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10/1/2010
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Innovation Mandate: Has America Lost Its Innovation Edge?

In an ongoing series of articles, opinion columns, and executive interviews, InformationWeek will explore the issues driving and holding back U.S. tech innovation. First up: What our extensive research tells us.

Slate Of Concerns

So why do some of the industry's leading lights as well as our survey respondents think that U.S. tech competitiveness is in trouble? Their concerns run the gamut:

>> The offshoring of technology jobs to India and other countries is discouraging young Americans from pursuing tech careers and shipping innovation abroad. Among the 427 survey respondents who think the U.S. is losing or has lost its technology leadership position, 66%--the single highest percentage--cite offshore job movement as one of the top three reasons.

>> The U.S. education system isn't adequately preparing young students in the so-called STEM subjects--science, technology, engineering, and math--and U.S. companies aren't giving their employees sufficient technical training. Some 58% of the 427 survey respondents who think the U.S. is losing or has lost its technology leadership position cite a failure in education as a main reason. Most (though not all) of the more than 40 industry experts we interviewed agree.

>> The U.S., unlike Singapore, South Korea, Japan, Sweden, and several other countries, hasn't had a cohesive national policy in technology areas such as mobile payments, intelligent electricity grids and transportation systems, green computing, and (until recently) broadband and electronic health records. Some 30% of the 427 respondents to our survey worry about a lack of technology leadership at the U.S. national policy-making level.

>> The U.S. government and U.S.-based companies don't spend enough on tech-based R&D and long-term innovation. Some 25% of the 427 survey respondents think "lack of leadership at the tech CEO level," including R&D investment, is a main reason for eroding U.S. tech competitiveness.

chart: Where Does The U.S. Stand In The Global IT Industry?

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