CES: Innovation Under Threat - InformationWeek
Infrastructure // PC & Servers
03:19 PM
Connect Directly
[Dark Reading Crash Course] Finding & Fixing Application Security Vulnerabilitie
Sep 14, 2017
Hear from a top applications security expert as he discusses key practices for scanning and securi ...Read More>>

CES: Innovation Under Threat

The CEOs of GE, Cisco, and Xerox say America's K-12 education system, immigration policy, and tax rules need to be fixed, fast.

The video that opened the Innovation Power Panel at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) on Friday morning would have played well at a Tea Party rally.

America's "culture of freedom and innovation is under threat like never before," the narrator declared. "Bail-outs for supposedly too-big-to-fail firms are punishing competition."

And then the kicker, an Ayn Rand nightmare: "The American dream, the dream of progress on your own terms and merits, is in peril."

But the call to storm Washington with constitutionally-protected firearms never came. Once moderator Gary Shapiro, president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association, introduced the panelists -- GE CEO Jeffrey Immelt, Cisco CEO John Chambers, and Xerox CEO Ursula Burns -- the morning settled into a discussion of the state of innovation in America and what can be done to improve it.

A debate it was not. The panelists were so often in agreement that they could have finished each other's sentences. And panel moderator Gary Shapiro could hardly have been expected to differ, having staked out a like-minded position in his recent book, The Comeback: How Innovation Will Restore the American Dream.

But it was an informative discussion nonetheless given that everyone seemed to feel that the business community has been remiss or ineffective in communicating its views on innovation, education, immigration, jobs, and taxes to the American public.

Burns said she was optimistic but nervous about the state of innovation, noting that America's K-12 education system is failing to produce students with the skills to compete in the global market and to work at high-tech companies.

Chambers concurred. "I think education is the most important long-term challenge we have to do in this country," he said.

"As a country, the rest of the world is moving faster than we are," said Immelt, who worried that state budget problems will hurt state universities, from which GE draws significant engineering talent. "...There ought to be a call-to-arms around education in this country."

No one offered a sure-fire fix, however. Chambers suggested better measurements; Immelt suggested applying a structured business methodology like Six Sigma to schools. Shapiro wondered whether lack of parental involvement or disengaged teachers might undermine any attempt to fix the system. Burns countered it's not as simple as that.

1 of 2
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
How Enterprises Are Attacking the IT Security Enterprise
To learn more about what organizations are doing to tackle attacks and threats we surveyed a group of 300 IT and infosec professionals to find out what their biggest IT security challenges are and what they're doing to defend against today's threats. Download the report to see what they're saying.
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
White Papers
Current Issue
2017 State of IT Report
In today's technology-driven world, "innovation" has become a basic expectation. IT leaders are tasked with making technical magic, improving customer experience, and boosting the bottom line -- yet often without any increase to the IT budget. How are organizations striking the balance between new initiatives and cost control? Download our report to learn about the biggest challenges and how savvy IT executives are overcoming them.
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Flash Poll