome, artificial intelligence and it goes on and on were invented by U.S. innovators that have benefited the world economy -- an Innovation Economy. Major breakthroughs in medicine, engineering, science, communications, 3D manufacturing, nano science and you-name-it have been invented by U.S. innovation. The U.S. is the leading Innovation Nation and this has inspired other nations around the world, who undeniably are today Innovation Nations as well. And there are many.

The strategic question is will the U.S. continue to shape the future by being a Innovation Nation leader? Will the U.S. be Future Ready -- adaptive and resilient, yet ready to learn new things and lead change. Every leader, from the president to the corporate head needs to take note and address the same challenge to embrace innovation. We are all in this together.

Any presidential hopefuls out there? if you could listen up please. This futurist has some advice. Investing in innovation to clean up the planet, transform manufacturing, create new jobs, design clean energy sources, insure in our security and create a healthier society will all require investing in innovation. You want new jobs. Invest in innovation. You want a robust economy. Invest in innovation. You want a secure nation. Invest in innovation.

The future belongs to the innovators who are leading the way into the future. As romantic the vision is to get back jobs from overseas, the reality is industry, markets and globalization have changed the very nature of jobs and work. We need to go up the value chain, to become more innovative, creating new business value that can drive new competitive advantages. Innovation drives competitive advantage. Innovation shapes the future of nations and individuals.

Innovation is a primary force that that can create a sustainable nation. Innovation which is invested in can heal, protect, enable, sustain, employ and drive competition. You need many things to support innovation but the right visionary leadership is the first step. Leaders have to understand the game-changing role that innovation plays in investment, competition, immigration, education and business. Of course the innovation formula of success requires a few essential steps that do make a difference. We cannot just use rehetoric over action. Here's some ideas of what every nation and every leader needs to do now to become a Innovation Nation:

  1. Transform education. Retrain teachers for the 22nd century economy.
  2. Teach kids physics, robotics and computer programming starting in kindergarten.
  3. Create a New Energy National Invention Contest, to inspire inventors to create new energy solutions.
  4. Inspire entrepreneurs to invent solutions, attract jobs and create new value through private and public investments.
  5. Reinvigorate research and development by funding private and public sector Big Vision Entrepreneurship Projects.
  6. Create a Innovation Jobs Economy, focusing on new technologies like mobile, 3D, nano, robotics that can inspire breakthrough businesses.
  7. Create a National Innovation Venture Captial Fund and use crowdsourcing to fund new ideas, ventures and entrepreneurs.

As we head into unknown waters in the economy we do know one fact that has consistently enabled growth, jobs and prosperity. Innovation as a culture, as an investment and as a policy -- for leaders of nations and those of companies is essential to the future. The future economy happening one minute from now will be complex, full of changes and disruptive. Leaders who understand the value of a commitment in innovation and its impact on the future of the nation or their organization, will be successful.